I received some questions from people in my last blog post asking how Kai llama is doing without Dolly and Toni.
Well, after a week of careful observation, I am happy to report that she is doing wonderfully. Even I have been amazed at the seemingly painless transition (knock on wood, throw salt over my shoulder, and jump three times on my right foot).
As I am with all my animals and the decisions concerning their care, I
The lady who originally rescued Kai, Dolly and Toni mentioned to me last November that Kai had the characteristics of an excellent livestock guardian. I didn't really understand what those characteristics were at the time, but I certainly do now.
A few months after the three llama ladies' arrival here, Kai began to differentiate herself from the other two llamas. She was consistently more standoffish and independent than the other two, frequently distancing herself, even from her llama family, to "do her own thing". She was extremely alert to what was going on around the property, frequently running off to investigate a new noise or visitor:
And then there were the goats.
From the first time Kai met Pete and Reggie through a green farm gate, she loved to be close to them:
It delighted me the first time I watched her protectively follow them around the pasture:
To this day, if the goats stop for long enough, she'll just stand there and sniff them, inhaling deeply (they do smell really good):
What I never anticipated was how much her interest in the goats could help me, too. The 7-strand New Zealand electric fence that protects our property, and separates our three pastures, is meant for large animals. It provides zero protection or security for the smaller animals (goats) that can (and do) slip under and through it on a whim. With Pete and Reggie, this happens at the drop of a hat if they want to follow me or something else suddenly catches their attention. This means that, since I've had them, if the goats were to be in the pasture, I needed to be right there with them. Tethering is not a safe option and the expense of changing the fencing was too great. Enter Kai the llama.
With her in the pasture with them, they stay put. The best part is, I think they're pretty taken with her, too:
Today, Kai knows that when I walk down the hill with Pete and Reggie and open the gate to the middle pasture, this is her cue to come and protect "her" goats:
And this she does with seemingly little effort:
Pete and Reggie take it all in stride:
I'd like to believe that she is a happier llama because she knows she has an important job to do:
It's funny, but even with a post this long, I still feel like I've still only partially answered the question of how Kai is doing. There's a bit more to be said.
Tomorrow, I'll tell you how things are going between Kai and the donkey boys, Chester and Beau. And with me, too.