Explaining things to a totally un-horsey BO? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 03-05-2012, 06:07 PM Thread Starter
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Explaining things to a totally un-horsey BO?

Let me start off with saying that the little old people who let me keep Lacey on their property are the absolute best. They let me keep her there, in this 3 acre field with 2 llamas, for completely free. All I have to do is care for their wild bird feeders and koi when they go away for a month or two every couple of months, and I feed the llamas daily. They even pay for half the hay. They buy the alfalfa and I buy the grass hay.

They are literally the greatest, but I've been having a communication issue with them that I really don't know how to solve...

Basically, the little old man goes down to the shed/barn (only on sunny days) and puts out half a bale (30-40lbs) of alfalfa then calls me saying that Lacey keeps pushing the llamas off the hay and worrying that the llamas are going to "starve to death".

First off, he gets REALLY nice alfalfa, the kind that's super green, no stems, etc. The REALLY fattening kind. Lacey, Miss Air Fern, does not need that much nice alfalfa in her life. I have an issue keeping her weight down on just 5lbs of that alfalfa and free choice low quality grass hay.
Secondly, the llamas are also fat (I read up on them and found out a way to body score them without touching them). Being fat is bad for llamas, like it is for horses. The llamas were/are fat on the same regimen that Lacey was/is fat on (5lbs alfalfa/day, free choice crappy hay).

I've tried explaining to the little old man that I'm making sure the llamas are getting enough and that I feed free choice junky hay so the llamas are never without food. I've told him that I feed them daily so they get enough.

Since the alfalfa is his, I feel like it's really not my place to be all "Please don't feed YOUR hay to YOUR llamas, I've got it covered," you know?

However, since it's my horse's health, I feel like I NEED to say something about it...
I also kinda feel (though he hasn't said/alluded to this at all) that he feels like I'm not feeding the llamas enough/caring for them well enough, or something because of his behavior. That could be totally off base, of course, but I'd like to show him that I am feeding them enough, assure him/whatever, and that I do have a system for feeding that gets the llamas plenty of hay.

How do I get that across? Do I write a note and draw a picture explaining how I do it so everybody gets plenty? I've tried explaining with words before and he just doesn't seem to get it.

I certainly don't want to offend these sweet people, at all, but I do want "my" girls to be as healthy as possible... I know his goal is the same, for the llamas to be as healthy as possible, I just haven't been able to convince him that we have the same goal. I think his wife knows we do and I'm pretty sure she's calmed him down more than once...
He's an intelligent man (a dentist who's done REALLY well for himself) but I think he's just really nervous about the llamas. He used to keep sheep (the llamas were livestock guarding animals) and a few of his herd were killed by neighborhood dogs, so he probably more worried than average about keeping his llamas healthy and safe.

Whenever I find he's fed, I do come along and pick up the remaining hay and not feed anymore for the day so the animals don't get too much of a calorie rush, but I'd like to solve the problem and stop playing defense, you know?


Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding
Hazel - 14 year old Angora goat

Atticus - 4 year old LaMancha/Alpine cross goat

Rest peacefully, Lacey.
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post #2 of 3 Old 03-05-2012, 07:09 PM
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Ontario
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You could try to explain how that much alfalfa overloads the system with calcium, which can lead to kidney stones. And we don't want that. That just one flake every few days will suffice. You might be able to convince him to switch to timothy a good grass hay. Better show him how much a flake is.
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post #3 of 3 Old 03-06-2012, 08:38 PM
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If you have tried to nicely explain to him already maybe you can consult with the vet and have the vet tell him? This way it comes from someone of authority and the pressure is relieved from you.
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