New to llamas, general questions

littlecabin

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This is my first post, and our first llama. I also posted this on the Camelidynamics forum, because i need to branch out wide, since there are so few of us!

This is Lily, we got her about a month ago as a guard animal for our chickens and pygmy goats as well as a companion for us. She is excellent at her job and my family loves her. We are still not sure how she feels about us! We are told she is a year and half, she is about the size of a full grown alpaca right now so we are guessing she has some growing to do. I think of her as a bit of a rescue, as I am not sure her background or how much care she had in the past. They said she is a "light wool" llama, is that the same as "classic"?

She has never been shorn and I am not sure anyone has ever touched her legs or feet. Anytime we try to touch her anywhere besides her neck or head she flicks back her ears and makes a sound at us kind of like a high pitched growl. I have had some success with brushing debris out of her neck and head and we were able to trim some of the matted up fleece on her sides and neck since it was just so thick and dirty that it didn't breathe much in the summer heat. She loves a good neck rub! But, I think we are going to have to wait till spring to really shear her properly. Should we trim up around her eyes? And, when she flicks back her ears and makes this high growling sound at me, it seems like a warning, should I stop what I am doing?

She has never been in a halter. The man who sold her to us used a rope loosely draped around her neck to get her off the trailer. This seems to put her under some stress so we haven't done it again. I have a lot of questions, I am sure can be answered in the book (which I need to order!), but for now, I just need to know what to do first as far as maintenance. We will be getting the vet to look at her, I am curious if she is pregnant, since she was with males at her previous owner. We do not own a chute, do we need to have her halter trained before the vet comes to check her out?

I want her to know that she can trust us, so I hang out with her and the goats and chickens for a couple of hours each day, just sitting and talking with them and my kids. My concern is that she is lonely. She has bonded with the goats, in that, they always have to be together otherwise they talk constantly trying to find one another. I am feeling very torn about how to proceed with companionship for her. I am wanting a young female or gelded male alpaca to keep her company, whom she would also have a guardianship over. Would this be a good fit, or could it possibly ruin the bond with the goats?


Any advice anyone can give would be so much help as there is so little practical information online.
 

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Greetings and welcome to BYH. I'm sorry I can't answer your specific questions, and I'm not even sure who I should/could tag that might be of help. We used to have some active folks on the site, but that was a while ago. You could browse around in the Llama/Alpaca forum and see what info is there... I wish you success!
 

NH homesteader

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Welcome! I know very little about llamas. They spit... So my husband won't let me have one. I do seem to remember reading that they make a noise like that to warn you so you are probably right to back off. But I could be wrong... I don't know who on here has llamas but hopefully someone speaks up for you!
 

Alexz7272

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Welcome! I do not have any llamas but I do have alpacas. Halter training is a HUGE help for vet visits and general maintenance. I suggest getting one and getting her use to it as soon as possible. My alpacas make a hig pitch growl noise when they feel threatened and I have seen the boys do it before they spit at each other. Thankfully, never spit on me! Hope that helps some!
 

Bruce

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Don't know if @littlecabin is checking in, last visit was a few weeks ago.

I don't know much about llamas other than when they are included in things I have seen researching alpacas.

But ... one of the things I have seen IS the rope over the back thing. Supposedly calms them. I ASSUME it is a 'for sale' product: a long stick to which a fairly long light rope is attached. The operator uses the stick to move the rope over the animal's back without having to get too close then lays the rope up near the neck. When the animal is calm the operator reaches under and grabs the loose end. With both ends in hand, the stick is removed and the rope is sort of a "hey why don't we go this way" lead. That may be the first necessary step to halter training.

Regarding getting the halter on, the video I watched talked about the animal needing to trust you. No sneaking the halter up under the chin then trying to slam it on. He held the muzzle part open and held it about a foot in front of the alpaca so s/he could see it and when the animal wasn't spooked, took it away and TURNED away. He did this many times before he put just the muzzle part on. Then he took it off and turned away. Did it many times before going for the neck strap. I ASSUME this was an animal that HAD been haltered before and you and I are going to need many many days of this sort of thing before we can get a halter on our animals.

I suggest a lot of YouTube and Google searches on llama behavior and husbandry. We are in a time when you can learn at least the basics of almost anything while sitting in front of your computer.

My 2 boys (received on Sunday morning from neighbors up the road who will be moving to Florida) are wary of me. I can walk past and talk to them but they aren't interested in face to face "conversation". They are eager to eat alpaca feed from my hand in the morning but NO TOUCHING! Most of the chickens are in fear for their lives even though the boys can't get to where they are (though the girls can go to them through the pipe gate).

They hum for a variety of reasons, though "BOY am I happy" apparently isn't the likely reason. They have alerted (sounds sort of like a high pitched donkey bray) on a deer in the NE field (approx 100 yards away) 3 days ago and a flock of at least a dozen turkeys plus some poults in the same area 2 days ago. I would never have seen either if they hadn't spotted them and alerted.
 

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So Bruce... I'm behind here and obviously missed the whole start of this adventure... Do you now have alpacas or llamas? When, why, etc? Congrats I assume... if you didn't really want them, I guess you wouldn't have gotten/taken them right? Do you have some pics you could share? I have no personal interest in owning camelids, but they can be some very good looking animals. I've never been one that enjoys being spit on/at ;)
 
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