my first Llama

Discussion in 'Goats' started by Dale in Ar, Jan 22, 2007.

  1. Dale in Ar

    Dale in Ar Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    51
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    Location:
    N.W. Ar.
    I got my first Llama and now I am trying to get acquainted with her.My question is,will she come to me or will she be stand-off-ish? I have been feeding her grain but she still will not let me get close enough to her to pet or catch her.I have read that they are a stand-off-ish animal by nature but will they come to you or will it just take time?? She doesn't seem to be spooky or excitable,just keeps her distance.I have had her for 5 days now,maybe I am rushing her ???? :shrug:
     
  2. momofmany

    momofmany Dayenu farms

    Messages:
    712
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Location:
    colo-Dado! As my enthusiatic 4 yo calls it.
    Sounds like my Tina. I got her in November and still haven't actually touched her. She has bonded to men, so she will let my husband (the city boy) go up to her....lol.

    I make her take her grains from my hands, and she seems leery of me, but not aggressive so I figure I will take as long as she needs with me for now.
     

  3. llamaqueen

    llamaqueen Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    154
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2006
    Location:
    Indiana
    Some llamas are more personable than others. I would try feeding her out of your hands (if she will get that close) and just spend time around her and talking to her. She may get to where she will come up to you or she may always be more of a hands off llama. If she is to be used for a guard only, it may be best that she be a little more on the hands off side. Have you found a vet yet that will treat her if she ever needs anything? This is always my first question as finding a vet that is willing to treat llamas or knows anything about them can be hard in some areas. If you have any questions, please let me know. They are wonderful animals and one of my favorites!
     
  4. Liese

    Liese Namaste

    Messages:
    1,528
    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2005
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Llamaqueen that's a great first thought/question. There is a vet 30 miles from me that treats llamas but doesn't make farm calls-uh?! Man, I hope I never have to try loading a sick llama.

    Dale, Marty Bennett has a nice web site about llamas and an excellent book called "The Camelid Companion" - this has helped me out enormously. Also there is a nice llama group on yahoo, many folks on that are involved in rescues so can give a lot of advice about getting adjusted, as well as, gear-you will need a special llama harness because of their shorter nose bone. I got mine from Rose Mist - great lady there. Hope you find some of this useful. Liese
     
  5. mare

    mare Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    2,906
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    Location:
    central, mn
    have fun they are pretty cool. i had one that was very friendly, almost to much so, i had one that spat at us alot and then my current one, he wants to be by us in the worst way but at the same time he is real leary. he comes up and inspects us and will let us touch hime but not for long---he gets slooooooooowly better every month. can you tell me if something i heard is true? i've heard not to touch them on the heads (i think cuz its a form of aggresion towards them) true or false? does it matter more if a female or male?
     
  6. Gailann Schrader

    Gailann Schrader Green Woman

    Messages:
    1,957
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Indiana - North Central
    Yeah, don't try to touch their heads. They don't like it.

    Once they trust you? While holding them, run your hand up between their ears to scratch their 'poll' (forehead).

    We've had to rope wild ones before. Once they realize they are trapped/caught? They fight a little bit and then stop and give up. They may even drop to the ground and go spastic/grand mal on you. They are fine. Really. It's a shock for them to be caught.

    If you can get a llama halter on them? Leave about a 2-3' lead dangling. Then when you go to catch them? Move slooooooooowly and hang on to the end of the lead. Don't move fast, you'll spook them. Just don't leave the halter on if their nose is sensitive - it can go gangrene... AND DON'T USE ANYTHING BUT A LLAMA HALTER. Most other halters have a 'nose band' that drops too low and you can kill your llama. The bottom part of their nose is fleshy and you can obstruct their breathing...

    Llamas act different than most species. If one gets loose? Can of grain or even a much hated herdmate will usually do the trick. They like to be together even with a llama they DON'T like...
     
  7. Hip_Shot_Hanna

    Hip_Shot_Hanna Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,504
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    Location:
    Texas
    I have heard - do not have experience myself at all - that it is not a good thing to make "pets" of llamas as they become aggressive. That would not be the same as having a llama you can handle, of course. If I could remember where I read this I would be glad to share, but of course I do not because I didn't bookmark it since I do not have llamas, and don't plan to have them.

    I've also read that they do much better with another llama.

    Good luck with your llama, they always have appeared to be fascinating animals!
     
  8. Gailann Schrader

    Gailann Schrader Green Woman

    Messages:
    1,957
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Indiana - North Central
    handling them under 6 months old or so supposedly makes them overly aggressive with humans when they get to be adults. Pushy if you will
     
  9. llamaqueen

    llamaqueen Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    154
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2006
    Location:
    Indiana
    The aggression in llamas (male bezerk (SP) syndrome, some females can get it too though) comes from playing with them too much as babies. This usually happens when someone has a bottle baby. Baby llamas (crias) are VERY cute and it is hard not to play with them, but if they are being bottle fed, petting and rubbing on them should not be done at feeding time. They begin to associate you with food and therefore you are a llama and it is ok to treat you like one. It is mainly a problem with males because when they get older they start acting like males and wanting to roughhouse and play like males. This is a VERY dangerous situation. Messing with them when they are older will not cause them to be aggressive.

    Llamas do not like to have their heads or their legs messed with as it is a defense mechanism (Not gender specific either), not so much a form of aggression though. It is an instinct from being in the wild and can be overcome with a lot of training. Most people try to desensitize them when they are young so that they can be haltered easily and so that they can trim their toenails.

    If you do decide you want to try to catch her, put her in a small pen (that has high gates as llamas can jump!), move slowly and talk to her. If she will let you, put your arm around her neck and rub her (or if she won't let you do that you can try petting her on her back just so she knows that you won't hurt her). Llamas can kick though, so I wouldn't stand directly behind her until you learn her personality more. It doesn't hurt too bad (nothing like getting kicked by a horse!), but it can leave a pretty good bruise.

    If you need llama supplies there are some good catalogs to purchase items through. One that I know the web address of is www.llamaproducts.com. And there are some others if you do searches for them. As mentioned before, llamas do need a special halter because of their nose. I have seen some in some farm supply stores, but I would be leary of them as they do not always fit right. Many of the llama supply companies have a number of good reference books in them also. I have never read Marty McGee Bennett's book but I am sure it is good as she does a lot of work with llamas. The first book we purchased when we got into llamas was "Caring For Llamas & Alpacas" by Claire Hoffman. It covers a lot of topics and has been very useful over the years.
     
  10. momofmany

    momofmany Dayenu farms

    Messages:
    712
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Location:
    colo-Dado! As my enthusiatic 4 yo calls it.
    Ok so If I am hearing correctly, it is OK to handle them some when they are small, as long as mama is still feeding them?

    We are expecting a cria, next August and I was hoping to get them a little friendlier than mama.
     
  11. Gailann Schrader

    Gailann Schrader Green Woman

    Messages:
    1,957
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Indiana - North Central
    I would think so. Just don't bottle them...

    And I was told to use a long handled toilet brush to rub up and down their legs to de-sensitize them to having their legs/feet handled.

    Makes sense. They can kick quite quickly...

    It's wonderful when they hum...
     
  12. llamaqueen

    llamaqueen Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    154
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2006
    Location:
    Indiana
    We handle our crias everyday to get them used to being messed with since many of ours end up in a 4-H program. We rub their bodies, pick up their feet, and rub their heads. This is the easiest time to do this. However, if one starts to be overly friendly, don't handle it as much. The aggressiveness typically comes from bottle fed llamas just because they think you are one of them. However, if we have one that is just a little too friendly (pushing the others out of the way, never leaving our sides, etc.) then we back off of that one a little bit. Getting them used to being handled at this age makes it so much easier to work with them when they are older. We don't usually wean until 5 or 6 months (depending on the situation) and all of them are handled prior to weaning. I normally don't work on halter training until after they are weaned (unless we are planning to take them to a show right after they turn 6 months -this is the age they can be entered) After they are weaned they are looking for someone to bond to so training (going slowly!) at this time works well.
    On older animals that are not desensitized well it is easier to use something long to work on their legs with (mainly just the back ones though). But when they are young, rub your hands up and down there legs and practice picking them up. We have some older llamas that we purchased that no matter what I have done, they still kick. So, you just have to be prepared when working with them. The only time they kick is when we're trying to check their udders when they are close to being due or when they are in the chute and we're trying to trim their nails.