Sunday, 24 May 2009

Today we cleaned out the goats...

... this is one of the main reasons we went for llamas. Llamas are so easy to look after, just put them in a field and let them get on with it! Unlike goats that require all sorts of looking after!

Of course it's not quite as simple as that.

Llamas are quiet, gentle creatures, and readily adapt to most new surroundings, they can be housed, or left to fend for themselves in an open field, they do appreciate a shelter, somewhere they can get out of the worst of the British weather, but will happily just sleep in an open field; seeing their backs covered in a frost is actually quite amusing, and they don't even know it's there!

Cleaning out the goats took two of us about 3 hours today, as well as a general clean out the whole yard area had a spring clean. The climbing apparatus was taken down, cleaned out, and re-erected, their overnight accommodation emptied of soiled straw (some 8 wheelbarrows of the stuff) and filled up with clean straw.

Did you know that llamas poo in the same place in their field! They produce tidy heaps of small pellets that are easily collected, unlike horses (and goats, cows, pigs etc...) that just poop everywhere!

Llamas don't have hooved feet; cows, goats, sheep, horses all of hooved feet which need attention on a regular basis, llamas have soft padded feet, with toes and toenails. In the unlikely event that a llama needs its toenails trimmed, it is an annual affair, but more often than not, they don't need trimming.

Llamas originate from a very harsh environment, and are very resistant to some of the more traditional diseases like foot-rot, flies (flystrike) and bloat.

Llamas will live well with other livestock, and can be very useful in protecting lambs and other vulnerable animals, and can be easily treated for worms at the same time as their companions.

They eat grass, hay and particularly enjoy eating the hedges that surround the fields, you'll never need to cut that hedge again! In winter a supplemental feed is offered, and taken, just to keep a few natural vitamens that are scarce at that time of year to the right levels.

DEFRA (or whatever they are called nowadays) doesn't need to be notified every time you take one for a walk, whereas sheep, goats, cows, pigs etc... all require a huge amount of form filling.

So, you've guessed it, we got llamas because they required a lot less work than your average farm animal, they ate the grass in my paddocks, they kept some of my hedges under control, they were supposed to protect my chickens from the fox (that's another story), and the form filling was not onerous.

Apologies for the delay between this and the last post, must try harder said the teacher! I will, I promise! Next, how to go about buying a llama, and what to check out for, learn by our mistakes!