Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Smooth transitions and fun at the beauty parlor

When Dolly and Toni first arrived, I was very fortunate to have Danni here with me. Not only because I love visiting with her, but to be honest, just her presence made the idea of being solely responsible for these 2 lovely animals, so much easier. Not that I didnt think I could do it. No. I knew I could do it. I had been wanting to do this for a *very* long time. It was more that I knew how much things had just changed for them. Once a group of 3, they were now down to 2 *and* living in a new pasture with new people taking care of them. Now I dont know about you, but to me, thats a lot of changes.

To help with their transition, I decided to leave them stalled for the first few days.

This way they would know where home base was. They could count on being fed in their stall every day. Whether that be just grain or grain and hay...I wanted them to feel comfortable coming in and out of their stall. And not only was it for their security, but it was for my benefit as well. This way, in the event I need to halter them or give them meds or anything like that, I know I can get them in their stall.

One of the many things that is different for them here is that I use pine shavings for bedding in the stalls. As is evident by her fleece being totally covered in shavings, Dolly didnt seem to mind one bit that I didnt have any straw. She still took her naps just fine.

And it didnt seem to affect her eating habits in the very least, either.

She still loves to stick her whole head in.

And go down to the very bottom of the bucket to get all the hay seeds(and bits and pieces) first.

Now, Toni? Shes been taking the whole move in stride. She likes to nap.

And before she naps, she likes to yawn.

One thing they both like to do is scratch their necks on this huge cabinet that was left in the barn . Can you see the tufts of fleece they left behind?

Speaking of fleece....when the girls came to live with me I knew it was very important that they get shorn shortly after they arrived. The temperatures can reach the high 90's and into the 100's here. And for a llama with a full coat of fleece that can be cause for concern.

Heat stress is a pretty common problem for llamas. They can become lethargic, lose their appetite, salivate heavily around their lips, and may even breathe with an open mouth.

Along with shearing, which is probably the most effective means of prevention, you can help prevent heat stress by making sure they have cool water at all times, offering them shady places to relax, and you can also have fans set up in their stalls for them.

I did a great deal of research and made numerous inquiries to find someone to come shear the girls. The normal time for shearing, which is April and May, had passed and I was having a difficult time finding someone.

Luckily, I was able to find a gal named Brandy, who lives in Idaho. She and her mom own an alpaca farm and she was willing to travel here. So, S and I got the girls all haltered up and ready for their haircut.

Dolly went first.

There was a lot of moving around.

And even some kushing.She wasnt all that pleased with the whole ordeal.

And Toni? She just stood back and watched the entire thing.

I think in her mind she was really hoping this was just something that Dolly was having to endure.

But then came her turn and she did fabulously. (sorry for all the dust in the photos...all that moving Dolly did really stirred things up)

She stood very still and just let them shear. It was quite amazing to watch actually.

She even did a great job when Brandy began to touch her legs.

So that she could trim her nails.

And when Toni was all done she made her way over to S to get some comfort. She was so sweet.

All in all, Id say it took about an hour to get them shorn and have Tonis feet trimmed. (Dollys feet looked perfect and werent in need of a trim. That must have been since Danni and I did such a good job on them the weekend prior.) Since we got a late season shear, we decided to go with what is called a barrel cut. This cut shears only their midsection, which happens to be the warmest part of their body. This allows them to be cooler in the summer heat because of what we removed, but it leaves on the rest of their coat allowing them to remain warmer in the winter as well. Which is a great thing because the fear of a late season shear is that they wont have enough time to regrow enough fleece before the cold sets in. Thats what makes the barrel cut such a great compromise.

This is what was left behind in the stall.

And now the girls are all set on shearing for at least another year. And I can rest a little more easily knowing that they wont be getting too warm while basking in the sun. (or shade :-) )


CeeCee said...

I'm so glad you were able to find a 'stylist' this late in the season (who knew there was a season?).

Question--is it just me, or have only their middles been shorn? I guess that's where most of the heat is produced.

frugalmom said...

Cee Cee: No, its not just you. I meant to talk about that in my post...they got whats called a barrel cut. Just around their midsection. We did this cut since it is later in the season. It allows them to be cooler right now since we have shorn the warmest part of their bodies, but still will allow them to be warm enough come winter when its so cold out.

frugalmom said...

Thanks for asking that question, ceecee. I went back in and added that information.

Farmgirl_dk: said...

Ahhhhh, my eyes just feasted on all those fun pics of Dolly and Toni. It's so good to see the girls - I miss them.
Phew - thank goodness that whole shearing thing is behind us, huh? You did good, Marc. The llama ladies look like they'll be much more comfortable in your desert heat. Brandy sounds like a "keeper", I like her style. :-)

Brenda said...

They look beautiful! It's been fun watching and reading about these girls on your blog and on Danni's blog. You have a wonderful friendship.

polly's path said...

they look so cute with their new do's. I adore the look of an animal who has just been groomed/shorn.
Are you not using/saving the wool?

basicliving@backtobasicliving.com said...

Does it take special training to sheer llamas, or could someone who knows how to use sheers (like maybe to sheer sheep or something) do it? But then maybe the whole hoof trimming is part of the visit too, and I'm sure someone would need to know how to do that before attempting it. I just can not imagine there are many llama sheerers (is that a word) in the country - are there? Just wondering.

Your girls sure look pretty with their new do.

linda m said...

They look so cute now!

J.J. said...

Marcee do you ever just sit there and pinch yourself? I look back at what has happened to you in just a years time and I can't believe it. A year ago you didn't know what the heck was going to happen in your life and now you are living your life's dream. You are so blessed and I am so happy for you.

hippiejo said...

Awesome!! They still behave better than my dogs getting a bath and nail clipped... :) And they are beautiful!

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

You're very lucky to have two such sweet girls!