Alpacas Are A Turkey’s Best Friend
We’ve all seen those heartwarming videos on YouTube and Facebook of an odd animal friendship where two different species of the animal kingdom come together to become best friends. It all comes down to imprinting – a process where an animal will come to recognise another animal, person, or thing as a parent or other object of habitual trust.
Also, the majority of animals have some form of pack/herd/ flock mentality ingrained into their DNA. Humans are naturally the same as well. Things that don’t threaten us and are around us everyday become part of our routine and our pack. It could be as simple as a dog and cat living in the same house before becoming buddies or it could be as crazy as a cat becoming a surrogate mother for a flock of wild ducklings. Then there’s the baby goat that was raised by dogs and now he thinks he’s man’s best friend.
Tom Copas of “Copas Turkeys” in Cookham, Berkshire, has been using a herd of 10 alpacas (with names like Comet, Dasher, Dancer, Onion, Blitzen, and Sage) to act as bodyguards for a flock of over 20,000 turkeys. However, there’s something a little depressing about how much work goes into keeping turkeys alive just so they can eventually be slaughtered and served up full of stuffing.
After a handful of attacks on his turkeys by a pack of hungry foxes back in 2015, Tom devised an ingenious plan.
His choice of protection was alpacas, animals which are are used all over the world to deter coyotes and wild dogs. The alpacas treat the birds as their own and will fend off hungry canines. Alpacas react aggressively to the foxes because they are natural predators of unprotected baby alpacas – and after generations of keeping their young alive, they remain hyper vigilant in protecting their own from said dangers. Since the turkeys are smaller creatures, and because alpacas are kinda dumb, they are seen (by the alpacas) as their offspring and thus are defended the same as well.