Dan and Lee Bodmer moved to Westport Island on Nov. 1, along with their daughter, Bella, their dog, Lucie, their cat, Meemo, and their four alpacas, Will, Gussy, Fleecy, and Marty.
The Bodmers moved from Whitefield, and according to Lee and Dan, all have settled in very nicely, including the alpacas. Will, Gussy, Fleecy, and Marty have been members of the Bodmer family for three years, and are loved by the family.
Life is good for the four male Alpacas. They are housed several feet from the main house in a fenced-in area around their barn. The alpacas’ new home features solar electricity, with blinking colored lights and classical music playing for them 24 hours a day.
The Bodmers enjoy talking about their “boys,” the huacaya alpacas, with their different personalities and their love for people.
During a recent interview with the Bodmers, they shared some of the reasons why the boys are such special animals. Lee said the most interesting thing about them is the joy they bring her. There is no doubt the feeling is mutual. The alpacas are affectionate toward Lee and show excitement when she visits.
Dan said that what he finds most interesting about the alpacas is the interest they show in the world around them. They are very curious about their surroundings, he said.
The Bodmers’ love affair with alpacas began when Lee attended the Fiber Frolic at the Windsor Fair about five years ago. Lee said until that time she had wanted a miniature donkey.
Alpacas come from the camel family and can grow very large. The Bodmers wanted small alpacas, and are thankful to Linda and Alan Russo, of the Maine Alpaca Barn in Whitefield, for helping them acquire smaller animals.
The alpacas do not require a lot of care or expense. What they give back far exceeds the cost of having them, according to the Bodmers. They use about 80 bales of hay a year, and the grain pellets they eat cost about $15 per month. They also require monthly shots to protect them from a an intestinal parasite. The alpacas can contract the parasite by eating grass in pastures whitetail deer have inhabited.
According to the Bodmers, alpacas enjoy the cold weather. They do not require a heated barn and sometimes sleep outside their barn. The fleece from the alpacas is sheared every May, which keeps them cool throughout the summer months..
The only power the alpacas use is Lee’s muscle power to carry several pails of water to the animals each day (alpacas drink a lot of water) and the solar power in their barn.
In return, according to the Bodmers, they get love and enjoyment from these adorable animals, the valuable fleece, and fertilizer – alpaca manure is excellent fertilizer.
Alpaca fleece is soft like cashmere or angora, and can be worn by people who cannot wear wool, according to Dan.
Alpacas’ feet have soft pads to protect their toenails, leaving the ground they walk on undamaged. When they graze, they nibble the top of the grass rather than uprooting it.
The Bodmers want to share the presence of the Alpacas on the island with everyone. They encourage people to visit. To schedule a visit, email firstname.lastname@example.org.