Saturday, March 22, 2008

Llama Feet

Llama Feet in the Hall Outside Wodek's Room at Leland School
at the 2006 4-H Expo

Today I learned that llamas will not urinate or defecate inside. They will wait until they are outside again, which makes it easier to take them to places like classrooms and nursing homes. Llamas will even climb stairs indoors, but only if they've been acclimated to such obstacles. You acclimate a llama by making a llama obstacle course and talking your llama through the course. You might train a llama to stairs and carpets and ramps if you wanted to take it indoors. Or you might train it to walk through brush and rocks if you wanted to use it as a pack animal.

I learned all of this information interviewing Leelanau County 4-H clubs and members in preparation for April 12th's 4-H Expo. A nearly 11 year old girl told me how working with llamas is a lot like working with toddlers: "The first time you want them to do something new you have to do it with them and talk with them the whole time. The next time it's easier, and pretty soon they'll do it all by themselves." I love it when I see kids taking the lessons learned in their projects and applying them to the larger world.

I do have to be careful interviewing livestock clubs. One of these days I'm going to let my guard down and come home saying "Honey, we need a goat."

No comments: