Part of caring for and sharing your life with animals involves some rather, well, distasteful chores..other than the obvious scooping of the poop(we’ve already talked about that,haven’t we) We must also, trim the llamas nails. Yup, nails; they don’t have hoofs, camelids ( llamas, alpacas,vicunas, camels) have two toes and soft pads ~ as you’ll see in the photos to follow. My husband is quite expeditious in completing this chore…3 snips per foot; once across each side, then one last clip across the top of the nail. Voila llama pedicure; do you think the girl llamas would look cute with pink polish? Me too! Though, I don’t think they would enjoy that much.
On our farm we shear once (at least) each year. We try to give them a good shampooing the day before, the fiber is cleaner for harvesting, and it’s easier on the clippers. Less grime and grit. To obtain the best fiber, your llama should be as clean as you can possibly get them.
Blow outs! Ah yes, first we blow the llama out. They have so much dirt and hay particles in there! You see llamas LOVE to roll in the sand or just plain old dirt; they think it adds to their beauty. Then I brush them out a bit while using a de-tangling spray. The brushing sometimes takes hours to days depending on the animal and density of the fiber. The llama in my last photo “Bandit” took several days to complete.
After all of this, at long last, it’s time to shampoo! I try to pick a warm sunny day. A quick blow out and a good scrub. Any type of shampoo will work, though there are “special” shampoos just for llamas. For my white llamas I use a whitening shampoo (with blueing). For most others I use a conditioning shampoo (the inexpensive kind). Next step, I apply a conditioner and just sort of rake it through the fiber…rinse! (thoroughly rinse -not always as easier as it sounds) Almost done (unless there is a show) they are set free to dry naturally in the sun.
Oh Yes, one more thing….they will immediately upon returning to the pasture, seek out their favorite place to roll; look up at me, bat their long lashes and smile…as if to say, “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful”
No worries, all the newly deposited dirt comes out fairly easily.
If the animal is fairly light wooled and depending on the temps, sun, and time of day…you can clip them the same day.
Most of the time, we wait until the next day.
Wow, I’m tuckered; good thing this only happens once a year!
Are you as tired as I am? Ok, let’s do this again next year, shall we?