Sometimes my job is so hard! All the folks who think they'd love this job probably picture all the cuteness I'm exposed to. They are right! From wee ones to grown ups, they have personalities and faces you just cannot help but adore! Llama's are just one of the employee benefits here at Stoney Mountain Farm!
|Lucy, our guard llama|
|See the tree line to the right? Way over there is where the new fence will be! Our house is off to the left|
Our farm is shaped like a rectangle. We occupy and have fenced one half of the length of the rectangle. We have a whole other half to go! My husband jokes he'll be fencing the rest of his life. He does build a pretty fence though.
Regardless of how 'purdy' our fence is we're about to extend to areas of the farm not visible to the house and separated from primary areas of activity. That makes me mighty nervous.
What makes me nervous you might ask? As sheep farmers, our big concern is predators. The number one predator of sheep is the domestic dog. Sad, right? My husbands father's sheep business was wiped out by roaming dogs in the '60's. Some say it is the very reason sheep farms have declined. Besides that, coyotes are said to be everywhere. We haven't seen or heard them yet but others swear they have. The call of a coyote is said to be so shrill and specific. I've spent many an evening outside listening for them and haven't heard anything. Mind you I'm not a coyote expert, in fact I can't say that I've ever heard one. They say there is no howl like it so you will know when you hear it. Whether our threat is real or perceived the risk is such that guard animals become necessary.
Guard animals are widely discussed in any predator prone livestock farming. Not so much with cattle folks cause cattle are large enough they don't have many predators. For us raising sheep we have to consider our farm perimeter as our number one defense. That 'purdy' fence turns in to an impenetrable fortress, we hope. We spend a lot of money getting the right fence and feed husband well so we get the fence right! After all the fencing, predators can still be a worry so guard animals act as our second line of defense. Folks use dogs, donkeys, and llamas. We've chosen llamas for our pastures. Our dogs watch over the exterior fence lines but on their own schedules, rarely after the sun goes down.
| Our Woven wire fence. 3" spacing from the bottom, graduated to 5" spacing |
I'm posting today to share one of my many "irresistible" moments on the farm. Opening more pastures creates a need for more llamas. Hence,we went llama shopping!
Your right to ask, where do you shop for llamas? Llama farmers are not in the business to support those of us looking for guard llamas. Llamas can be quite beautiful and therefore demand a lot of money. Our needs do not require decedents of llama royalty. We have met many a lady and lord llama along our journey. No, we'll happily take an outcast or a family disappointment. All we ask is they watch over our flock and scare off any unwanted trouble makers.
As I said in the beginning, no matter the price tag attached, every single one has personality. They have a job here on the farm but they also become part of the family! The search continues. My difficult job will soon result in more on farm llama cuteness. I don't get paid much but the rewards are incredible!