Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Llamas

Llamas...they used to be something unobtainable by us common folk. They were the thing to have, if you could afford it. Now it is alpacas, and I personally think that fad will fade too.

I met a lady at the Georgia National Fair this past October. She was with Southeast Llama Rescue. Yep, a rescue, and there are other divisions of this rescue out west from me and north of my state. It seems there are a lot of unwanted llamas these days. Luckily, these organizations have made it possible and affordable to own one of these wonderful creatures. Or, you can foster. There are requirements of course. You can't just throw one out in the back pasture and thats it. The requirements are not unreasonable.

Once my health issues are ironed out I think we may foster...with the intent to adopt. A kind of try it before you buy it thing, in case we have issues with our existing llamas taking in new llamas. Once you adopt, its 250 dollars. That gets you one delivered to your door, gelded if a male, shorn, wormed, current shots and ready for his or her new home.

Recently I saw an ad on Craigslist. Due to health issues a local llama farm is selling out of their show stock of llamas. They want thousands of dollars for one llama. A few are just under a thousand, some up in the thousands. They will never get it in this economy. I am sure they are in a circle of llama fanciers for friends, but it seems they must not have the money or interest in buying these llamas.

They can come with some behavioral issues. My llama is an example of that. Hers is mild and we can see past it, but some males, they have been coddled by humans when they are too young, and that creates a gray area as to who is the human and who is the llama. For a male, that may mean he sees you as a rivalry later on in life and attack you, knock you down, hurt you bad. Some say this behavior can be changed with patience and time. I hope they are right.

Okay, so, how did we end up with llamas? It is a little known fact by most that Ian loves llamas. He is one that would have never actually gotten one, but he LOVES them nonetheless.

When an opportunity presented itself, I took it. Joe, my neighbor and friend, the guy I got the emus from and goat advice, and later became good friends with, called me up. I had just sold the goats. I dont remember if I told that story on here or not, but, long story short, they grew up and started stinking and urinating on their faces and bodies constantly. They were chewing up the side of the garage and constantly breaking into the chicken area to gobble up the chickens food, so I just decided to find them a new home where they could be the boys they were.

So Joe called me up, and said, "OH Kelly! I got something I want you to come on over and see! You just got to see it!" Knowing him, I knew it was an animal of some sort.

I said," Joe, you are gonna get me into trouble, I just got rid of my two goats and now you want me to come and look at something that I probably can't resist!"

He assured me I needed to see this, I just must come and see. So I gathered up Ian and Shelby and we came over that afternoon. Turns out he had bought a 10 month old male llama from the auction. He auctioneers for a local livestock barn and bought him for a hundred and thirty five dollars. Said he would sell him to us for a hundred and fifty. We just stared at him. He was beautiful, shy and standoffish, but beautiful. It was not a bad thing for him to be shy. That meant he had not been overhandled earlier in his life. We could work with him. Ian knew I wanted to get him, but not for me. For HIM. He agreed that he wanted him, and the price was right, and so we bought him. Joe brought him over and he was a little bit of a handful getting him off the trailer and whatnot, but he was just scared.

The first thing that happened was Derby came running to investigate what we were putting into HIS pasture. It was a touch and go moment, Derby chased him and they ran all over the back. Then, all of the sudden the new llama turned and faced Derby. Derby stopped, and they both slowly leaned in and touched noses. From that point on things were fine.

At first we couldnt get near him. Joe named him for us, because after two weeks Ian still had not given him a name. His name is Boggan. Joe said he looked like he had one of those hats, a toboggan on his butt, because he was all cream colored, except for his tale, which was brown.

Weeks went by, Ian couldnt get him to come anywhere close. He carried a bucket with a little sweet feed in it out there every day after work. Eventually, after weeks of patience, Boggan decided to look in the bucket, after Ian had put it down on the ground. Now he would eat out of the bucket, on the ground, with Ian standing away. A couple of weeks more, and he could get him to eat out of the bucket while he held it away from his body, stretching out his arm. Now, he will eat without too much stretching, but it took awhile for him to become comfortable enough to not snatch away at any slight move from Ian.

Then came my llama. I had decided Boggan needed a companion. I started searching Craigslist. Weeks went by and I found one not too far from where I live. She was two years old and a protector for a herd of milk goats. They wanted 300, but I had 250 in pocket from selling some roosters and feeders, a few other farm related odds and ends at the auction. They took the offer and Joe, having a livestock trailer, helped me go get her and bring her to the house. Turns out Joe is distantly related to the folks selling the llama. They talked for a short bit and we petted the goats, dogs, and llama.

She was an odd one. In all the encounters with llamas I have had, which were limited to the fair, I have never had one greet me with such enthusiasm. She was right up on me and she would touch her face to mine, like kissing me on the cheek. Strange.

Once we got her home the first thing to happen was Boggan gettting spit on. She had to put him in his place. He was several months older now, but didnt quite know what to do with her. He tried to nurse her, but that wasnt working, so then he was going to try and mate her, and thats when the spitting came. Females dont get mated unless they want to be. The mating position is a laying down one, and if she doesnt lay down, that means NO. He got spit on for his troubles.

She has some issues. She comes running, on a daily basis, does the gup gup gup sound, like she is getting that nasty smelling wet grass up from her stomach juices to spit it, sometimes even doing this sneezing kind of sound through her mouth, but you just ignore her and walk on by. Like a kid pitching a fit, walk right by and ignore it, they say HUH, and quit, when there is no reaction to the behavior. She will then settle down and walk around with me and I will give her the attention she deserves at that point. Its like she forgets and then it clicks, and she is like OH, okay.

One thing she has done is get Boggan to loosen up around us. He is still not going to let us touch him, but he is more relaxed, and she is definitely the boss. He follows her everywhere.

Llamas are wonderful. They don't tear down fences, barriers meant to keep the big animals out of the chicken area. They dont chew up things, they are nice to all the other animals. They don't attack my chickens. They are gentle and sweet. A noninvasive animal. They keep my chicken safe too.

I bought llama halters and the short catch leash that attaches under the chin on the halter. If this coming weekend permits we will be putting them on and giving wormer and a little grooming. He came to us barrel cut, but she has a full fiber coat on, and it is just a mess, but we will leave that for the winter and sheer her in the Spring. Boggan is not going to like this, but it is time for him to begin to be handled, groomed and touched on a regular basis. It won't be too hard to catch him, he follows my llama everywhere, so we can get him in a tight spot and restrain him easy enough. We have touched him before, many times, but he is frightened and stands very still for it. This will change with time, it just takes time and a lot of patience.

Oh I didnt tell you her name. My llama had a name already. Dolly. I know. How original, how boring. Dolly Llama. Yay. So, I wanted to name her Cinnamon. So, in order to convert her over, I am calling her Dolly Cinnamon, and will drop the Dolly eventually. I joke to people, that her full name is Dolly Cinnamon Psycho. Hopefully we can drop that last one too, someday. ;)

Here are some older pictures I took of them. It is overcast and supposed to rain so I will try and take some new pictures of them soon.

I have a doctors appointment at three today. I will be learning more about my diabetes and how to give myself insulin shots. Needless to say, I am not excited, but it is necessary, so I will do it. That has been my motto as of late. Its necessary, so I will do it.

Alright, here are some pictures. :)


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We didnt have a shelter for them, as you know, we don't have any trees. So Ian went out every day after work and slowly a run in for them went up. A run in is just a sort of barn, but it is open for them to come and go in and out and they please. It was almost finished, rain was coming, so he placed the tin roofing on top of it, nailed down the front, but didnt have the support beams up inside yet. Hoping the weather wouldnt get too windy, he did all he could. It did get windy though, and blew off all but two of the sheets of metal. He will get those beams up this weekend and the roofing on and finished, I know he will! :) He still has to cement the main beams into the ground but that is a formality. It isnt going anywhere, just needs to be secured with the cement.

Well, thats enough jawing for today. Hope everyone has a great day. Thankyou all for still coming to visit my blog. I am going to try to be here more and more over the winter. You will probably be sick of me by Spring and glad for me to get back outside. ;) XOXOXOXOX

5 comments:

madcobug said...

Poor Boggan, Dolly Cinnamon set him straight in a hurry. Glad that you got a companion for him. They look so regal looking. Great pictures. I hope Ian can get that shelter finished for them soon. More rain for the weekend. Hugs, Helen

Paula said...

I like the way the one is marked on its hinny. Do you have to have a mister in the summer for them where you live? I think here they need one to cool them off. Thanks for sharing.

Gayla said...

(((Kelly)))
Awwwww, Dolly is the cutest!!! And she got a great home with you all.
Did you know we have alpacas. With the birth of our new cria, Socks (or officially Two Socks) our herd is now six--4 crias and Theo and GalaGal-our breeding females. I posted a bunch of pics on my blog today. They're so darn cute!
Llamas are great to have.
Ihope you are getting to feeling better soon. It's been forever since I've chatted with you. I guess all of us are losing touch and since I had to change my name of my blog (I had a stalker and complete scary weirdo) it hasn't helped at all.
Stop by if you get a chance ok? And take good care of yourself :)

Biggest Hugs,
Gayla
http://unfussyliving.blogspot.com/

Donna said...

Very interesting. I know NOTHING about Llamas; when we see one in a pasture, Cliff and I look at one another, shrug, and say, "Why?"
I'm glad you're enjoying yours.

Indigo said...

There was an Illama farm not far from where I used to live (45 min. drive). Every year my in laws would get together with us and we would go on an Illama hike. The people that owned them had a huge ranch that extended for miles through a wooded lot. All of us would lead our own Illama on the trial. Half way through the hike would be a picnic set up with wine and catering. Afterwards we would go back to the couple's house for dessert. My daughter loved this excrusion.

We even had a camel that went with us. Yep, you heard me right, a camel. I haven't done this in years and miss it. Thanks for reminding about the gentle nature of these animals. (Hugs)Indigo