Time to consider whether you are in an area that needs to give Vitamin A, D & E to your crias during the months October thru April.
Create a cup-on-a-stick. Attach a jar or cup to a broom stick or some other long pole using a hose clamp (the kind they use in car engines). The cup fits securely in the clamp and keeps it upright. Hang out quietly in the "pile area" and when your subject takes their turn, you can slowly extend the cup-on-a-stick to a position to catch the urine.
Injuries can happen when you least expect them. Use caution as to where to use bungee cords. They can break or just snap loose with such a force it can cause injury. If just left hanging within reach of the animals, they tend to play with them. This situation is also capable of causing severe injury when the hook catches on the animal and springs back.
EXTRA GATES -
Don't leave extra gates or panels just leaning up against the fence or wall of the barn. Curious or pushing animals can knock the gates over causing serious injury or death to another animal. Take extra care to secure all items that can possibly tip over .
GATES & OPENINGS -
The distance between the opening end of the gate and the fence post, or the distance between two gates as they meet, is crucial and can eliminate a possible death. The animal sticks its head through this opening pushing against the gate and making the opening larger. When it pulls its head back to get out, the gate tightens up and traps the animal's neck possibly causing strangulation. The more the animal pulls and struggles, the tighter the gate becomes. Allow no bigger opening than a couple of inches so the animal can't get its head in there in the first place.
UNSUSPECTED HAZZARD -
In a nice, warm medical room, a cria stuck his head in the U shaped loop under the sink, trapping him and causing strangulation. He didn't know to pull his head up and out. This type of injury has also happened out in the pastures in low forks of trees that just happen to be the right size.
No fencing is 100% safe, but numerous tragic deaths have been reported due to electric wire fencing.
HOLES & DITCHES -
Sunken areas and holes mysteriously appear in the pastures from time to time. Sometimes mole tunnels may be the cause. These are often the causes of leg injuries and sprains to the animals.
Ditches and even some deeper dust bowls can cause the animal to be trapped in an upside down position when rolling. Rumen gasses then build up - perhaps causing death. Read these unfortunate situations.
HAY BAGS -
Hay bags are useful if used only with supervision. Animals can get their heads into the mesh hay bags and as they eat the hay, the bag then can become tangled around their neck. Some have even gotten their legs in them. The heavy vinyl hay bags are somewhat better, but the same danger is there. As the animals eat the hay, they stick their head in further and further and sometimes become stuck or tangled. Never use hay bags in the trailer when traveling ... just put the hay on the floor. And if you use hay bags at a show, stuff the bags as full as possible before leaving for the night. Hay bags are not recommended for everyday use on the farm.
HAY LOFT -
If you store your hay up in a loft over the llamas, be sure it is stacked securely and not close to the edge. Hay bales have been known to fall and land on a cria causing death. Perhaps the barn cats disturbed the stacked hay.
The twine used to tie the hay bales has caused numerous injuries from animals becoming tangled in it. Also obstructions from animals swallowing it. Keep all twines picked up.
Always remove halters from your animals when they are loose in the pasture or the barn area. There have been reports of the halter accidently getting caught on something and causing injury to the animal.
When using these large hay bales, put them up on a pallet off the ground. Slugs, snails, and other creatures can winter very well in the warmth under the large bales. It can be a possible haven for the snail that carries Meningeal Worm, a deadly parasite to the llama.BALEING TWINE -
Further caution has been suggested for using the large round hay bales. The large bale can become dangerous to small stock or crias when the bales collapse or topple over as the animals eat on them and unbalance the heavy bale. Also several instances of botulism (due to dampness in the bales) have been reported in llama herds and also with other livestock. On the other hand, many farms use the large bales consistently with no problems. Proper baling is imperative.
Twine from the hay bales has often caused injuries, sometimes deaths. One llama owner tells of the twine getting wrapped around the llama's neck, and the llama broke her neck trying to get loose.
You'll probably hear the coyotes howling at night this time of year .... probably calling to their mates and establishing territorial boundaries. Although coyotes are a feared predator of llama herds, we know of no actual coyote attack on llamas. Most attacks, maybe originally assumed to be a coyote, turn out to be the neighbor's dog or dogs just running loose. Dogs, either alone or in a group, will go for the rear quarters of the llama and viciously rip it apart. A coyote normally attacks the neck. Coyotes prefer small rodents, rabbits, and birds and will possibly raid your hen house. They also are extremely territorial and will keep other coyotes away. Read a little more about this interesting villain of many folk tales ......the coyote!MENENGEAL WORM -
Most cases of menengeal worm are diagnosed in the fall and winter. If you live in a White Tail Deer area, keep up those iveromec shots as a preventitive for menengeal worm. Symptoms can include, but are not limited to, staggering, shaking, legs crossing over, head tilting, circling, weakness, loss of appetite, and shivering. Treat immediately. As a preventative, deworm monthly with Ivomec. At least until a good, heavy frost.MORE M WORM -
No M-Worm prevention program is complete without free roaming Muscovy Ducks or Egyptian Geese. They'll eat a large percentage of the garden slugs that carry the parasite.MALES SHARING PASTURE -
When putting a male back into a pasture with his other male pasture-mates, to avoid him (and you) possibly getting rammed, take all the males out of the pasture for a few minutes. Then bring the one and also the entire group back in all together. Now they are all on equal terms. Probably no fights.BURNING LEAVES & BRUSH -
Another safety tip comes to us from an unpleasant experience. Llamas have been known to walk though ashes and remains of burn piles and burn their feet. And they also will roll in the hot ashes - love that dust!