Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Would you head-butt a llama?


Having animals of different sizes on the farm can be an interesting balancing act. You always have to keep in the back of your mind who can be together with whom and who needs to be protected from whom. Will the new guy get along with so-and-so or is there a potential for harm?

Pete and Reggie, my dwarf goat boys, are small in size but very big in attitude:

There is no doubt in their minds that they are the priority on this farm and that everyone else is here solely for their entertainment:

In the last few months, since the llamas and donkeys arrived, I've put a good deal of effort into keeping the goats out of the llama/donkey pastures. I'm smart enough to know not to trust the donkeys, but the decision is still out on the llamas and whether they will be friend or foe to the goat boys.

I have noticed, however, a certain intensity in Kai the llama's eyes when she's looking at the goats. It's more than a little unnerving to me:

When all the other "big animals" are off eating and doing donkey and llama things, there Kai will be...watching...

...with a very focused stare:

I've watched her closely, these last few months, wondering whether her intensity is based in curiosity or aggression:

Pete and Reggie, of course, are oblivious to any potential danger:

They think everybody loves them:

....and wants to share their food with them.

They consider a closed door (or gate) nothing more than a momentary inconvenience:

...and rarely think twice before jumping over (or squeezing through) a gate or fence:

regardless of who might already be occupying that space:

So, I've been more than a little nervous for that first face-to-face-with-no-fence-in-between introduction between the llamas and the goats. I knew the day would come when it would happen and I tried to be prepared for it - and ready to jump in to rescue anyone who needed it.

On the day it happened, the goats were following me around the property as I was doing chores. We headed down to the chicken coop. The donkeys were somewhere in another pasture and the llamas were in the pasture we were going into, but quite a ways down the hill.

Funny how quickly those big animals can move when they want to:

And here's how their first barrier-free meeting worked out:

I have to say, watching Kai, she's remains eerily focused on my goat boys, but I don't sense any aggression from her. She is just extremely curious, intent on just staying close, watching and sniffing. Is this a "guard llama" trait? I've never seen anything like it.

(Did you see the temporary fence? Here's a perfect example of one of its limitations: my little orange-twine fence, put up to keep the big animals out, doesn't keep the little animals in.)

27 comments:

  1. I think that is excellent guard llama behavior. She is deciding friend or foe.
    The boys look very healthy!

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  2. I think you're smart to keep an eye on everyone, however, it does look like Kai is just incredibly curious by those intriguing creatures. She seems more intent on getting a good sniff of them more than anything else. They're a couple of rascals, those two...my goodness.

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  3. How fun to watch Kai meet Reggie head on, however he seems to be quite gentle and just wants to be his friend. But it's quite entertaining watching Reggie make himself big and tall and try to head-butt Kai, who just seems to be amused by it all.

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  4. Your goat boys are sure cute.

    I wonder if she thought maybe they were baby llamas and that was why she was interested? Anyway- they seem to get along fine.

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  5. Is it possible she thinks they are crias?

    Or they remind her oddly of crias?

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  6. Lots of people in this area have llamas with their goats, for protection from predators. I doubt the donkeys would hurt them either, except for accidentally during play. But ALWAYS better to be safe than sorry.

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  7. I think Kai is being very nice about the whole thing. I wouldn't worry about the Llamas doing any harm. But, if the goats were big ones like mine then I would worry about the goats getting too carried away and really annoying the Llamas.
    I don't think you have to worry too much, with the little ones, but it's not a bad idea to keep an eye on things.

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  8. Those silly goats. But wait . . you cut the video off just when Chester was wandering up to get in on the action (grin).

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  9. Well, I've never met a llama, but it looks to me like there is no fear from either party. I bet she wants to protect him. How nice to have someone large to stomp those coyotes!

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  10. In my experience never second guess a llmama, always remain cautious. Love those little guys, Pete and Reggie. How is Roxy adapting to her ever expanding family?

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  11. Has Kai ever had any crias of her own? Perhaps these little goats remind her of her past (or future?) offspring. And speaking of which, if there's any critter cuter than a baby llama, I'm sure I've never met it.

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  12. Llamas are the most curious creatures ever! Mine follows me around just to see what I'm doing and if there's anything in it for him. He loves new things and creatures. Kai was probably just very interested in the creature that wasn't like her! So cute!

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  13. I think Kai would have made any displeasure she had with the goat boys, very very clear. Isn't she the queen of spitting?
    Just like you, I'd be scared. The goat boys are indeed, the most precious of the farm animals. :)

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  14. Our goat, PeeWee thinks he is the man of the farm and always has to be right where the action is. He even goes over and visits our neighbors if I don't keep a close eye on him. He thinks he is a dog and will follow our dogs where ever they go.

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  15. Love the video. Reggie is so cute with the head-butting, and Pete saw the opportunity to run right in there when Kai was distracted. I love the interaction.

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  16. How cute is that? She's really interested in them.

    I love the picture of Reggie on the wheelbarrow.

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  17. That made me chuckle first thing this morning! Reggie is so cute. I just love how his little tiny self stands up and tries to head butt something as large as Kai! That was just adorable. Kai does seem extremely interested in Reggie. She looked really happy to finally get to sniff all over him. I think they could be great friends!

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  18. it looks to me like kai might just be acting like a goat mama!!!!

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  19. I think it could be love!! Maybe Kai thinks they are baby llama's that popped out of nowhere! And I think that we have seen the the boys are pretty quick on their feet when needed!
    I also think it is a riot!! Thanks for sharing that first moment with us Danni!!!

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  20. Your goat boys are just absolutely adorable, what a pair. lol I bet there is never a dull moment around your place. I still can't get over how gorgeous the llamas eyes are, people would kill for those eyelashes. lol. I am always fascinated by the beauty of animal eyes.
    Great job with your pictures and videos, love visiting your blog.... oh btw wanted to ask you before.... how come your german is so perfect?

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  21. Cute! Looks like it's the little ones who might push their way into trouble.

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  22. Hi Kai! She *is* watchful of those cute little goat boys. I think shes looking at them and asking herself, I wonder if Ill get to play with those critters....I bet she would keep them safe....Always good to have a second pair of eyes on the farm, right?
    And Reggie...he was probably like, hey Pete. Watch this....you see me head butting this big thing?? Huh? Do ya?
    What I wanna know tho is what happened after you stopped rolling the film.....when Pete dashed in and got Kais attn? I saw her begin to run towards him and you were beginning to say...oookay...thats enough of that....

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  23. Fluffy our pygmy goat head butts the camel all the time...Gizmo just looks at him like "Whatever"! Enjoy our heavenly weather, Kim

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  24. Our goats and llamas mix very well. All our goats are pygmy or Nigerian dwarf and the llamas sniff them and guard them. We have introduced new llamas to them with no problems. Kai looks like she is exhibiting normal llama curiosity. Our Hazel (llama) will occasionally spit at the goats if she thinks she isn't getting her share of the grain, so we grain them separately in two buckets, but they are always together. Our gelded male llama, Cesar, is very intent on guarding "his" sheep and gets visibly agitated when we go trim sheep hooves or deworm because he worries about "his" flock members. I would not be worried at all about Kai and the goats.

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  25. Those goat boys of yours are something else! What a good girl she is putting up with such silliness. :) Isn't is amazing how much the critters keep us on our toes! Gotta love 'em all.

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  26. Some people just swear by Llamas as guards to their goats... and Donkeys too...

    Yours didnt seem aggressive toward your goats I dont think :O)...just very curious but in a non threatening way ...

    You have a nice barn. :O)

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