Proud Alpaca Daddy The Weekly Journal of Agriculture and Rural Life

Alpacas do everything together: eat, walk, sleep, pee – yes, even pee, but more on that later. Renee Winter stands next to two white and one brown alpaca on a plot of short-grazing meadow in Sauerland. The 30-year-old from Sundern has been keeping alpacas as a hobby for two years. His flock now consists of three animals: Casimir, Bruno and Pepper.

Renee is now also a member of the herd. Because he doesn’t want to be separated from his animals either. “The alpaca made me settle down,” he says with a laugh. Because of his job, the civil engineer used to spend the night in hotels – but that’s over. “I always make it a goal to be home before dark,” he says. “I like to catch a quick glimpse of the animals. That’s why I come back every evening if I can.”

Not a single minute

Renee’s love of alpacas began with an alpaca hiking trip a friend gave him for his birthday two years ago. Then it happened to him: every week he would drive to an outdoor enclosure and feed the alpacas. When there were animals to be abandoned, it was clear that Renee would give them a home.

“You have to be especially empathetic when dealing with alpacas,” the 30-year-old likes. “At first Casimir, Bieber and Bruno were very shy. Now they are comfortable when I come and I let them put their belts on.”

Renee can tell instantly if the animals are nervous or not, he says, pointing to the animals’ ears. “Relaxing the ears means stress,” he explains. Alpacas are nervous when they are alone. They can’t even do the few minutes of cutting without each other. When in doubt, spit to express their anger.

No wonder: in the herd, nothing works without the other. “When the three are walking around, it always seems as if they are eating their way through the landscape,” Renee laughs.

Caution: stubborn in the fence

Although Renee is familiar with Casimir, Bruno, and Bieber, alpacas are not adorable toys. “They only cuddle when they want to,” said the alpaca’s father with a wink as he gently hugged Casimir’s neck.

Even on the walks the four spend together every day in the summer, the alpacas show who’s in control. “When the urge to walk is over, the group simply stands up or lies on the floor,” says Renee. It happened once or twice in the middle of the street. There is no point in persuasion or drag. At Venice festivals, René was asked if he offered picnics with his animals.

And above all, Rene’s immediate neighbors always keep an eye on the little gang. Once Casimir’s head was stuck in the fence. “He’s the most greedy of the herd and definitely wanted to try the grass on the other side of the fence,” doubts René. The alpaca did not advance nor retreat. But Renee’s neighbors immediately called him and Casimir was not hurt.

“house shit”

Casimir the White is not only greedy, but also the leader of the herd. He is curious and confident. It also determines where the trio eats. However, his place as a leader is not guaranteed at all times. The slightly beige pepper also becomes bolder and larger. As the youngest member of the herd, he has not yet been castrated. Bruno, recognizable by his brown fur, often stays aloof over the order of the arrangement, and Renee smiles: “He’s a follower of the group.”

In general, the three get along well and mostly agree. For example, when they want to do their business. They always do it in the same corner and above all only in their meadow. Just as some people can only go to the toilet at home, alpacas just want to pee in their patch of meadow – the real “household shit.” “When we go for a walk, the alpacas get stressed and in a bad mood after two hours at the latest,” Renee says. “So you obviously want to go home to deliver.”

And if the alpacas begin to fertilize the meadow, everyone goes with it.

sea ​​air for alpaca

In a few weeks, the alpacas will have to give up their “home” habit for a few days: the North Sea is waiting!

Renee has been going to a guesthouse in Greetsiel for years – this time the alpacas are supposed to come with him. For transportation, the 30-year-old trained to take animals in a horse trailer. Then Casimir, Bieber and Bruno are allowed to graze on the pastures of a former horse farm near the pension. Renee will set up a marquee as a place for shade and shelter.

If all goes well, a trip to Langeoog Island is planned. Some other alpacas also spend the summer there. Rene hopes they will be happy to visit the Westphalians.

mascot at work

“Some say I’m crazy, but it doesn’t matter,” says the alpaca lover and smiles. Renee believes that anyone who sees and recognizes alpacas thinks differently.

This also applies to Renee’s colleagues at work: they know about his unusual hobby and are now huge fans. “I print the latest and most beautiful pictures of the flock for my colleagues. So Bruno, Bieber and Casimir are not just hanging on the walls of my office,” says the civil engineer. “You are a mood lifter for everyone when work is going badly.”

Renee sometimes uses alpacas strategically for himself. “When I know I can get more serious about an online session, I change my background image to one of my alpaca,” says Renee. “It often lightens the mood a bit.”

deer herd?

Among the animals, Renee seemed relaxed and calm. And the three alpacas don’t give a peep either. “In the vast majority of cases, they are silent,” Renee says. Something has to happen for the alpaca to “buzz”, that is, to make sounds. A few weeks ago, Casimir spotted a deer on a trip together. “It was as if he thought a deer was a fellow deer and wanted to call it out over the herd,” says Rene. “I had never heard such noises from its mouth. It was heartbreaking.”

In these moments, Renee Winter sympathizes, as if he were part of the herd himself – and if I’m honest, he’s been a part of it for a long time. He just pees, he still does it on his own.

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