Getting them to safety

Move slowly

A policeman guiding a loose llama by having his arms out stretched and moving slowly.

 When Rescuing a Llama - SLOW is the KEY and a lot of  patience you must win their trust

  • If possible bring another llama to the area and most  likely the loose llama will follow  
  • Get the llamas attention by speaking softly and if  available using a bucket of feed  
  • Walk up to the llama with your hands behind your back letting the llama smell you to see that you are not going to hurt it - avoid eye to eye contact at first.  
  • When you try to move it to a new area, reach your hands out to the side to make you seem bigger.
  • MOVE SLOWLY - acting as if "oh!  I'm not really trying to catch you" 
  •  If you sense that the animal is about to bolt, take 2 steps back and stop until the situation calms down.'    

Herding

Photo of two people with arms stretched out herding 4 alpacas.

 You can use herding polls (long sticks) or persons holding hands to guide them in the direction you want them to go. If you don't have enough people, just walk quietly behind with your arms out.

 

It is important to go slow and not get to close. Let them stop and look around before asking them to move on. It takes extra time but once they turn and run past you they have learned that they don't have to respond to your actions.


If that happens it will be much harder to get them where you want to go.  Once they start serious running it can take several hours for them to settle down. 

A safe place

Alpacas in a safe enclose.

 MOVE SLOWLY and herd the llama to a small area (catch Pen - or corner). 


Quietly move toward the llama, if you have a rope you can lay it across the shoulders, DON'T HURRY, take your time, Slowly move the rope to the top part of the neck for leading. DO NOT make the rope tight or the llama will fight you.  Have someone walk quietly behind the llama to encourage it to go with you.    


Once you capture the llama, take the llama to a small area -  stall, corral or fenced in area. If it is hot provide cool water, shade and a fan. Llamas die from HEAT STRESS. Provide clean hay. They may need to be shorn if they have a lot of fiber. 

Shearing

Heavy wool llama being shorn with hand shears.

Most neglected llamas have not been shorn. If it is hot or humid you will need to get some of the wool off. 

You can shear a llama using household scissors. The job will be much easier if you get the kind that has a spring to open them back up with each cut. One brand is Fisker's and it is available at Joanne's Fabrics and most Walmarts.   


You only need to shear the  back and sides of the belly (barrel) as well as around the armpits. This helps them to stay cool and avoid heat stress..


Once shorn, you can use a hose to run water on the areas with little wool.

Harmful things

Alpaca that has gotten a bucket  caught on his neck.

 

  • Things that can harm the llama in his new area: 
  • Net hay bags ( the ones with holes) - they can hang themselves 
  • Leaving halters on- they can snag on things  
  • Being tied - they can break their necks easily 
  • Bars or anything they can stick their heads  through 
  • Poor fitting halter - can cut off air circulation 
  • Extension cords - can get wrapped around their necks or legs 
  • Feed that is in pellet form can cause the llama to  choke 
  • Feed or hay that has molded 

Heat Stress

Llama siting in a kids wading pool in order to stay cool.

The most frequent Signs of Stress: 

Stress causes ulcers and can  kill

  • Humming 
  • Open-mouthed breathing 
  • Pacing back and forth 
  • Ears laid back 
  • Tail wagging 
  • Not eating or drinking 
  • In hot weather, give them a place too get cool. They love sitting in a wading pool full of cool water.


Fencing

Two alpacas sticking their heads through a wire fence.

Beware of fences that have openings  that an animal can get their head  through. In this photo the alpacas have not been harmed but if they had a halter on, it could get caught  in the fencing. Leaving halters on often leads to deadly consequences.

Offering grain

Llama being enticed to follow an officer offering food.

Frequently, tame llamas will get out of their enclosure. In most cases they will go back in on their own. However, if they are on a road or a place where they could be in danger, they need to be enticed  back home. This can be done by offering them grain such as a horse would eat. (Oats, corn or sweet feed)


Because they are naturally curious, they  often want to explore an area before they are willing to return home. Trying to catch them immediately after they have gotten out will be very difficult. If possible, give them about a half hour to explore. After that it will be much easier to get them to go home.


Herding through a gate

Alpacas being encouraged to return to their home.

These alpacas are being encouraged to go through a gate that will get them off the road. Notice the girl with the out stretched arms & the other people standing back so that the alpacas will move as a group.


If a person is standing too close to where you want the alpacas to go, they will try and turn away. Be sure helpers understand that the animals must be given a lot of room. Tame llamas need  at least 8 to 10 feet of personal space to be comfortable. Wild ones will need more.


It is almost impossible to  move one animal at a time. They are herd animals and will move as one unit.  You will be time ahead if you let the animals regroup if they have scattered.


Using a rope

People  trying to move a llama that is running away. A man has a rope & is trying to lasso it.

Ropes can be used to make a barrier and to hold a llama once caught. It is never a good idea to lasso one as it could break their neck. Throwing a rope at a llama will only make it afraid of you and  it will try harder to get away.

LLamas that sit down

Man working with a llama that is sitting down.

Llamas frequently sit down when they give up and feel defeated. This can make it easier to catch or get a halter on them. Beware that they may abruptly jump up and knock you down in the process.

Not a good idea

Man leading a lama from the back of a truck.

While this appears to be working, there is a lot of potential danger here.  Note that the llama has  a rope around it's rump. I'm sure this was placed there to get the llama to move forward. There is a good chance that the llama could panic and get the rope tangled around his legs and break them. He could also jerk back and pull the policeman off the truck. It is possible to lead a tame llama from a vehicle but it is best to do it with just a lead rope. Under no circumstances should the lead be hard tied to the  truck.

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