Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Brainless Llamas, Feed and Chicks

Today I took a look at a young (4 year old) llama for a friend for Sid and possible packing llama.  This llama was still intact.  Basically, he was flaky and freaked out by a new person there.  It took three people to get him into the stall and get him to accept the halter.  Once we did that, I took the halter and tried to walk him.

OMG.  The guy was squirrelly and kept trying to dance away or bolt.  At one point, I even got a rope burn from the snot.  I spent 2 hours working him and getting him calmed down enough to walk straight and even got him to accept a hand on his shoulder and neck and eat out of my hands.  Maybe I should've charged for the work?

By the end, I was sore, but I got him to walk nicely and even accept some petting.  He's in better shape than Sid -- even a bit on the heavy side -- but he's much more kept up.  His coat is more of a fiber llama coat -- I would need to cut it down for packing.

He would need to be gelded.  What's more, I got to look in his mouth and I saw that he grew back his fighting teeth, which means those would have to be cut.  Sharp buggers.  We're talking needle-sharp here.  If I had known he still had them, I might have been more retrospect about putting my face so close to his mouth. 

So, he's a real goofball and even a bit untrained, which means he'd be a project llama.   Sid is less of a project llama and more in need of feed and daily interaction.  This guy needs consistent training and commands (not to mention brain-surgery with some snips).  The price, however, is right.  I just need to think about what kind of training I need to do with him and whether I'm willing to put in that much work.  The good news is that he's not a total idiot and I got him to come around with two hours of consistent work.  I keep thinking he's very young and unneutered, but again, do I want to take on a project? 

I'm pretty sure I can train him.  Yesterday, I hit a huge milestone with Sid and got him to let me touch and rub his ears.  That's a huge measure of trust right there.  Sid has also been clamoring for llama pellets, so I picked him up some at the feed store in Alberton.

The feed store had grass hay, which is why I went there.  It appears that there are no bales of grass hay in Missoula and I've been told to take him off alfalfa as a feed.  Apparently, it's bad for male llamas.  The manager gave me a 50 lb bag of layer feed to try out and also gave me a small ranch discount (way cool).  I was pretty delighted by the treatment and Sid was thrilled to get his frickin llama pellets.

I came home to a hatched chick -- one of the marans eggs hatched.  I'm disappointed that others haven't hatched, but maybe they will tonight or tomorrow.  If not, then I figure there's something not going well with the incubator and the hatches.  I may have to get one of those fancy brinsea mini incubators and let it take care of the hatches.


  1. I haven't heard of that type of incubator. I am also afraid if i got an incubator I would get a worse case of chicken pox than I already have...wanting more & different types!

    That would be quite a project to take on the new Llama. I have never been close to one, how do you know how to work with him like that? It's awesome that you can!

  2. Incubating chicks are addictive. Worth doing, certainly.

    Training llamas. Well, no one has ever taught me, but I've trained countless sled dogs, packing dogs and whatnot. I've worked with horses, but mostly on the learning to ride end. I guess the lessons I've learned from hours of training other animals wears off. Even so, I didn't know the signs when he went submissive and I read about them later. That was a cool moment I just didn't catch. Oh well.

    I think I would probably learn a lot about llamas taking this guy on, but I think I could do it.