Whenever I see the camel in the Geico hump day commercial I think of my llama. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWBhP0EQ1lA)
Yes I have a llama…who doesn’t? By the way, this is my first non-food blog. I’m hoping to share a little bit about the rural lifestyle and my quirky personality in this one.
How I ended up with a llama
Let me start by giving a brief background on my dear llama, Kuzco. I was a member in the Future Farmers of America (FFA) in high school and bought a few goats to raise. Shortly thereafter I bought Kuzco to guard my goats. Llamas are excellent guard animals and have been used to guard livestock in North America since the early 1980’s. They protect sheep, goats and other small animals from predators like coyotes. Coyotes are a great threat to livestock, especially during and shortly after birth when the animals are most vulnerable. Baby animals are easy targets for packs of coyotes. Having a guard llama is a viable, nonlethal alternative for reducing predation, requiring no training and little care.
Fast forward a few years… I sold the goats, but Kuzco had no desire to leave our property! It was impossible to get him loaded into the trailer without either sedating him or having him hurt himself. I had even found him a couple of new homes where he could guard goats and sheep, but he just didn’t want to leave. Eventually I talked my parents into keeping him with a speech along the lines of “he doesn’t eat much and isn’t hurting anything”.
Llama kitty love
While I was away at college my mom adopted a large cat named Tucker. Tucker was previously a house cat but decided he liked to be free and live outside in the barn. One weekend I came home to visit and noticed Kuzco and Tucker were hanging out together in the field by the barn. My mom explained that they had struck up a relationship and were inseparable. Mind you, they are the only animals in this field. I guess Kuzco was happy to have something to guard.
Llamas are magestic creatures!
I think llamas are quite fascinating and worth their weight in entertainment value. The other day my husband, Cory, witnessed Kuzco’s many odd behaviors (not odd for a llama). Llamas take dirt baths to stay clean. This seems counter-productive, but it keeps Kuzco’s wool healthy and fluffy. They are remarkably clean animals. Another strange behavior is dung-piling. Llamas mark their territory with dung piles and only defecate and urinate in their designated piles.
A few more fun facts about llamas
Like horses, neutered males are called geldings. Their average lifespan is 17-23 years. A baby llama is called a cria (from Spanish for “baby”). Adult male llamas weigh 300-400 lbs and stand about 6 feet tall. Like a cattle, llamas have more than one stomach compartment. Cows are ruminants and have four compartments. Llamas are incomplete ruminants with only three compartments. They do not spit unless they are mishandled or stressed out.
Until next time, save the drama for your llama!