Kuzco and Guinness are our wonderful guard llamas, who also happen to donate their fiber to the farm. They were born at Autumn Mountain Farm in Danby, Vermont and raised by Don and Sue Mellen—whom we can’t thank enough for all they have done to prepare us (and the llamas) for our adventure.
Why guard llamas? There are many reasons. First, llamas are territorial and will patrol and survey their surroundings. They are naturally curious and will go towards a perceived threat rather than running away from it. Also, their size is intimidating to most of the natural predators in our area. The intimidation factor is a major part of the llamas’ guarding behavior and an effective means of warding off wild predators and stray dogs. In the unlikely event that a predator is bold or hungry enough to come into the pasture, the llamas’ natural instinct would be to chase, kick, even trample it. And the llamas do all of this without training; within a couple of days they bonded with the sheep and now consider them part of their herd. As an added bonus, the llamas eat the same diet as the sheep, which makes feeding and caring for them much simpler than guard dogs. And of course, they also produce beautiful lofty fiber that can be processed on its own or blended with the sheep’s wool.
Our llamas are two males about three years old. Kuzco was named for the title character in The Emperor’s New Groove, a story of an arrogant emperor who learns humility after he is transformed into a llama. Guinness was given his name because he resembles the colors of one of our favorite beverages.
Kuzco is the more dominate male and has demonstrated a strong herding ability in addition to his guard duties. Guinness has a much more laid back approach to his work, preferring to be quiet and observant to his surroundings. He will lie on the ground and allow the lambs to jump on his back or pick grass out of his coat. They are both great animals with beautiful fiber.