Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Our first cria (baby llama)

Cusco, just moments old on 15th August 2008, and such a surprise.

Why a surprise, well we bought our girls (Inca and Lima) in July 2005 – a pair of Roseland girls bought from an owner who was moving and no longer had the space for them. They were a bit unruly, and although halter trained originally by Roseland had been left to run a bit wild and were not happy to be handled. They were good looking though and we (that is Vicki and I (Kevin)) decided that we wanted them, mainly as grass eaters on our 4 acre plot, and also because the regulations were not as onerous as say, for pigs, goats or sheep.

They came with halters on, but it took us a while to get them off, and they didn’t like it, but they got to like us, and as we did not want to walk them, we were quite happy for them not to be caught again (a big mistake as we have subsequently learned, but more about that later).

Our 4 acre plot is not a single field, and is divided in to about 5 areas. Room for chickens, room for a large vegetable plot, room for a small orchard, room for a little woodland area, room for a shrubbery area, room for an overgrown area, room for a couple of lawns, and room for 3 or 4 llamas. I know that is more than five, but I’m a creative accountant. The room for the llamas would be 3 * ¾ acre paddocks, so plenty of rotation (especially as I really do have a problem with dock leaves), and the llamas enjoyed the variety (some browsing in two of them, and grazing only in one).

We bought the two girls as possibly pregnant, and were disappointed when neither produced that first summer, but he! ho! That’s life – made the initial investment quite expensive.

So, 2006 we needed to find a stud!

We had not heard of the British Llama Society or equivalent, and so with some local networking (based in North Devon, I stumbled across a very nice, albeit slightly eccentric lady) we found a young male in Sussex. We were lent a horsebox by the owner, and off we went.

George came back with us in September 2006, a young male, about 2 years old.

Now George’s grandsire was called Harry, and his sire was called Harry’s son, so what better name to give him than George, Harry’s son. Come along, catch up, it’s a Beatles thing!

George was a wild boy, never having had any training, and just left to run with the herd, he took a bit of catching, but he came back to North Devon safely, and although the girls didn’t want to know him to start with, he soon settled in, and had his wicked way.

This was in September 2006!

So, by the end of July 2008 we had assumed that the girls were either barren or George was firing blanks.

We went to the North Devon Show on the 6th August, and tried to see the Llamalland people, but they were enjoying the show, and not manning the stand, which was just as well for us, because nine days later Cusco arrived.

He looks a bit like a pipe cleaner, but mum Lima looks so proud.