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Llama Walkabout


We got up early this morning to get my husband to his doctor's appointment.  He had the staples removed from his surgery last week and got a reaffirmation that he is cancer free.  Great news!  I mention this here because it explains why I finally got around to feeding the livestock about 11:30 this morning.  It was already hot by then and they were tapping their little hooves wanting me to get out there with their food.  As always, the goats are first and I had to encourage all the goats and the llamas and alpacas to get out of that pen so I could put the food out.  This was the first difference between this morning and any other morning.  The llamas know where they get fed and usually scamper out of the goat's pen if I happen catch them in it.  Today because they were all moving slowly I left the walk gate open between the goat pen and the barn.  ERROR #1!

The goats got fed.  The llamas and alpacas got fed.  Jazz's and Eclipse's food buckets got filled with water.  All is right with the world.  On to the ponies.  Oh, wait.  I'll just open this gate so it will be easier to get the tractor in here to mow which I intend to do as soon as I finish feeding.  ERROR#2!

I wanted to swap the pony pastures.  Eclipse, our oldest pony with the bum knee and very few teeth, does a lousy job of eating the grass growing in his pasture.  Jazz and Steele, younger although not hardly young anymore but with much better teeth and no bad joints, eat their pasture down to nubs pretty efficiently.  Every few months I swap the animals so they can even out the pasture pressure.  This morning Eclipse took one look at the halter in my hand and knew I would be asking him to do something he hated so he did the only natural thing he could do - he walked away.  I ended up chasing him all over the pasture just to get the halter on him.  We are pretty evenly matched in the chasing department.  He has a bum knee, I have a bum knee.  He is old and cranky, I'm old and cranky.  He has enough determination to keep walking away and I won't give up trying to catch him.  The entire chasing thing was done at a slow walk which made both of us happy.  In the end I did get the halter on him and holding him tightly opened the gate to let Jazz and Steele in.  They raced off to investigate the other end of the pasture and Eclipse and I walked calming back through the gate.  Pasture transfer was accomplished.

I had fed Eclipse and was getting ready to feed Jazz and Steel when I looked up and realized they were both staring fixedly off towards the llama pasture.  That degree of concentration always makes me nervous.  Sure enough, there are Shiraz and Stash wandering around in the yard behind the studio and heading slowly towards the front gate.  I dropped what I was doing and raced back to the house to get the clicker to close the front gate.  By the time I was headed back to the pastures the llamas had changed direction and made it around the shed.  At about that time, Ron looked out his office window and saw them.  He grabbed a lead rope and came out to help encourage them to move in the right direction.  I ran around to open/close gates to keep the rest in the pasture and offer a place to get the free llamas corralled.  Llamas are very good at figuring out where you want them to go and then not going there.  We walked around a couple of trees several times but in the end I opened a gate they were willing to go through.

If I had closed the walk gate or not opened the big gate they would have been safely corralled.  Either error was fine on its own but both at the same time left a way out for inquisitive camelids.  Everyone is safe where they belong now and I'm exhausted from all the walking around.  The mowing I had planned to do right after feeding will have to wait till later.