Tuesday, 3 June 2008

First catch your llama

So, yesterday the vet rang and said "your Bluetongue vaccine is ready for collection. Bring a cool box. That'll be £56.04 for sixty doses. Oh, and you'll have to sign a disclaimer for the llama - it isn't really covered by the regs. And once you've opened the vial you have to use the lot within 8 hours."
The llama hasn't been handled for three years. Yes, he feeds from a bowl in my hand during the winter when he gets his goat mix to supplement the greenery he gnaws on (hedges, bushes, trees, hay, grass), but he keeps a wary eye and won't let me stroke him, even after the best part of a decade. He's shy. Luckily he is a self sufficient animal and doesn't have a worm problem or other ailments, so he isn't handled; it would only disturb him. But now I have no choice, and the afternoon is spent arranging gates in as unobtrusive a set-up as possible, so that he can be enticed in to the field shelter and banged to rights. As in earlier times, I intend to lasso him in a corner. He will resist for a moment or two, then kush; sit down and let you do what is needed.
So, today having vaccinated all the sheep and administered a prick of the syringe into my own finger for good measure, there were efforts to get the llama into the shelter. He nibbles from the bucket but as the field is brimful with grasses, he won't go in. Time for a regroup and a rethink. A hoard of neighbours arrive to use the barn to sort fat lambs for market. Six of us take a long rope into the field and slowly corner the llama so he has no choice but to go into the shelter. Gates are shut, three of us go in. I hand over the syringe so I can concentrate on putting a lead rope round his shoulders, but he stands quietly, and before I blink one of the group has injected the 1ml of pink juice with a sharp new needle, and we are done. The llama doesn't even notice.

7 comments:

Jay said...

And that could have gone so differently! Well done! Yes, I know, I've been reading too many James Herriott books!

Lindsay said...

Well done on the llama lassooing. Lovely creatures but I think I would prefer an alpaca. My brother lives in Australia and has about 30 of the beasts in an area of land that used to grow Christmas trees. Husband plays tennis on a court situated on a farm and a couple of alpacas applaud when an occasional good shot is played by one of the Wrinkly Set.

paula said...

hoorah, hoorah - brilliant news mopsa and a wonderful description of lama herding - I can positively feel the adrenalin build up that went phut (sighs of relief)! I’m so pleased…

Eurodog said...

Do you ever put your feet up?

Winchester whisperer said...

Have there been any cases of blue tongued llamas?

Mopsa said...

Jay - it's great having experts around you.

Lindsay - alpacas are weird long necked sheep with bonnets, whilst a llama is halfway to being a camel! What's not to like?

Paula - hoorah indeed; it was a one-shot thing.

Eurowoof - of course! I can doze for England. I have a very lazy streak.

Lehners in France said...

Well done you guys, I bet you were relieved. I always had my horse in livery in the YUK and the lady always told me my horse was a nightmare to worm. I dreaded it. No problems, down like a treat. I would love to have Llamas or Apacas, although alpacas always look a bit "thick and buck toothed." Maybe one day. Debs x