While you're waiting for spring, have fun with these playing cards. Each one has instructions for tying useful knots. Every card has a different knot, and one may save your life, or your llama. Or knot. Available from us here.
Time to bring this up again, because we get questions. Does my llama need a coat? Llamas have a God-given winter coat already, don't they? Why would they need an artificial coat? It's true that llamas have a splendid covering of hair or wool or fleece. (I've heard it called fur, as well. Technically, it's hair) Classic llamas are blessed with a warm undercoat and an outer layer of guard hair. This is a great system for keeping warm in the winter and cool in the summer. (the undercoat sheds out in the spring) Even woolly llamas, who generally need to be shorn to keep cool for the summer) usually grow enough hair back to stay warm. The fact is, most llamas do not need to wear a coat. Llama wool is naturally very insulating, and a blanket tends to compress their wool, which reduces its insulating properties. Shelter from the wind and snow, good bedding, and good hay are most important in cold weather for keeping llamas warm. Eating forages generates heat through the digestion of long fibers of hay. Feeding free choice hay during extremely cold weather will help your llamas stay warm. (Alfalfa is excellent for older llamas.) If your llama is old and thin, or was shorn late in the season and hasn't grown enough wool, then a blanket is a great idea. Lightweight blankets won't compress the llama's own coat, and add a layer to trap warm air.
This llama's toenails are too long. They aren't severely overgrown; I've seen a lot worse, but they are in need of a trim. Some llamas, particularly classic llamas, don't ever seem to get long toenails. Some llamas, especially those who live on rocky ground, naturally keep their toenails worn down. Other llamas need trimming a couple times a year. If not kept trimmed or worn down, the toenails will keep growing and the feet will become deformed, making the llama lame. Recently, I heard that someone was selling guard llamas with overgrown toenails, telling potential buyers that you aren't supposed to trim a guard llama's toenails as they use them for defense against predators. Total baloney. It sounds like an excuse for them not being able to handle the llama's feet.
These are the best shears I have ever used for llamas, and I've sheared a LOT of llamas. Since Bobra raised Classic llamas, most of my llamas don't need to be shorn. A couple have pretty dense wool, though, and don't brush out like a true Classic (all our llamas are classic, but some are more Classic than others.) so they get trimmed. We have a couple woolly packers, and they get clipped every year. I shear for other folks, though, and most of the llamas I help are animals that, for whatever reason, haven't been shorn in a couple years (or more) These are usually untrained llamas, so I try to clip quickly. I tried electric clippers, but I like to leave a good couple inches of wool on the llama, and it's too difficult to keep an even cut. (for me, anyway) Electric ones work great if you're shearing close to the skin, but I don't like to do that. So I have used scissors and sheep shears, and when I finally tried Jakoti shears, I knew there was no going back. They are lightweight, and the spring action is really easy on the hands. They are incredibly sharp, and hold their edge for a long time. I have used them to cut horses' bridle paths as well. They are imported from the UK. The workmanship is excellent, and they hold up to being thrown around and getting knocked in the dirt. I'm please to say that we now carry them in our store here. $46 each, free shipping!