Llama Pens

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Llama Pens

Post  JML on Sun May 08, 2011 9:08 pm

We are still relatively new to keep Llamas and still in search of advice. We have two one male (about 4) and one female (2 1/2). I assume we will need a pen for shearing, toe trimming and training? I was thinking about building one about 8ft x 12ft. Would that be adequate? I read Cate Murrays question about training. We are finding this a very slow process! Feeding them by hand and trying to gain their trust and after 8 months can just about stroke their necks whilst feeding. When not feeding we can appraoch to about 1 foot then they back off, although when we walk around their field they will follow us all over!! The female is in desperate need of a good grooming, I dont think she had been groomed before we bought her. I am coming to the conclusion that the only way forward is to build a pen so she cant run off and put up with the inevitable spitting? My wife is booking on to a llama handling course soon however in the meantime are there any suggestions on how we can speed up the grooming process?

JML

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Llama Pens

Post  Vicki on Mon May 09, 2011 3:03 pm

We have tried various different shapes and size of pen and after a coupld of disasters we have come to the conclusion that all we really needed was 5 alpaca hurdles (like sheep hurdles but taller!) These can be obtained from Agritech and have proved to be invaluable, as they are movable and can be used for lots of purposes. For two llamas I would say that a pen 6 x 6 is adequate then they can't move around out of your reach too easily! We put four hurdles into a square and use the 5th hurdle as a crush when the vet comes, by putting the other hurdle inside the pen in a V shape you can 'hold' the llama still for injections etc. We have found this method works really well with all of ours, even those who don't like to be handled too much. Two at a time in the pen is ideal, they feel more comfotable having a friend with them. If you put the pen up in a corner of the paddock, leave one side open and put their food bowls inside so that they can wander in at will, they will soon get used to going into it and you will be able to close the fouth hurdle behind them. Simples!! Good luck!!

Vicki
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Thanks Vicki

Post  JML on Mon May 09, 2011 3:17 pm

That makes sense having two in with litte room to run. We'll give it a try.

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Llama Pens

Post  S.Smith on Sat May 14, 2011 10:07 am

Our experience...

We are new to llamas too (had our first guys for just over a year). I have come to the conclusion that to be able to handle llamas without using force needs a LOT of time; they really would rather just be left alone! Some will let us catch and halter them in the field (after a little routine game of lead me round the field for 20 mins first!) but the others need to be penned. All of ours will let us touch them but some are more happy than others. I have found that spending the time needed desensitising them does mean you get to know them a lot better and form stronger bonds.

Having the pen near the area where they get fed is a good idea as they are more willing to go in in the first place. It is a good idea to have two llamas together but I find they can run into each other which tends to raise the temperature. It depends on what you are trying to do. Better is to have somewhere where the others stay nearby as they don't like being separated, perhaps a gated area so they can't walk off (a sort-of pen within a pen). We had to do work with some of ours a while back and put them in a stone stable, alone and as a pair. They can get quite distressed because they can't see the others, especially if they know they are somewhere nearby.

Recently we have been having some success using three Heras temporary fencing panels (the sort you see on building sites) against the side of a field shelter. This is not ideal for lots of reasons (not very sturdy, quite 'spikey' in places and you can't put your hands through from the outside, etc.) but we had them to hand. They do provide a restricted area (7' square?) so the guys cannot back away and are sufficiently high (6') that they won't try to jump.

We are looking at the alpaca hurdles but I'm not sure how high the are? Viki's idea of using a hurdle inside the pen is good one.

One of our guys is part Guanaco: good natured and quiet but even more flighty than normal. My fault: A couple of days ago I let an empty food bucket get blown off onto the floor in a strong gust of wind. This spooked him and he made a desperate bid to escape by jumping against the corner. Despite having the panels in the concrete blocks and tied to the shelter he managed to move it all and even bend part of it a little. I guess a 100Kg + of determined animal can be quite powerful! He is OK but did pick-up a little cut on his nose :-(

My advise would make sure that what you use is high enough so they won't try to jump (and risk getting stuck half way), is sturdy and well secured. Oh, and ensure you have a quick escape route just in case.

Chris

P.S. if they look like they are going to spit, try raising your head as they do, as if you are going to spit first. Usually puts them off.

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Thank you

Post  JML on Sat May 14, 2011 11:13 pm

Thanks Chris

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