Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Great Llama Drama

Figuring out how to protect the sheep from ongoing coyote predation has been a constant worry this year.  It's a problem that seems to require a multifaceted, layered approach. A local hunter has been employed to try to get the really aggressive, brazen coyotes, but none of us are happy with that.  It is a temporary fix at best and is likely to lead to more problems in the long term.

Bess is becoming a better and better guard every day and saved a lamb from attack just a couple weeks ago.  The trouble is, she is only one dog and she has to sleep sometime.  She also can't be in more than one place at a time.  More dogs are not the answer as there is a limit to the number of dogs the farm can support. The idea of a guard animal keeps coming up.  

Th guard donkey concept has too many flaws.  It has an enormous failure rate and this situation is very unsuited to a donkey's needs, which is just not fair to the donkey.  Which is why llamas keep coming up.  

FB did a ton of research and got in touch with a llama organization who provided a mentor.  All of these agreed that a llama would be a good choice as a guard and set about finding one for her.  It all seemed to be going splendidly right up until the llama actually got here last weekend.  That is when the llama drama began.

The chosen llama was supposed to be friendly, easy to handle, willing to bond with the sheep, accepting of the dogs, good with fences and become happy here.  The llama who arrived, has never seen sheep, cows, chickens or dogs.  She is thirteen years old, has done nothing but raise babies all her life and has never been away from home before.  She barely tolerates being handled and she is desperately missing her friends.  

So, she did what just about any animal would do in such a situation - she bided her time, waited for the right moment, jumped the fence and disappeared.

Thus began the great llama search.

Given the options available for a llama on the loose and the amount of land available to disappear in, there was a great deal of doubt whether she would ever be seen again.

Once again, Bess saved the day.  After two days of searching, it was Bess who found Katerina the llama, hiding out in the woods.  FB and the dogs pushed her back into the pasture and, from there, herded her back into the barn.

Where she is going to stay until she decides she loves it here or returns to her previous home.  At the moment, it is fairly obvious which choice Katerina would make.


  1. She is absolutely beautiful. I wish she were able to have one of her friends with her at her new home. It might settle her but then that is just another mouth to feed. There never seems to be an easy solution.

  2. oh, dear. Can FB return her to her happy place? I know zero about Llamas but I think any professional baby raiser shouldn't be forced onto another planet to do a dangerous job with strangers! (and FB: Good Girl Bess)!

  3. The poor little thing. Everything is so strange. We all hope she bonds and becomes content. Bess is a winner. A companion for Bess not a good idea?

  4. Well, they sure didn't do her or FB any favors :-/. Would she be happier if she had a llama friend with her? Seems like a bit old to change jobs...but I don't know anything about llamas... Glad she was found safe and sound. I'm sure she was terrified :-(.

  5. I agree with Shelley. I think Katrina needs to go back to her happy place. Poor thing is completely out of her element!

  6. I'm sorry for laughing so write very well!!! glad she was found and what about 2 llamas?

  7. Poor thing. And poor you, not getting what you expected and needed.

  8. I am so, so sorry someone thought a single llama would be the solution to your problems. As llama breeders for 30 years, we would NEVER place a single llama in a new home, much less one where the single llama was supposed to protect the sheep from a predator. Being a single llama is a stressful situation. Stress causes ulcers in llamas. Ulcers kill llamas. I just can't tell you how sad this makes me.

    Marty in NC

  9. You don't do that with any animal you wish to be with other species. I agree with the above poster, single llamas need a buddy.
    My molly mules do hang together and they do attack coyotes and other animals that come into their pasture. But that said I couldn't just put them in with the cattle without a lot of work first.
    Darn, wish there was a good solution to this.
    We do hunt the 'yotes and they are very very sly.

  10. She is lonely, get her a friend or two and it might work...they like a group:)

  11. The poor llama! Agree with Shelly and Anonymous. A llama might be your answer, but not this sad llama. :-(