Llamas? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 11-01-2010, 06:54 PM Thread Starter
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I figured this would be better here since it involves my safety working with Lacey and I also figured it might get noticed more here. :)

So, does anyone know anything about "feral" llamas? I've tried researching llamas online but everything seems geared towards "pet" llamas and the llamas I'm having "difficulty" with are no where near pets/trained.

Background on these llamas: it's a pair of females, Marina and Dedre. Dedre is Marina's mother but Marina is dominant. They are completely feral, basically. They haven't been touched by a human in probably at least 5 years. They were raised as livestock guarding llamas and they had a large flock of sheep for a few years until the sheep were sold about 5-8 years ago. since then, they've basically just chilled in their pasture with no real human contact. During the winter they get a few flakes of hay every few days (the pasture is pretty good and big so they don't feed much) but that's about it human-contact-wise.

My issue is that these llamas have taken a real interest in me. Now that they see me every day, they really don't fear me at all anymore. Every time I come into the pasture, they start creeping towards me. On Saturday, Marina even "cantered" over to me and got about ten feet away before I was able to realize what was happening and scare her off by waving my arms in the arm and making scary noises. If I'm with Lacey they basically ignore me, but when I'm by myself they basically come for me. I wouldn't care if I could tell if they were just curious or if they were being aggressive, yknow?

So basically, how can I tell if they're being aggressive and how should I protect myself if they are being aggressive? Alternatively, how would I go about safely befriending them? I'd love for them to like me, I'm just afraid of the damage they could do to me since they are big (in horse terms, probably at least 14.2hh not including necks) and since they are feral.

I try not to make eye contact with them and I basically just ignore them, but they, Marina especially, are just getting so brazen that I don't feel like that will work much longer... Help?


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Rest peacefully, Lacey.
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post #2 of 10 Old 11-02-2010, 01:45 AM
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Here's a website I came across that will probably help you. I don't know a whole lot about llama's myself. Llamaweb: Llama behavior
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post #3 of 10 Old 11-02-2010, 11:50 AM Thread Starter
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That website was helpful! Thanks! I read that they run up to things they're curious about, so maybe Marina is curious about me and wants to be friends... Should I let her do that then? Oh dear. Haha

I'd love some personal experiences... :)

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.
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post #4 of 10 Old 11-02-2010, 04:41 PM
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Red face

That was good info on that site, speaking as a Llama owner.
(I have two Llamas, Gus and Molli.)

Llamas do tend to kind of freak some people out that have not been around them. They have a habit of just getting literally right in your face. They are usually just being curious.
My Llamas will give me a "kiss" on the cheek if I put it out there for them, and they don't mind their necks scratched, but that is pretty much all the affection they want. They do enjoy my company though, just not in the touchy feely way of other animals....

When the one, Marina, comes running on over to you, what is her body language?
Do you feel like she is rushing at you aggressively? Are her ears pinned back, her nose held in an upward position, is she making any vocalizations?
(Gurgling, deep throat-ed)

Or, is she kind of just galloping over with an interested look about her?
Ears up, nose held normal, maybe stretching her neck out towards you?
She might sound like she is humming questioningly?

If they are accustomed to seeing you, they are probably just curious.
They may also be associating you to getting fed, people bring food, they may think you are too...

If you feel they are just being curious I would let them approach you, if you are comfortable with that. I would let them get in your face, sniff your neck and all that. But don't make any moves towards touching them. Just see how that goes for awhile.

If you feel you are all getting comfortable with each other, you might take them in a treat and see if they will eat that from your outstretched hand...
(I love to feel their soft muzzles against my palm!)
I give mine a pelleted feed, Llama Lunch, but they also like a bit of sweet feed if you have some around.
(do not give them alfalfa, they can not handle the protein)
My Gus absolutely LOVES white bread.
They do not have any upper teeth, it is just a "plate", but they do have lowers. I have never been bitten, nor heard of any one who has, I don't really think that is in their nature, other than males fighting each other, but just take care in case...

Hope that helps you out a little.
Let me know how it all develops with you and them!

Thought I'd throw in a couple pics for ya.
Gus, Gus and his "beloved" Emmie, Molli, and out on pasture with our miniatures...
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post #5 of 10 Old 11-02-2010, 09:22 PM Thread Starter
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Spiritedlittlecopperspots- Gus is adorable! He has such a kind face.

When Marina ran towards me her neck was stretched out towards me and she wasn't making any noise (llamas make noise?? O.o ) and she wasn't giving off a scary vibe... So maybe she does want to be friends.
I'm just scared because the property owners told me not to bring my dog with me when I go to see Lacey cuz "the llamas will kick him to death really fast". And if they can kill a dog really fast, I'd assume they could kill me really fast and ahhh!

I'll try letting them come over the next time they seem to want to and maybe we'll make friends which would be neat. They seem sweet, just very foreign, and therefore scary, to me.

Marina is the brown one, Dedre's the white and brown one. See! Marina is even creeping on me in this picture!! Hahahaha (also, is this friendly llama posture? That's basically what Marina looks like as she comes over...)

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.
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post #6 of 10 Old 11-03-2010, 12:23 AM
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She looks like she is curious to me. If you are really worried, then bring a crop or something with you if she does get aggressive, but I don't think you'll have to worry about it.

Proud owner of ~Mana: 6yo Arabian gelding~Pearl 13yo Arabian~Danzer 14yo Arabian mare~ Tiny mini filly
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post #7 of 10 Old 11-03-2010, 01:11 AM
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I used to show alpacas and at the farm where they kept them they had this one male one and omg he was evil. If you went in his paddock he would just chase you and attack you and jump on you! so scary.

Anyway I don't really know about Llamas but she looks to have a friendly/curious expression in that picture. I wouldn't be too worried, just take a stick or something with you incase something gets out of hand.

"If you can't see a thoroughbred has talent, you're probably too dumb to ride one anyway."
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post #8 of 10 Old 11-03-2010, 12:04 PM
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Wallaby, thanks, I think Gus "smiles".
My hubby and I rescued him off some one's back field, they had just abandoned him out there, no water, food or shelter. The skin on top of his nose had a permanent dent, and was statring to grow over the strap of the halter they'd left on him! (now you can only see a faint scar)
He had also been physically abused at some time, and would flinch like crazy if any one even raised an arm up with in feet of him. Of course it was almost impossible to catch him.
It took me awhile to gain his trust, but now we have a much better relationship then I do with Molli, who we raised from an 8 month old.
(My husband jokes and says it's "the look of love", because Gus only "smiles" at me...)

Anyway, it does look like Marina is just being curious from that picture.
But I agree, have something along with you just in case you need to keep some distance between you and them.

I am glad the property owners thought about not taking your dog in with you.
If those Llamas were raised to guard a heard of sheep, they have that instinct now to get rid of any thing they might perceive as a predator, including your dog. A lot of people use them to fend off predators.
My Llamas are just fine with our, and the neighbors dogs, but they certainly are aware that the coyotes are not welcome.
Actually, any new "critter" or person that comes on the property, they make me aware of. They are smart, and know who belongs and who does not.

Well, I got pretty windy again, sorry.
Hope it helps though. Keep us updated!

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post #9 of 10 Old 11-08-2010, 01:03 AM
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I've got two as well - Oscar and Albert :P
Oscar 'kisses' you on the cheek if he knows you, but they're both very territorial and if someone comes into their paddock that they don't know, they get quite fired up. In saying that though, they're both males so it's only natural!
We had a bunch of teenage kids wander onto the property a few years ago, they were throwing rocks and sticks at my horses and 'bouncing' off the fences. Oscar spotted them, ran full pelt towards then and started jumping all over them, kicking, biting and spitting.

It looks from your photo though, that those llamas are just curious about you. If they're not keen on your being there, they're much like horses and will pin their ears and 'gurgle' - the noise they make when they start to 'hock up' spit :P
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post #10 of 10 Old 01-29-2012, 02:20 PM
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I'm new to Horse forum. Thought I'd put my 2 cents in. I take care of a farm that has two Llamas. Both male. Shiloh and Baby. Baby is an angel but I can't say the same for Shiloh. Naturally they are curious and in your face but he is VERY in your face! Honestly I think it all comes down to how well they know you. I think the more you are near them and attempt to interact with them, they will come around. They will accept you in there "herd." To me in the picture you have provided, it really does look like they are just curious. I would totally agree with the other person who suggested bringing a whip or riding crop with you just in case. The more your in there pastures with them the more used to you they will get. The Llamas I handle are in no way wild like you say yours are but thought I'd write anyways. Perfect example for you regarding the difference between how they act with people they know and people they don't......... I have been working with these Llamas for little over a year now and they have adjusted well to my sister and I, we have been accepted by them. We brought our young cousin with us to the barn today to visit and help clean. Now mind you she has never met the Llamas. We warned her that Shiloh is a bit pushy, so from the beginning she was shy and hesitant around him. We clean the barn and do work first then we play. The whole time we are cleaning the Llamas are in there stall out of the way, so our cousin never really interacted with them the whole day. We halter them up and take them out for a walk. My sister is is walking Baby and I usually always handle the more aggressive one's, so I take Shiloh. Our cousin is walking in the middle. These Llama's have been walked on leads all there lives, there used to it. They are always well behaved while walking. We start heading down the road and Shiloh starts walking ahead of me (which they are never allowed to do) and acting out. Starts going in circles. I couldn't believe it, he has never done this before. So I try thinking of reasons for this behavior. It dawns on me that while walking our cousin keeps shying away every time Shiloh tries to sniff her or gets near her. So I asked her to just stand still and accept his curiosity (with us supervising of course, just in case something happened) Lets just say the rest of the walk went as it always does. He was so agitated by this new "thing" walking with us, who was acting "wierd", that he could not focus on something he has done a thousand times. You have to give them time to accept you and give them opportunities to sniff you and get to know you. Of course you do have to be cautious but you have to be alert around any animal you encounter. During my time with the Llamas I care for I have been spat at, kicked, and bitten. Of course all from Shiloh! There kicks don't really hurt. Being bitten definitely does! Yes, they do bite! We still haven't cured this bad habit. Might be something to work on this summer. As far as the spit, I went to try to pull a piece of wire out of his tail once and he spun so fast and spat into my face. My face was covered in green goo! Ewwww! Anyways, hope I helped! I know this thread is kinda old but you can never have too much information! Good luck! :)
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