Rescue Journal

Sheila says I don't listen unless it is about one of the animals...

Alison  ·  Oct. 13, 2006

not I listened to two people and got my butt in gear and quit procrastinating about a couple of things.

The first was when this nice lady Ruth came by to pick up some information about SAINTS that she wanted to share at a meeting she was heading off to. She told me that last week her neighbors llama, who they had had for several years went nutz and killed two sheep and tried to kill her neighbor too! She said it was because he was an intact male that he went crazy. I called the vet, he said there is a "bezerke llama syndrome" that can rarely affect intact males...not rare enough...I booked Carl's neuter for the 25th.

The second thing was when I went to the paint store to get some more primer for the inside of the rabbit room (I thought it would save time to get our handy guy to spray the primer for us before we paint the fun colors). It was exterior paint. She said "it is kinda late to be painting outside isn't it?" it? I did not know that...anyway, I listened to her and bought some purple paint and painted the outside siding of the rabbit room today, just in case we run out of outside painting time. It looks good.

So there are two things that I listened to someone and got moving on quicker. Unfortunately, now I am behind in the regular stuff here, so i guess I better go clean the barn (in the dark, bleck!)



yes they need to worry that carl was handled too much as a babe...not where he came from at any rate.

and thx for posting this...really informative!!!!!


I copy and pasted that article from a lama website..however it doesn't say anything about them killing any one. Did they put thier lama down?


As more and more people become familiar with lamas and begin to breed, they need to know and understand what to do to ensure that their animals are easy to work with and yet remain gentle and safe around human adults and children.

What is the Berserk Male (Female) Syndrome in lamas? This is a behavior that develops when the lama is around 2-3 years of age, going into his/her puberty years. It is due to too much or improper handling of the lama when the lama is a baby. Lamas need to be lamas: they need to remain with their mother until they are 5-6 months of age and to learn proper lama social behavior within the herd.

The berserk male (female) syndrome arises when a baby lama has too much or improper interaction with humans and bonds to humans at a young age. When the lama reaches the puberty years, he/she treats humans as another lama. Males will fight among each other, a perfectly normal behavior between male lamas. A male lama that has been bonded to a human will try to attack and fight with the human to establish dominance. A human is no match for a 300-500-pound lama and can be severely injured. Male lamas that have this behavior generally have to be euthanized as there is no cure and they can never be trusted around humans.

Female lamas generally will become spitters and will be pushy. They will come up to humans and will not back off and give humans their space. They will also try to show humans where they are in the lama social pecking order by spitting at them and putting them in their place. There is no cure for this behavior. Once a female lama is a spitter, she will remain a spitter and treat humans as another lama.

The berserk syndrome in past years was responsible for giving zoo lamas a bad reputation. Zoo animals were routinely taken away from their mothers and bottle fed, a practice that just about guarantees that the lama will have the berserk syndrome when he/she is older. Many people’s first experience with lamas has been in a zoo when they walk up to the lama area and are spit upon by these animals.

One symptom that may indicate that a lama may develop the berserk syndrome is a young lama that is too friendly, comes up to you, and does not back off. A young lama may also show you the “submissive response”: hunching over and flipping his tail up over his back, acknowledging that you may be the “dominant lama” right now but WATCH OUT! Lamas are normally aloof and should not be friendly (they should be easy to work with, companionable, and gentle but their personality is quite different from our usual pets like cats and dogs that will come up and cuddle with you).

How does one treat baby lamas so that they grow up properly? At Llama Lledge Farm, we will check out our newborns to ensure that they are OK, treat the umbilical cord, handle the feet and legs, and then BACK OFF! They need their mother when they are first born and for the first few months of age and do not need us interfering with what care and education she will give them. Anyone who has watched baby lamas in a herd situation will see them imitate mom (mom spits and hangs her mouth open and the baby will walk around for hours with his/her mouth open). We will start working with the lamas at about 3-4 months of age, when they have been fully bonded to the herd and see us as “humans”. Lamas should not be bottle fed, except in an emergency situation (mother has no milk, etc.) and then should be kept in the herd structure, with the mother always present for comfort and care. They should not be brought into the home and treated like “pets”. The least you can do for a baby to get him through the rough times, the better off he/she will be.

Keeping these issues in mind, minimal touching now and then of a baby in a herd situation will not harm him/her during this time. It’s the constant and improper handling or bottle feeding that will cause this behavior. Be sure to check out the baby once in a while to make sure everything is going well. Most of all, enjoy those babies!


i just learned to drink a beer, i will be dead before i graduate to scotch.....and tunie can have the carrots, i (will soon) have better things to eat.


Good to know who has what. We can't have Carol going without her cookies, it is not good.
Maybe you all can have a carrot, cookie and scotch picnic with Petunia.


Petunia can have the carrot! The cookies are Carol's. The scotch is mine.


Hey now those are Petunie's! Oh i bet she would love one of Carols cookies too..

Well good on you Carol , it feels good to get one of the 79 things on your shoudlers taken care of doesn't it.

I hope to wake up feelign the same way...


maybe sunday...i am working a long day tomorrow. don't eat them...have a carrot instead, it is better for you.


You may have to drop by to pick them up....I'm swamped with work/mom/crappy legal stuff for the next 72 hours or so. I will resist the urge to eat them myself, I promise. I need something stronger than cookies.


Hmmm.... I wonder if there is a berserk alpaca syndrome too? Scary thought!

I bet the rabbit room looks great! Even without the purple paint it was looking really good yesterday.
We'll have the inside ready in no time, and the bunnies will be happy, hoppy critters.

PS...there's a couple of boxes of chocolate mint Girl Guide cookies here with your name on them. That should take care of breakfast and lunch for a day or two. See, I listen too! LOL