Wednesday, December 2, 2009

One way to a llama's heart

I may have mentioned that the three rescue llamas I took in three weeks ago, Kai, Dolly and Toni, are a bit, er, standoffish. I've spent more time than I care to admit watching them stalk away:

Both Chester and I have been a bit surprised by the lack of warmth and friendliness these three have shown us. It's hard warming up to animals that flinch and run away when you come near:

Nevertheless, I am an optimist who, like Chester, tries to make friends with EVERYONE (while not always the best of ideas, this is a story for another time). Separately, he and I both seem to have decided that we are in this for the long haul and, despite their reticence, continue to try to befriend these pretty ladies every day:

So, imagine my surprised delight yesterday morning when I offered Kai, the most reserved of the three llamas, the opportunity to snuffle a bit of grain from my hand...and she TOOK it:

And Toni, who has been particularly nasty of late, pressed her way in for a taste, too:

Who can resist a face like this?!:

Not me. Here. Have some more grain:

Mama Dolly decided she needed to get in on the love, too:

This is an excellent start, I think. It's a relief to me to know that there is *something* that I can do that will bring them closer to me once they've been let out of their stall for the day. We'll work on this.

Now with Chester....

...this is the way to his heart:


  1. Yay! For Kai eating out of your hand!!! And Toni AND Dolly! This is fantastic news. You and Chester will totally win them over...I Just know it. I mean, who could possibly not want to be friends with the 2 of you?

  2. I just got caught up on your recent blogs. The one with Chester approaching the llamas and then opening the gate was priceless! You are so great at capturing the moment! The photo of Chester's face in the most recent blog is gorgeous. I know you must be so happy to have a donkey of your very own at last. Merry Christmas time too!

  3. That next to the last picture of Chester looking right at the camera is frame-able. Amazing.

  4. I'll bet clicker training would work with those little buggers. Make them earn their treats.

  5. I'm glad you're making progress. Nothing like food to break down those barriers.

  6. Hmmmmm . . . methinks I'd rather feed grain to the llamas than scratch Chester's rump . . . I'm just sayin' . . . I leave that to you and Marcie!

  7. Who doesn't love a little scratch on the behind? You scratch his and he'll...well I guess Chester can't really scratch you back with hooves.


  8. Who doesn't love a good butt scratch!! Before you know it the girls will be pushing their butts up to you too Danni!

  9. Oh, you know, the Camelid Companion book says it can take up to a year for llamas (or alpacas) to get accustomed to people and trust them. I think that's true because ours have certainly changed over time and become more comfortable and trusting, some more than others. I really do think that time will make a huge difference with yours also. Even for Chester!

  10. Just gotta love that Chester! He can nibble grain out of my hand any old day.

  11. I'm glad they are warming up, even if it's just a little. They will love you soon enough! Funny Chester!

  12. Peanuts. They are the miracle workers of the ages if you ask me.

  13. Donkey butt! Donkey butt! They sure do love their butts scratched.

    That is wonderful that the llama girls are starting to come around. Just takes time and lots and lots of patience, but in the end the reward is amazing.

    Love the close up pics.

    How's the wreath coming along?

  14. Look at that cute little donkey butt! Chester looks like a such a sweetheart. I'm sure those llamas will be following the two of you everywhere in no time!

  15. Chester just has my heart. Can he come for a sleepover?
    The girls, not so much.
    I am glad, however, that they are beginning to realize that you are the best thing that'll ever happen to them.

  16. That little Chester does have the cutest face..and butt..haha
    When Lori and I first met I didn't like her either,and look how BFF we are now.. just give it some time..and more grain..
    my word corkbur..funny

  17. So I want to hear the story you are going to tell another day about making friends and all, and it not being such a good idea all the time,, and do you want your MOTHER to know about that????

  18. I have every confidence in you Danni! Those girls will be snuggling up to you in no time(-: Hmmmmmm....that is one funny place to have a heart! (-:

  19. frugalmom - I know, right? Who could possibly refuse my and Chester's incredible CHARM?! lol

    dog blogger mom - I am incredibly happy and so in love with Chester! My barn feels complete again having the "donkey presence". Now I'm on a quest to find Chet a donkey pal. Then our farm family will be complete. :-)

    hi sarah - He's a handsome boy, isn't he? How's your family enjoying Herb?

    hey 7msn - I've actually been doing some reading on clicker-training. Not really sure how to get started with the llamas, though. They're a bit daunting to me, with the whole 'spit in your face' attitude, you know? lol

    hi christy - I know, right? When people feed me, it totally breaks down all *my* barriers, too. ha ha ha

    hey californiagrammy - You know, I've got a feeling that if you were here and Chet presented his big butt to you as a friendly gesture, you'd totally give it a scratch. I'm just sayin'...

    hi carolyn - Chet snuffles my face and stands really close to show his affection. I'm thinking I much prefer this to a back scratch with his hooves. ha!

    hey eve - Truly, what beats a good butt scratch?! I'm not sure how I'd feel about llama butts pushing up against me, though. lol

    hi claire!! Oooh...thanks for sharing this. Knowledge is power and also helps me to be patient (and not get my feelings hurt every time my advances are rebuffed - lol). I need to look up this book.

    hey dog trot farm - Chester likes peppermints, too. FYI for the future...just sayin'. :-)

    hi nancy m - Baby steps, right? :-)

    howdy marigold - peanuts, huh? I'm not sure...but it may be worth a try.

    hey aj-oaks - the wreath? oh. um. well..... lol

    hi basicliving - Chester *is* a sweetheart but I don't know how "little" that donkey butt is. He has no trouble with his appetite, that's for sure. lol

    hi cee cee - Chet LOVES the walks he and I go on, so I have NO doubt that he would love a sleepover. Especially if it meant going without "the girls". :-)

    diane - you CRACK me up!! Good thing Ms. L. doesn't read my blog or she'd have a few choice words for ya right about now. snort. And your word verification? wow. Good thing your daughter doesn't read my blog either. I think she'd be shocked by her mama's sense of humor. heh :-)

  20. Sounds like progress to me! I don't know anything about camelids, but maybe there is something in their make up, genetics, etc that makes them stand-offish and hard to warm up to. Perhaps it's an ancient survival instinct.

  21. Grain...the great friendmaker.

    heh heh

    I was farmsitting and there was an alpaca that would not come near me. Every other animal would come running for my treats. I was determined! By the end of the week and thanks to animal crack, ie: grain, I had that alpaca eating out of my hand. heh heh

    Good luck with your llamas. Llama spit is disgusting!

  22. Yay! They're all adorable and I already have a crush on Chester.


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