I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for a llama to use as a livestock guardian for the sheep. I found this one nearby, from a man who had her to keep his horse company, but his horse had passed away.
Her name is “Maggie” but since we already have a dog named Maggie, we think we’ll call her the Dolly Llama. The name isn’t so important, since I don’t expect we’ll interact with her enough that she’ll learn it. But I guess it’s convention to name the permanent residents of the farm, anyway.
She is around 13 years old. I was able to speak with her breeder, who offered to breed her in the future for me, so I can have a replacement for her (since she’s “getting up there” in age).
I think she’s a reasonable quality llama, she’s a little cow-hocked in the rear, and her teeth are a little crooked. But her fiber looks really nice. She is pretty well behaved, we were able to catch and lead her without much difficulty. I transported her in my cargo van, and she rode calmly.
Here is a photo of her meeting the sheep. They pondered each other from a distance for an hour or two. But she seemed anxious to be close to a herd, and kept tailing the sheep. By the end of the day, it looked like they had mostly joined up. Hopefully she’ll be well-bonded to them by spring, such that she is motivated to defend the lambs.
Another llama seller I corresponded with on craigslist told me an interesting tale- she had a llama injure some of her lambs. She learned, in retrospect, that it’s not good to introduce a few sheep to multiple llamas in the llamas’ pasture, as they may perceive the sheep as intruders and drive them out. Instead, it works better to leverage a single llama’s lonliness in a pasture that’s new to them– they’ll be more likely to behave in a solicitous manner to the sheep herd in hopes of joining up.
2 thoughts on “Welcome Dolly Llama”
Rather than breeding Maggie, I suggest considering rescue llamas needing homes. There are plenty out there to replace Maggie when the time comes. Also, the best environment to raise a baby llama is in a herd of llamas. Outside of that environment they are at risk of developing psychological/behavioral issues.
That is a good idea Scott, and I may. There are a few people in my region who rescue llamas, although they charge kind of a lot of money for them, relatively. It seems there are always plenty of free ones available too, which are probably in almost pre-rescue states as it is.