Bullying llama

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Bullying llama

Post  llamalad on Thu Sep 17, 2009 8:37 pm

Hi there, am actually 'llamalady', but there aren't enough spaces to enter the 'y'!

I have developed an odd problem with a gelded llama (one of my rescue cases who I have had for a good couple of years). He should live in the top enclosure with an entire male and his old pal - another gelding who I rescued at the same time as him. The three of them have always got on very well. About 6 months ago he started regularly cleared the fencing into the lower part of the field, where he seemed to want to live with a young male (currently 13 months old and entire) a gelded alpaca, an elderly gelded llama and a younger gelding. They all accepted him and as none of the llamas seemed phased by this living arrangement, I eventually allowed him to stay rather than risk damage to llama or fencing! The problem I have now is that each time I pop a headcollar on any of the other llamas (or the alpaca) this rescue gelding suddenly launches a full on attack. This is the only time he does it and the others do not attack him when he is headcollared. I do not really have the facilities to shut him up each time I want to do some training with one of the others, and do not want to tie him up to a post whilst training one of the others. How can I break this bullying behaviour, because as he lays into the one on the other end of a lead, all the others come to the defense and it's pandamonium for a few minutes and ends my training. Incidently, he's fine when llama is in catch pen, it's just when they are led into the field that trouble starts. 5 minutes after the attack ends, everyone is friends again and they live in perfect harmony until the headcollar appears again on a llama. We have no issues over grooming or feeding times - it is simply the fact that the llama (or alpaca) is on the other end of a lead rein and seems to become a target.
Please help - all ideas appreciated.

llamalad
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Bullying llama

Post  Terry on Mon Sep 28, 2009 10:23 pm

Hi Llamalady,

As no-one else seems to have replied to your question, I'll have a try at suggesting things,though this a situation I have never come across. It seems as though your rescue boy is a wee bit neurotic or maybe trying to get a leg-up in the pecking order.
I, myself, have haltering problems from time to time and have noticed that a llama that resists the headcollar is far,far more likely to resist it (to the point of impossibility sometimes)if there are other llamas in close proximity. Strange as it seems, it's almost as though, in accepting the halter, the llama feels pushed down the pecking-order and more vulnerable. I wonder if your rescue llama is therefore seeing the haltered buddy as somewhat "diminished" in authority and he's having a go at the underdog?
This is a situation you may not be able to change, but why not get around it? Do you really want every training session to start with a fight? I dont know what you're training the animals to do, or what methods you are using, but I know that in my own methods which are reward based, it would be a great waste of time to wait whilst the llama could take food after the inevitable spitting that a fight entails. I usually have to pause for twenty minutes after a student has spat and I do everything to avoid it..
Would it not be possible to halter and tie, or even long-tether the aggressor first? Llamas can go for quite long periods tied.

Terry

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bullying llama

Post  yvsllamas on Tue Sep 29, 2009 9:03 am

Hi there

Thought you might like my thoughts on the matter or maybe not! any way I partly agree with Terry that he is probably taking advantage of the haltered animal being in a compromised posisition most llamas will pick on somehthing that they think is being the underdog but also I feel he is feeling that he thinks he is the top dog(sorry llama) in the group and he does not want you giving any one of the others preferencial treatment . I agree that if you catch him first and rather than tie him if possible use some sheep hurdles to create a small pen to put him in on his own with a small amount of food first he will be much happier obviously if this is not possible tying him up for a short time is fine and will also benefit him as he will also without realising it be having some training and learning a thing or two.

Best of luck Smile

yvsllamas

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bullying llama

Post  llamalad on Tue Sep 29, 2009 9:58 pm

Hi there,
many thanks for your thoughts and tips. All suggestions much appreciated. I do agree that the llama in question feels he is the top 'dog', and will have a go at penning him with food to see if this makes a difference. I'm not doing anything outstanding with my training sessions, it's simply getting the youngsters used to headcollaring and being led - not a situation they relish being in when they risk Milo launching an attack! Perhaps I should always start a session cncentrating on him first, then move to the others once he has been headcollared, led around, groomed etc first. Llama psychology eh! It would probably make more sense if he was naturally boisterous towards the others, but it only ever happens when they are headcollared and seemingly an easy target, and it's only just started happening, so hopefully I may be able to convince him towards some other behaviour first.
Thank you anyway for your comments, will report back what happens - and any other comments happily received!

llamalad
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Bullying

Post  Richard on Sun Jan 10, 2010 12:55 pm

I have experienced an almost identical problem. The most placid, true gentleman of a gelding I have at 3 has just started to take an exception to my entire male when haltered and being led out of the field to go for a walk. Given the chance he charges across and attacks from every angle. Family and friends cannot believe this sudden, out of character behaviour. My method of coping is to entice him into the shelter with a bit of food and sneak the other one out whilst he is distracted. As soon as I return, I let him off the lead rope asap and that does the trick although the gelding is usually waiting, snorting by the gate and my entire is reluctant to enter.

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bullying llama

Post  yvsllamas on Sun Jan 10, 2010 2:00 pm

Richard wrote:I have experienced an almost identical problem. The most placid, true gentleman of a gelding I have at 3 has just started to take an exception to my entire male when haltered and being led out of the field to go for a walk. Given the chance he charges across and attacks from every angle. Family and friends cannot believe this sudden, out of character behaviour. My method of coping is to entice him into the shelter with a bit of food and sneak the other one out whilst he is distracted. As soon as I return, I let him off the lead rope asap and that does the trick although the gelding is usually waiting, snorting by the gate and my entire is reluctant to enter.


Hi there this sounds like this is the only time that the gelding can get the upper hand on the entire. Once he is on the halter with you the gelding can then take advantage of the situation and pretend he is boss. You do not say how old the entire is ! and are you sure that your 3yr old is a gelding (you may think that a silly question but it would not be the first time that someone thought they had a gelding only to find out that he may not have been successfully done! ie one testical left in or even both)

It sounds like you doing the right thing by putting him in first though and I hope the situation improves

yv

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Bullying

Post  Richard on Sun Jan 10, 2010 2:46 pm

I wondered that myself, especially since he mounts any females the first chance he has but the person I bought him from assured me she watched and saw both testicles removed and I certainly can't see any!

Richard
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Bullying Llama - an update

Post  llamalady on Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:31 pm

Hi there,
many thanks to all of you who offered advice to me re Milo's newfound trait of launching an attack on anyone wearing a headcollar! Thought I'd post an update. In the end, I've found the safest course of action for all concerned is to catch Milo first, and tether him to a telegraph pole in the middle of the field, with a little bucket of grain. He stands here very patiently, watching everything going on around him and does not make a fuss at all. He also doesn't seem to mind me tethering him at all. He's not there for long, 20 mins or so maximum. Because he was so calm, I though perhaps this was just a passing phase and did attempt to headcollar one of the youngsters without first tying up Milo. Milo came in like a rocket, knocked poor old Riley over and tried to stamp on him. Not nice at all. Especially as they all behave so well together unheadcollared. I now also have a small grassy pen I can pop Milo into for a more prolonged spell, but separating him seems to upset him, but at least I have a second option available. I guess I'll never know why Milo suddenly changed behaviour, but I suspect it is some sort of a power 'thing'.
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