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I can truely say that I have accomplished something that I never remotely dreamed that I would. Today--- I sheared a Llama.
I bought this llama for my hubby to give to me as a Valentine present. That in itself was quite an adventure and a tale for another day..... Anyway, I have been calling this guy "Diego, the wonder llama". He truely believes that he is decended from camelid royalty and we are mere peons. He is less than a year old but oozes centuries of well bred arrogance and contempt for humans. I have not yet told him that I paid less than $50 for the pleasure of his existance on my farm. I would gladly take much less to send him to someone else's farm.....
When we unloaded him on Valentines day, he was pretty much a wild mess. Full of cuckleburrs, skinny, wild eyed and flopping on the end of a lead rope like a fighting trout. He did not spit which was probably his saving grace. Over the past few months, we have developed an uneasy truce. My guard dogs are ancient and retired to the cool part of the barn. Other than an occasional attempt at romance with the goats, he has intimidated the heck out of the coyotes. As soon as my vet can clear enough time on her schedule to make a trip out, I intend to do away with the romantic urges. He grunts/moans at me in greeting every morning and I have developed a grudging kind of affection for him. Our personalities just clash and I will leave it at that.
For the most part, Diego is a free range llama. We live on the back side of nowhere and my neighbor lives a mile away. The neighbor has seen Diego peering down the driveway at him but Diego seems to know that is not his territory and comes back home.
All summer, I have been watching this wool get longer and messier. During the flood, I was afraid he would get some kind of fungus under there. He loves to wade out in the pond and explored all of our "new beach front". For Kansas, it has been a rather cool summer. Even so, I knew that I was going to have to cut all that wool off. I got new blades for the occasion. August has come in unbearably hot and today was the day.
That joker KNEW something was up as soon as I began to speak sweetly to him. We managed to ease him into the milker lot with a few other renegade yearling does that also seem to think they are free range goats. Thru gritted teeth, I warned him in a psuedo freindly way what happens to llamas that spit on Mama. I got the lead rope clipped on his halter and the rodeo was on! He flopped and flung himself all over and whacked his head on the concrete floor. All I could think of was that I killed my guard llama..... he was only dazed so we quickly tied him in the corner and hauled out the clippers. I am not really sure if he was completely conscious or not but I managed to get him pretty much sheared with only a little help from the kids. Who am I kidding? All the kids and few extra stood around and watched hoping that I would get spit on...... I got all the wool off of his body, trimmed up his neck, tidied up his hind quarters and tail and tried to trim some on his head but he flat refused to cooperate for that part. I then drenched him with dewormer that he actually liked the taste of. He stood very calmly while I unclipped the lead rope and gently ushered him into the goat pasture. I was afraid to just turn him back loose in case he decided to leave the county-- or even the state.
As he strolled across the pasture, he looked very much like a regal poodle on steroids...... We sacked up the llama fleece and I find myself wondering if maybe Corky will give me another lesson in spinning --- next year!
This evening, he was still on "speaking terms" with me as I filled up the water trough.
Tana Mc
 

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I dont keep llamas, but have been around them. Poodles on steroids is hysterical. Maybe now Diego will respect you as the boss? Or justifiably hate you. They seem pretty uppity to me.

It is good to try new things. I guess you just answered a question I have always had, why they never shear the tops of the llamas heads.
 

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construction and Garden b
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we had a fellow come up the lane and offer to let us clip his Llama's for their fleece, smart brother said "no thanks"(he had done one for a friend but will limit shearing Llama to that) his wife likes the fiber but not at the cost! his buddy took on shearing this year himself, anyone want a cheap Llama!?
 

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Very Dairy
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Funny story!!!

But ... be careful with that boy. Don't ever turn your back on him.
 

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We used to have a couple of llamas. We could trim them if one person held the lead rope and the other trimmed by hand, and a net of yummy hay was presented. If only one person was available, then we had to use a llama chute (kind of like a giant goat stanchion).

I think young llamas are worse than more mature ones. Our older gelding was fairly calm and never spit on me, even when sorely provoked. The young female, however, was a real pill and she and I went round and round. They are frighteningly HUGE when they rear up to intimidate you! She did spit on me a time or two. I found that the best way to correct her was to get in her face like a Marine drill sargeant. Force never worked. She was quick to escalate it to the point where someone was going to get badly hurt.

Llamas have such odd temperaments. Real what-have-you-done-for-me-lately creatures. Ours sought human contact primarily if they knew dinner was involved, or when a new person came into the pasture and needed investigated. The rest of the time we could have laid there dying and as long as we didn't smell like a coyote, they would have ignored us. On the other hand, our male was the best nurse maid for the yearling ewes at lambing time. We have seen him take over for a confused and neglectful ewe, gently nudge the lamb up, clean it off, and push it toward the udder.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
As I view him this morning after a nights rest, Diego really looks pretty bedraggled. When I got him, he was smaller and pretty skinny. Grass hadn't come out yet and this part of the country was out of hay. I am pleased that he has grown quite a bit and under all of that wool, he is in good flesh. I turned him loose with the girls to free range this morning and I am sure that when I bring them back in at noon, he will stay out "on patrol". In the mornings, he ususally lays down under the willow tree on the pond dam. When the sun gets hot, he moves to the north side of the pig nursery and lays in the shade so that the exhaust fan blows directly on him.
I am always wary of him in close quarters. He allows my middle son to scratch him and he has sidled up to me and bumped me when I was carrying a bucket of feed. I have found that a direct "in your face stare" will back him down. Of course, my kids and hubby say that I have a habit of giving people the "icey stare" with my teeth bared that intimidates most people. They must be right because in a crowd, all i have to do is look at my kids and they behave.
Tana Mc
 

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I have a friend who has a llama. The stupid animal loves the smell of woodsmoke and will stand whenever he has a bonfire and sniff the smoke. One day he left the remains of a fire burning and went out for a bit - when he came back the llama was standing "hugging" the fire and had completely singed one side of his body - the HAD to shear him as he looked so bad. He didn't get burnt - just very singed :)

hoggie
 
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