1. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    I met some llamas today. I was talking to them over the fence, but keeping my distance too not being sure how friendly they are. Does anyone know?

    Some of them got bored after a while and started eating the dead pine needles we were all standing on. I thought that was very cool, but then worried it's because they're in pasture and might not be getting enough nutrients. Is it normal for llamas to eat dead pine needles? Do other animals eat them? I guess it's kind of like hay.
     
  2. pippimac

    pippimac Junior Member

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    I'd like to add...
    Are they tasty?
     
  3. cottager

    cottager Junior Member

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    I like llama's.

    Simple llama body language (same as horses/dogs/cats even) ... ears forward = interested, ears back = uncomfortable/unhappy/grumpy

    Llama's don't like being patted, but they are as curious about you, as you are about them, so they will come up to you if you are (or have something) interesting.

    A llama kiss (in the same way that horses "kiss" ...) is a huge compliment.

    On negatives - pine needles might be good for a taste, but are not food.

    Llama's, like camels, will lay their ears back when irritated and spit if they feel threatened, but mostly don't do that to people, and do that as a last/battle resort.

    Don't pat llama's ... they tolerate contact, but it has to be by agreement. Social, but with personal space issues is the best way I can put that one :)

    Llama's make brilliant sheep protectors (they will do their very best to trample a fox ... if I were to choose between a maremma dog and a llama, I would choose the llama ... simply because they are very protective of "their" flock).

    Which leads to ... if you keep on greeting/treating the llama's ... they will start to treat you as their herd, and know you as a part of their life. It takes a while, but worth it (llama's like familiar folk, and aren't too fussed with strangers).
     
  4. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Thanks cottager! They sound like interesting animals. I did have the sense that patting wasn't a good idea. With a horse I would normally put my hand out so it could smell me first, but wasn't sure if llamas bite.

    Do pine needles not have anything useful left in them (minerals)?

    I was wondering that too pippi ;-)
     
  5. pippimac

    pippimac Junior Member

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    Oh yeah, just in case...
    'they'=llamas, not pine needles!
     
  6. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    I meant that too!

    I did go and taste some dead pine needles though. They still have some essential oils in them, which might make them taste good to llamas, but could also have a medicinal effect.
     
  7. cottager

    cottager Junior Member

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    Well, "proper" pine needles are reputed to make a nice tea, so they probably have a flavour favoured by llama's.

    In moderation, they should be fine to snack upon, but a diet of pine needles won't sustain a Llama.

    Some pines contain Isocupressic Acid, which is what makes the Ponderosa Pine in America THE cause of PNA (Pine Needle Abortion) in cows (the same acid will cause abortions in lab mice also) ... Cyprus aren't so great for snacking, and Yew (which looks a bit like Pine) is toxic and can kill a beast.

    Bit like mushrooms really ... need to know what you are eating (even if you're a Llama, who will eat poisonous food, if it tastes good).
     

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