They're starting to trickle out in dribs and drabs. The 22 Montana Large Animal Sanctuary Rescue llamas that arrived at my farm are ready to head to their new homes.
They began as a sad, raggedy crew of llamas -- a SILENT, sad, raggedy crew. They didn't protest being unloaded in IL when they started out in Montana. They didn't resist when they were herded into their new pasture area. They didn't turn up their noses at any hay or grain that was offered. No complaints about their new environment.
But gosh, did they eat. And eat. And eat some more.
It's been a month now -- and have they ever changed. Not just the physical changes that are so obvious -- the weight gain -- the spring in their steps -- the interest in what I'm doing each day -- the reaction to being touched/caught. They are so much more like regular llamas. And yet, not. They are "wild," unhandled llamas. Frightened llamas.
Yesterday a milestone was reached. I came into their area and the 33 gallon trash can with the bungeed lid was knocked over -- and ALL the grain was gone. Apparently it was eaten by the Montana llamas that remain. Yep. That's what MY llamas would have done with a container filled with grain right smack in the corner of their living quarters. For the past month they have largely ignored that ready source of protein.
Loading untrained llamas is not for sissies. Most had to be coaxed, pushed and cajoled into the trailers. One resisted by jumping a fence and taking my son, Ben, for a rodeo ride in the barn -- then whacking him into the metal water tank. Ouch!
Eleven llamas were scheduled to head to MO -- to 4 different homes. One never made the trip to her own home, as our Sara Beth passed away before she could meet her new family.
The rest went on to new owners. Then the second wave left. Six headed to northern IL -- four near Champaign -- and two more farther north. Lives ahead as guardians for alpacas and sheep. Lives of luxury with full hay bunkers and grain.
This weekend the last 5 will go to PA. They will find new families and new lives.
It's been tough helping them on their journey. The joy comes in seeing them go on to new lives. My part is just a blink of the eye.
The photos show the animals being loaded for their trips, and there are some of their new owners. Congratulations to all.