Having an alpaca farm comes with its perks but also perils. Once you have a website and social media accounts, you tend to attract followers, emails, and sometimes phone calls. The majority of them are delightful folks who enjoy seeing alpaca photos, learning about these magical animals, and following our farm story. There are, however, some weird requests, outright ridiculous messages, and, the worst, unscrupulous buyers-to-be. Here I share some of the weirdest things I've heard or read so far:
The overseas enquiries
Facebook message: "Got alpaca to sale? For vietnam?"
Email: "Ship alpacas to Philippines?"
I love that the majority of overseas enquiries are one-liners, with no context whatsoever. Do you know what I do? I simply delete them.
The baby alpaca chaser AKA My child needs a pet to keep them entertained
This phone call goes like this:
Me _ Hello.
Caller _ Hi, hm my name is Pete and I'm looking for friendly baby alpacas. Do you have any for sale?
Me _ I don't sell baby alpacas, Pete. Actually, you shouldn't buy baby alpacas because they need to grow to a certain age before they are available. May I ask why you want baby alpacas?
Caller _ Oh, I'm after super duper friendly baby alpacas, for my children.
Me _ Do you have alpacas already? How old are your children?
Caller _ My kids are 5 and 7. Actually, I have some adult alpacas.
Me _ Oh, you have adult alpacas? So why do you want more?
Caller _ We got them a while back but they are old and not friendly. I want some young ones that are super duper friendly.
Me _ What about your old alpacas? Don't you want to look after them? Alpacas are not pets like a dog, they are actually shy and reserved livestock... young alpacas will grow...
Caller _ Do you have young alpacas for sale or not? Do you know where I can find them?
Me _ No, I don't sell baby alpacas.
After one of these calls, I generally need a strong coffee and biscuits to soothe my sad soul. The worst thing is that I know Pete will probably find his "super-duper friendly" baby alpacas from someone else. The baby alpacas, usually too young, will have the worst upbringing and end up dead, rejected, or passed on from owner to owner due to the dangerous behaviour they develop caused by inappropriate raising. Perhaps next time I get a call like this I should say bluntly: "Go to Toy World".
The 'I'm right here on your door-step call'
Me _ Hello
Caller _ Hi, can I pet alpacas?
Me _ Oh, we don't offer this service.
Caller _ Oh, shame. I'm right here now. Drove from Melbourne
Me _ WHAT? What do you mean?
Caller _ I'm at your property.
Me _ What do you mean? Where?
Caller _ At your verandah. Your front door is locked.
Me _ This is private property. You can't just drive-in.
Caller _ Oh, I found you on Google.
Me _ Yep, I'm on Google, but we are only open by appointment. Prior appointment. Like, days in advance.
Caller _ Bugger, so I can't pet alpaca today?
Me _ No.
The lovely work colleague who keeps calling them llamas
Work colleague _ Good morning, Rita! How are your llamas?
Me _ Alpacas. They are good.
Work colleague _ How many do you have again?
Me _ Around 40.
Work colleague _ Wow, so many! You must be busy. Which one is your favourite llama?
The one who doesn't get it at all.
Lad _ So, why alpacas?
Me _ Because they are stunning animals and provide me fibre.
Lad_ But what do you with them? Can you ride them?
Me _ Oh no!
Lad _You can't ride alpacas?
Me _ Of course not! You'd break their backs.
Lad _ So, really, what are they for? Can you train them to do tricks?
Me _ No, they don't do tricks.
Lad _ Can you paint them pink?
I either roll my eyes or smile graciously again, saying "no". Then I go to a private area and pull my hair in desperation.
"DM your pic to @Viral_animalbabes"
"Hi dear, I noticed you have a nice account. Want to make millions stepping it up to the next level?"
"We have chosen you as the next ambassador for our brand! Want to wear cute cat bow-ties and make money with us?"
The one who thinks I'm a vet
Caller _ Hi, I hope you can help me. My alpaca is not well. I follow your page and understand you know a lot about alpacas.
Me _ What's wrong with it?
Caller _ It's foaming from the mouth, lying on the paddock and not moving. What should I do?
Me _ Call a vet NOW!
Scotch on the rocks is what I usually go to after one of these. And I shut my computer, turn off my phone and pretend animals rule the world. Seriously, I love getting messages, emails and phone calls from people. No question is a silly question, particularly if you want to learn how to raise healthy and happy alpacas. Got a question for me? Send me an email. And if you are keen to learn more, bookmark our website and follow us on Facebook or Instagram.