Louie the (late) Watch Llama
We’ve told you about life on Rivendell farm before – we mostly raise sheep, but we have chickens, four work horses, a few dairy goats, and a few steers.
But we haven’t told you much about the newest member of the family — Louie the Watch Llama.
You see, in past years, we’ve had problems with coyotes (and sometimes dogs) attacking the sheep. We used to keep the steers in the pasture with the sheep, but there were still problems.
Then we got Louie, from a neighboring farm. Louie’s a friendly, even-tempered llama, unless you’re a coyote. We think he knows his job is to watch over his flock. Since we got Louie, the sheep aren’t bothered by the coyotes. But maybe he’s doing his job too well.
Lambing season just ended. In the past, the coyotes would take care of the afterbirth. Not so much, now that Louie’s on the job. At least we still have the turkey vultures around.
A few weeks ago, Louie had the ultimate chance to bond with the sheep. He had to be sheared. That heavy winter coat just wouldn’t do as the weather here gets warmer. He didn’t seem to mind too much.
When we started farming, over 30 years ago, we never envisioned taking care of a llama. We’ve missed a lot over all these years.
On a sad note:
Two weeks ago Louie was okay on Sunday, when we moved the sheep to a new pasture. He was last through the gate though, and I thought maybe he had a sore foot. His gait seemed a little off, but nothing that anyone else would have noticed.
Then Monday morning we went out and he was down, unable to get up. It was definitely something neurological. We called around to find a vet because not many vets know anything about llamas.
The vet said it was probably one of 3 things; thiamine deficiency, listeriosis, or meningeal worm. We treated for all 3 but it was most probably meningeal worm. Sheep do get it but it is a more common in llamas. It is a parasite that attacks the spinal column or brain. Deer are the carriers.
Louie lasted for a week but never got up again. Add the recent 100 plus temps and there was a lot of stress for him. We will miss him as he had a great temperament and liked people. We may get another llama but with the drought we don’t feel we can add any more mouths to feed now. We are feeding our winter hay now so we don’t know if we will have to sell some sheep later on.