Why should you have llamas when you have a herd of alpacas? Some people say the llamas will protect the alpacas from predators. Maybe. Our llamas are nanny llamas, and they look after the babies!
Llama duties aside from Watching the Babies
Right now the female alpacas are starting to round out with their unborn crias (baby alpacas) still another six weeks away from term. With no little ones to watch, the llamas’ role is to lead the herd as they graze. They move out in front of the pack, scouting and watching and nibbling the best blades of grass. At times they saunter to the tops of dirt mounds for a better view, maybe check out where the males are, then flick their tails to flirt. Climbing down, they move off to chew a branch, the alpaca girls at a distance but still in tow.
Watching after the Crias
Once the babies arrive, their roles change. As soon as a cria is born, the llamas will surround the new mom and babe. That’s a great sign for us, and we check out the little one from a distance, watching for those wobbly legs to hold up the wee one as it reaches for its first drink from mom. Why do the llamas really do this is a mystery. Certainly the other alpacas don’t seem to care unless they think the new baby is theirs!
Once the crias are old enough to gain some independence, the babes are watched by one or more llamas. This is another mystery, at least to some of us humans. The mums leave off their young to play under the guidance of the tall gentle llama nannies. It appears they’ve worked out an arrangement.
Our Special Nanny – Derp
All of our llamas were given to us as rescue animals. Most are a bit homely, and certainly unique in looks. One of our favorites in Miss Marple, or more commonly called Derp. It suits her odd appearance, which on close examination is the result of permanent channels in her muzzle etched in the form of a halter. Poor old gal. Gotta love those banana ears, though. She’s not much to look at, but her heart is made of gold when it comes to taking care of the babies.
We appreciate Derp and her llama friends!