What a hair raising adventure in animal husbandry this week!
We had contracted with a sheep/alpaca/llama shearer to come down from upper Vermont to shear our llama.
Its not humane to keep a halter on a llama for long so she generally is free of any fetters, running wild with the goats in their acre enclosure.
To be sheared, she needed to have a halter on. She is VERY skittish and only tolerates us barely touching her when she has her head in the feed bucket. She pulls away quickly even then.
We tried for this last week to slip the halter on her but never were able to. Thursday was D-day and the shearing guys came and she still had no halter (YIKES!).
I felt like such a bad llama keeper.
Our llama easily weighs 300 pounds and is some 6-7 feet tall, keep this in mind.
The shearing guys come into the pen and we proceed to try to pen her into a corner.
Misty the llama was NOT amused.
She got angry and when she is angry she gallops up and down the wooded stump strewn hills of the enclosure REALLY fast.
When she gallops, she will run RIGHT at you to do a headfake at the last second and run askew and away from you.
When she does that, I hide behind trees.
When she gallops, pre shear, her fur flounces up and down like this gigantic majestic fluffy ball of fur with strong animal muscles, fierce kicking legs, hooves, and a predilection of spitting like a camel (she is a camelid).
I gave up hope after half an hour and was resigned to paying these poor guys for their wasted trip.
Thing is, they pride themselves on NEVER having been beaten by an animal, I had no idea.
They admitted later that they were ALMOST about to give up when one of them tried one last lunge, freestyle, at the llama’s neck (as she was at FULL gallop, gulp!)
The guy GOT her! We quickly put the halter on her and they held her to a tree while we got the extension cords out there and they began to do their very dangerous job.
Llamas do NOT take kindly to the indignities of shearing. Its important to get the fur off every few years (many do it every year) because it can become a bit much in the summer) Not sure what wild llamas do but I am guessing that up in the mountains of Peru summer heat is never an issue.
The guys had to shear her AS she jumped around, really scary (if she so much as steps on your foot, its gonna hurt).
The guys were so persistent!!! I have put a series of photos below showing the process. Llamas also need to have their front teeth trimmed if they grow too long. By the time the shearing was done, she had calmed down a bit so I asked them to trim her teeth. Those photos are at the end!
This is what she looked like before shearing, the after shot is at the top of this post!
Now the teeth trimming, notice the smoke or dental material filling the air.