|Mystic Moon Llamas|
This is not to say that I have not been shopping myself this week-on Monday, we began llama shopping. Our guardian llama died this fall leaving our flock of sheep vulnerable to predators. Over the years, I wondered if our Mama Llama actually protected our sheep from anything of a serious threat and danger to our sheep. Upon first moving to our farm, she did chase away various curious neighbor dogs and stray dogs but recently, that activity has stopped. When folks ask if we have coyotes here, I say, “no,” however, this spring, that answer changed.
A neighbor set a night vision camera in a tree just outside of the resident fox’s den that is about 50 feet off of our fence line. The fox was being a particular menace to our neighbor’s flocks of chickens and he wanted to know how many fox were there. He later told me that three times in the night he recorded a large coyote sitting outside the fox hole. I was stunned to hear this news as that hole lies quite close to my sheep. I have been a little nervous since losing our Mama Llama, wondering when the coyote would notice her absence.
So this week, we visited Mystic Moon Farm, a llama farm in southern Vermont. This farm has 30 of the most beautiful, gentle llamas I have ever seen. Their herdsman is a young 16 year old woman who has a love for camelids. Upon walking up to the fence, we were greeted by a dozen or more curious llamas all stretching their necks out to have it scratched. We arrived at the farm with the intentions of looking at one llama whom they had selected as a potential guard for our flock and found ourselves looking at two other llamas as well.
There is Alaska, a female who currently works as a guard for their small flock of sheep. She is large in size, alert, and gentle. Her fiber is a mix of white and a rich brown. She would be the best choice of guards for our ewes as her size and experience would surely keep predators away.
|Alaska goes for a walk|
Terra, a gelded male, drew my attention before I ever went to the farm. The pictures of him on their website were amazing. Though smaller in size than Alaska, they felt that he too may have guard potential. He is from a very alert and curious line of breeding. He has had experience with the sheep as well though not as much as Alaska. Upon seeing him, I began to think about using him as a guard for our rams. Our rams live separately all summer from our ewes. They have never had a guard with them and we always chance that they will not be bothered by predators. I try to position their grazing areas in close proximity to the ewes in hopes the ewe’s llama will help deter any predator activity. With Terra, we could allow our rams to graze a distance from the ewes with a little more confidence.
Then, there is Copper Moon. When looking at their website, before visiting the farm, I was intrigued by the pictures and description of this little llama. He is a miniature Suri llama with the most beautiful copper colored locks of fiber that hang around his body. My son lead him on a walk while we were there. Copper’s small size and amazingly gentle spirit would be a wonderful addition to our summer camp for children. I could just see the children taking their lunches and Copper up to the top of the hill for a picnic. I am sure our B&B guests would enjoy a llama trek as well while staying on the farm.
Now, I have a very difficult decision to make. My husband quickly reminded me that we don’t need three llamas. He is right….we don’t need three llamas, but I am so intrigued by the miniature size, calm spirit, and wonderful color of Copper and it would be great to have a guard for our rams as well making Terra a wonderful addition. I have recently posted a new Llama/Wool Yarn CSA Share in hopes to raise enough money to purchase Alaska as well as possibly Terra and Copper. This Community Supported Agricultural Share comes in full or half shares and illustrates how our shareholders directly influence our farm. Having to replace our llama was not factored into this year’s budget for the farm. It is one of those unexpected expenses. With the support of our shareholders, we will be able to replace our Mama Llama and possibly add one or two more llamas to our farm as well.