Avebury's Diary - 04-08-06
Hello again everyone.
I thought it would be nice if I told you about a half day llama trek that Silbury, Ringsbury and I took last week.
We had a visit from a very nice two-legged mother and daughter and we decided to show them all around the farm. There are parts of the farm we don’t know very well and it’s always a treat to find some new grazing and browsing.
Our male person and the mother and daughter walked down the hill to where we ten llamas were lying in the sun. They wanted to look at us as a herd and to see how we act in everyday life. So Silbury rolled over onto his side and fell asleep, Tenbury Wells (who had her first birthday last week) lay in the dust bath and kicked her legs in the air and Maes Howe and Doll Tor chewed the bark off a pile of firewood in the corner of the field. We are always livelier when there are people around. They seem to expect it.
Then the call came – ‘Llamas Llamas’ and we thought about it for a while, moved towards the centre of the field where we had a communal dung, and ambled up the slope after the people to the barn.
Now, the reason we follow people when they call us is that we are well-trained domesticated animals. Also they feed us tasty treats if we do as they ask.
Six llamas – Brodgar, Stenness, Maes Howe, Callanish, Doll Tor and Long Meg all entered the pen straight away and had a few nibbles of some tasty llama mix. Our person then showed the mother and daughter how to put a halter on a llama. He showed our guests that the firm use of the word ‘Stand’ coupled with putting a rope around our necks is the start of the process. When we have a rope lying over our backs and round our necks we stand quietly. Then the guests were shown how to put a halter on. A little wary at first, by the end of it everyone was mastering the techniques.
Of course this was only six llamas and our person had earmarked three of the llamas who hadn’t entered the pen for that morning trek. ‘Isn’t it always the way’ he said, but actually we like making it a bit more fun and having people chase us round the yard. So a long rope was taken out and with one end tied near the pen we four – Tenbury Wells, Ringsbury, Silbury and I - were soon rounded up and all of us quietly trotted into the pen. Our guests haltered us and then were shown how to groom a llama.
Grooming isn’t so bad. It’s really a way people use to make us look even smarter than we already do, and I suppose they have a point. We do look more handsome if most of the hay and burrs are removed from our coats. It gives our people a chance to examine us closely and make sure we haven’t picked up any knocks or scrapes. A good brush takes anything from two to five minutes as we do have quite different coats – some fine and light, some thick and woolly. Silbury is a two-minute llama and Doll Tor is a five minuter.
Our guests enjoyed grooming us and made us all look really smart. Doll Tor showed that she responds to other voice instructions when she ‘gave’ her foot on command. We aren’t all so good.
Silbury, Ringsbury and I were led out of the yard and the other seven were each given a bite of mix before being released.
Our walk started off down the slope with the mother walking with Silbury, the daughter with me and our person bringing up the rear with ol’ slow coach Ringsbury. We had a lovely walk and took in Home Field, Lower Oak Field and Upper Oak Field,which was very exciting as there is a small woodland just ripe for nibbling. Then we went into Bottom Field and enjoyed the shade of the trees, before venturing into Lake Field where we stopped for a while.
I admit I sometimes play up, not in a naughty sense, but I just miss the rest of the herd and I started off by looking back at them and humming softly to myself. However, my handler, the girl visitor, was excellent at leading me around and she encouraged me no end.
The funny part of the walk came when I made a right fool of myself and bolassed myself. When we stopped for a break we were tied to longer ropes that were tethered to mooring pins. I don’t know what happened, but I managed to get the rope stuck round my leg and in trying to get it off, twisted myself up. Ringsbury said it was quite comical. I then fell over. How embarrassing. But I was up again and released and we were soon off.
We walked around the lake and through some gates. Up the final run to the yard we trekked and back to see our friends. Everyone greeted us with lots of sniffing. You’d think we’d been away for days.
Back in our pen, our visitors were shown how to remove the halters from our heads. We are not meant to snatch our heads out of the halters, so they are gently slid off our noses. Some tasty mix and we were free to see our friends.
It was a lovely morning. We llamas really do love a good llama trek.