It’s no secret I’m an animal lover.
So when Lee asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday, I had a bucketlist adventure waiting.
Alpacas have become super popular in recent years. Alpaca farms are popping up everywhere and it seems that people just can’t get enough of them…and I totally know why. I mean look at that face:
We decided to book with a local farm called Hensting Alpacas. They’re a small, family-run farm I’ve been following on Facebook for a while and so it was about time we coughed up the pennies to support them.
The whole booking process was super easy, getting there was straightforward and before I knew it, I was jigging around in the middle of a field with pure excitement. This was it.
Meeting the alpacas
The morning began with a short talk from a member of staff who told us all about how the farm was started, the work they carry out and some general information about alpacas as a breed.
They even told us about the alpaca’s native Peru where they’re used for meat and fur, and where they work with locals to produce authentic alpaca products they sell in their small farm shop.
It was lovely, really, to feel so connected to the other side of the world.
The next step was to actually meet our fluffy friends…
We lined up in pairs and were brought our very own alpaca one by one. Meet our friend Sammy.
Walking with them
Sammy was pretty new to the whole alpaca walking experience and so was still a bit nervous. He’d only been on the farm for about 6 weeks which meant he was a bit jittery.
Generally, alpacas are pretty shy creatures. They’re so used to being prey in the wild that they can be easily spooked. And where he hadn’t quite had chance to settle in, poor Sammy was a little on edge.
But considering the Dr Dolittle animal lover I am, I kept a constant flow of calm conversation going, letting him know everything was alright and he eventually began to relax a little.
We walked with him round the first field, stopped for photos and swapped who was holding his rein a couple of times before the whole group came to a stop and we had the opportunity to swap alpacas.
Meet Chan Chan.
Chan Chan was a lot calmer than Sammy, and would even let us get close for a few cheeky photos. He was probably the most relaxed alpaca of the lot. He even let us stroke him a few times.
The keepers had told us at the beginning of the session that alpacas don’t get any pleasure from being stroked like a dog might. The act of stroking them is purely for us, they don’t even physically touch their young when they’re born. Some alpacas will tolerate being stroked, whilst others really don’t like it. Sammy wouldn’t let us come near enough to even try, whereas Chan Chan was a little more laid back. But it was still important to respect when he pulled away. At the end of the day…I didn’t want to be spat at!
We walked Chan Chan round the second field and back, stopped for more photos and found ourselves back where we started.
The whole experience
After the walk was over, we got to feed the female alpacas and their babies (called cria). The farm was then open to the group where we could mingle with the alpaca herd, who were far more interested in playing in the stream, and meet Kevin the ram who definitely thought he was a dog.
The whole experience was amazing and the moment it was over, I wished I could do it all again.
The staff were amazing and knowledgeable. You could sense they cared for the animals and the whole experience was just so relaxed.
We also stopped by the little shop to buy ourselves a miniature alpaca made from real alpaca fur who is definitely the softest thing I own.
The whole morning cost £36 for both of us and we were easily there for more than two hours. Personally, I thought that was pretty good value for money.
This was a must-have on my Christmas wish-list last year and so my brother has bought us another experience, this time walking a cria. I can’t wait to book it and share the experience with you.
If you’re in Hampshire and want to know more about Hensting, or book your own experience, you can find their website here: https://www.alpacas-hampshire.co.uk/
This article is not an advert but simply a true recount of my experience.