Sunday, February 6, 2011

Fun with Nick and Sid

Things have been kind of wonky here lately, so I'll try to update you on the llamas.

The llama vet came for a visit and declared Nick being much older than the rancher told me.  The rancher thought Nick was 8.  According to the vet, Nick is 14.  The vet said Sid was 12.  Although I know that the vet is probably closer to the age than the rancher, I know it's more or less an educated guess than anything.  The vet didn't think I would be able to work Nick much.  I think there's more likely light duty work ahead for him.

One problem I ran into was Nick suddenly went blind for two days.  Some llama breeders told me it might be llama polio, which is a deficiency of thiamine due to stress or diet change.  I had asked the vet about the blindness and the vet thought he was just blind.  But, Nick's eyesight started improving, which suggests something temporary.  Who knows?

Nick's crappy ears are from a genetic defect that runs in a particular line out of Darby.  Traceable to a llama ranch from there.  Seeing as they aren't infected and Nick is a gelding and couldn't be bred anyway, I'm not really concerned.  Furthermore, Nick's lines come from Bolivian stock and he has a very old head.  Sid too is of an older type of llama.

Once Sid got over the shock of having someone else in his pen, he's settled down and is a bit calmer.  Sid is top llama and Nick is second.  Or should I say I am top llama, Sid is second and Nick is third?  Today while husband and I were visiting, Sid came over and behaved very deferentially towards me.  He lowered his head and put his lips to mine in a type of sniffing/kissing behavior that distinctly said that I was top of the herd.  Kind of funny and very ticklish.  Nevermind they're still aloof and skittish, but he's genuinely not terrified of me anymore and acts like he just needs to act funny at me.  Sid has a really funny personality.  He loves to act like he's a tough-guy, but he really likes me. 

I've trained both llamas to eat out of my hands.  Very cool and even ticklish.  Sid is gentler than Nick who has actually pinched my palm with his teeth.  But seeing as llamas don't have top incisors, my skin gets pinched between top gums and bottom teeth.  Unlikely to draw blood.

It has been too icy for us to walk them.  I don't want to risk an injury for either them or us. 

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