Monday, June 7, 2010

Llama shearing excitement

Llama shearing yesterday went well. We caught all seven llamas and brought them into the barn in less than an hour, so we were very proud of ourselves. When the shearers arrived, we were able to get started immediately, and when they left, we started taking the llamas back to their respective pastures. That's when the fun began.

I was leading Big Mama and Little Man, and Mike was leading Katy. When we were about to go through the door of the barn, Katy reared up and refused to go through the door. Most llamas don't like going through doors, so that didn't surprise us much, but once Mike led her through the door, she really went mad. She started rearing up like a wild stallion, galloped around Mike, wrapping the rope around him and pulling him to the ground. I put the other two llamas into their pastures and dropped their lead ropes, thinking there was something I could do to help Mike, but then I stood there feeling completely helpless. The rope was wrapped around his body, and Katy was rearing up repeatedly and landing within inches of his body. Her long neck swung around wildly, and her head hit Mike's with a clunk. He was curled up in a ball being rolled and twisted around on the ground as she reared up, and I kept telling myself, This is only a 250-pound llama. She can't kill him like a horse could.

Then I noticed our livestock guardian standing nearby. He was looking at all of us as if assessing the situation. Fearing he would try to help, I yelled at him, "Sovalye, back off!" He turned around and started to walk away. As soon as he started to walk away, Katy calmed down. Mike stood up, wincing and limping, with dirt and grass stains on his T-shirt.

"Are you okay?" I gave him a split second to respond. "Are you okay?" I could hardly believe he was standing. "Quick, get her in here before she gets upset again." I opened the gate, and Mike led Katy through it.

After he unclipped the lead rope from her halter, I again asked if he was okay, and he said yes, but I didn't believe him. "Let me see your back." I lifted his T-shirt. Red marks were scattered across his back, and there was a nasty rope burn under his arm. The front of his body looked fine.

Realizing that the dog's presence was probably was sent Katy into fits of hysteria, Mike said, "I think that's how they scare off coyotes."

"Well, it sure scared me!"

This morning, I'm finally convinced that Mike is fine, but I'm still confused about the llama's behavior. Sovalye has been here longer than Katy, and she's seen him plenty of times, although they don't live in the same pasture. We brought her through Sovalye's pasture on the way into the barn, and she was fine, so we're assuming that proximity plays a big part and will make sure he's not nearby next time we need to move her.


Gizmo said...

That is EXACTLY what they do to coyotes!!! And make NO MISTAKE, she could have killed Mike!
She could have been set off by the fact normally she sees Sovolye in his pasture...not outside the barn.

LindaG said...

Really glad to hear that Mike is okay.

Nancy K. said...

How terrifying!
It sounds like Mike did exactly the right thing.

There sure is never a dull moment around your place...

Deborah @ Antiquity Oaks said...

Gizmo, I was afraid you were going to say that. Well, at least THINKING that she couldn't kill him kept me from screaming like a crazy woman in the middle of it all.

joven said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

glad to read that Mike is ok!

Anne said...

Scary! I'm so glad that Mike is ok. Maybe the llama was alittle out of sorts after the shearing, and then the presence of the dog sent her into a crazy tailspin. Take care you guys!! Anne

Gizmo said...

Ya know, NOT screaming is half the battle! :) I'm very glad he wasn't seriously hurt.


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