Walkers using footpath across llama field

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Walkers using footpath across llama field

Post  S.Smith on Tue May 17, 2011 8:19 am

Hi, we have a field with a footpath running along one side. We haven't let our llamas roam free in this field before. It connects the two areas where we do put them and we would like let them use it so they can use all the space. However, I'm not sure how walkers will react to finding llamas.

I'm sure most of our guys will just look on curiously from afar. We have one who is rather more bold and may come right up to people; he certainly does with visitors in their normal field but this is usually with us who he obviously knows may have some food!

The path is not used that often but last year we had several groups of people of school age that didn't really know what they were doing or where they were going. There made quiet a bit of noise with loud talking, especially when they saw the animals. I'm not sure how the llamas would react to this if they were in the same field.

We intend to put up signs to let people know they may come across these strange animals, a bit about them, not to alarm or feed them, keep gates closed and to keep dogs on a lead etc. We want to avoid warning of any dangers in case this makes people react badly should they come across them. Any suggestions on wording would be welcome.

We obviously don't want any harm to come to the llamas. Oh, nor any walkers! We are just trying to avoid any problems before they occur.

Has anyone had a similar problem? If so, did you have any good or bad experiences? Do strange dogs alarm llamas?

Many thanks,
Chris

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walkers using footpath

Post  vicki on Tue May 17, 2011 4:02 pm

Hi Chris
You don't say in your post if this is a public right of way across the field, if it is you may need to check out the local bye-laws because as we all know the law is an ass and there's bound to be some medieval law that says you can't put a sign up! If it's not a designated public right of way I would lock the gate! I'm not sure that I would want to take the chance of anyone, even inadvertently, leaving the gate open and allowing your precious llamas to escape, or spooking them either, we had a llama escape over a high Devon bank not so long ago and we still don't know why!
As for dogs...... our dogs go in the llama fields as do our friends dogs and when we walk the llamas they just sniff at dogs and carry on past, but not sure how they would react if a strange dog was to wander into their field without one of us present, after all they are guard animals and would probably chase a dog away and who knows how a dog would react to the llamas, all a tad unsafe I think.
Also just to answer the alpaca hurdle question they are about 5ft tall I believe, so quite high enough to deter a llama, especially if the llama is confined in a small area and can't get a jump at it!!
Hope this helps
Vicki

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Public footpath :-(

Post  S.Smith on Wed May 18, 2011 9:15 am

Hi Vicki, thanks for the reply.

Unfortunately it is a designated public footpath. In fact it comes right past our back door which is a bit of a pain really. It can be a surprise to walk out into the garden to find people standing right there! This is why I'm a bit unsure about what signs you can put up and getting the balance of the wording right.

We have stiles at either end of the path so no gates to be left open. However It does mean that the fence is lower at these points so there is still the possibility of jumping (fortunately both sides are into adjoining fields and not onto roads).

Our dogs and one visitor's are a little keen on the llamas. I think they are just a little unsure of them and will sometimes lunge forward with some barking when close (we've not let them off the lead in the same field for this reason). They are getting better though. Other dogs seem fine so it just depends on the individual I guess. The llamas don't seem that bothered apart from being very curious and retreating quickly if the dogs do go for them. Provided people keep their dogs on a lead - which thankfully people seem to do in the few instances we've seen - I think it would be fine.

The trouble with all this is the not knowing beforehand, which is why I was asking for the experience of others. It would be best to keep the llamas off the field but the grass keeps growing for some reason and it would be good for us and the llamas if they can move between the fields. I think we may have to be very cautious and restrict their access to this field to when we are around and can keep an eye on things, having them confined to the main fields at other times.

Oh, thanks for the info on the alpaca hurdles. I agree, they would probably be high enough. Mind you, one of the guys could jump 5ft from a standing start if he wanted! My only real worry would be if they thought they could if spooked for some reason. I'd hate to see them get caught up in or come down on the top of a hurdle.

Chris

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Re: Walkers using footpath across llama field

Post  karen on Wed Aug 24, 2011 10:07 pm

Hi.
My llamas have lived on footpaths for many years we have never had any complaints the llamas who sometimes follow people but most of times just watch them going past or ignore them. They dont seem to be bothered about dogs but are used to ours, people are ment to keep dogs on leads the footpath people did put signs up but people dont take any notice. We do not have any signs warning people about llamas as this could make people think they were dangerous and may lead to problems. Some people like to come and see them.

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Re: Walkers using footpath across llama field

Post  S.Smith on Fri Aug 26, 2011 8:49 am

Hi Karen,

Thanks for your reply, good to hear your experiences. I think most of our guys would just watch from afar and would be fine. We do have one that is very curious to say the least and I'd be worried about him worrying people by wanting to have sniff or getting too close to any dogs. Our current thoughts are that we might put some post and rails alongside the path just to avoid any issues. A lot of hard work and cost but I think will save a lot or worrying.

Wording on llamas is a difficult one. As you suggested, it is not a good idea - and not allowed - to warn people off a public footpath. But I feel if people know what they are likely to encounter and what the animals may do they may be more likely to react better (not panic etc.). A balancing act. We had some info from the NFU that pretty much said the same.

Thanks again,
Chris

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Walkers using footpath across llama field

Post  r.cox on Sat Aug 27, 2011 10:29 pm

I think you would be well advised to watch public reaction to llamas at the zoo.
Whilst the majority enjoy and respect the llamas' quiet, peaceful nature, there is always the cool male teenager who goads the llamas to spit at him and be caught on his friend's camera.
Then the younger young man who wants to see what happens when a stone is thrown and hits the animal.
Its fun sharing the pleasure of your animals with interested individuals, its a pain being on edge whenever you see a group of young men anywhere near the llamas.
My advice is keep the immature public at arm's length, most of the time!

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