Martin, the abandoned alpaca I foster, has finally overcome his fear of the barn. Today, for the first time, he stepped right inside the barn door to enjoy his llama tex and alfalfa pellets in the dry stall.
His only experience with the barn, to my knowledge, was the day two years ago when a former tenant and a neighbour harnessed him in the back pasture and brought him, fighting and struggling, into the barn to be shorn and have his feet done.
For the past month, I have tried coming out the barn door with his feed (the door is at the opposite end of the building from the pasture gate where he customarily comes to feed). Everytime I came out that door he spooked and ran back down the trail to his dirt hole under the tree.
Then a couple of days ago, he started venturing up near the door, eating the green grass and the handfuls of hay I had left there.
Today, I left the barn door open, and when I arrived home he was standing right in the doorway. He momentarily spooked when I came through the barn with his feed, but only ran a few yards away. He came back to feed from the container in my hands as I stood in the doorway, and followed me as I backed into the barn. When I put the container on the floor of the stall and retreated, he stepped completely inside and chowed down as if he'd been doing it for years. He licked the platter clean!
He has left the barn now, but I'm hopeful that he will soon decide that a dry barn is preferable to a very wet muddy and cold hole in the ground. He took a giant step today.