The Right Angle on Llamas
By: Dr. Kimberly Vonnahme
For those of you who are frequent followers of Harvest Hope Farm, you may have seen that we now have llamas! Their names are Caspian and Nokomis. These adorable creatures are not just for our fun Llama Llama Camp held in the summer for our youngest of friends, but they are also have a job at the Farm. Llamas are guard animals! Sheep producers in North America have used llamas to protect their flocks of sheep from predators like coyotes. We can hear coyotes yelp some evenings out on the farm. What a relief it is to know our sheep will be safe. Many sheep producers have experienced that there is a special bond between llamas and newborn lambs. This spring when our lambs arrive, we will see if our llamas favor the babies over the mamas. Maybe after the lambs are born Caspian and Nokomis will be “No Mama” llamas?
While llamas are often used for protecting sheep, they have other purposes, too. In many cultures, llamas can be used as a meat or pack animal. They can carry about 25% of their body weight for 5 to 8 miles! So, when you need the llamas to carry your picnic lunch, it will be no prob-llama for these creatures! Llamas are in the same family as camels—just as cute, but without the hump!
Llamas have been part of many stories—and many of us are probably familiar with the “Llama Llama” children books. But stories with llamas date back to the time of the Inca people. One story tells about how llamas were able to talk. The good people that worked hard on the mountain were told by the llamas that the Inca gods were not happy with the people that were lazy and not caring for others. They helped the good people reach the high ground before a big flood came. The llamas were helping people in these ancient tales and they continue to help people today!
Llamas are social animals and love to be near other animals and people. Their wool is very soft, but unlike sheep wool, llama’s wool is lanolin-free. Hanging out with a llama can be very relaxing. If you are looking for something different to do, come hang out with the llamas at Harvest Hope! In fact, you can walk the llamas down Llama Lane—and go ahead and whisper your secrets in their ears: our llamas don’t talk.
By the way, did you know that there is a National Llama Day? December 9th is the day dedicated to these fuzzy creatures! They are snuggly warm, so if you want to venture out with Caspian and Nokomis, book a time and bring a friend.
As our days continue to get shorter, our hope at Harvest Hope Farm grows. Look for continued opportunities to enrich your body, mind, and soul, as well as ways to support unknown friends in our community!