Sunday, September 13, 2009

Royal Ranch Royalty

Good Morning! It is Sunday morning and time to meet one of Royal Ranch's Royalty. We have had an amazing weekend, so I really debated about not doing my weekly post on one of my infamous critters. This way I can keep my promise to my readers, and give my tired brain time to gather up all of the great memories to put into a story for you all tomorrow! It is hunting season here in Colorado, and as usual Tom and I can't see straight-how very lucky we feel! We hiked almost twenty miles in the last two days, and I'm excited to share our adventures with you.

For many years hunting season and Marcel were very well acquainted. Marcel is one of our first llamas, and absolutely one of the favorites. He is the leader of the entire herd, but he is the most gentle leader I have ever seen. Marcel is very rarely in any physical battles, but tends to get his point across without needing to fight. Whenever a new animal comes in, Marcel is the first to accept and love them. He has been so wonderful with the sheep for example. While the other llamas were either deathly afraid of, or wanted to kill the sheep initially, Marcel politely showed them who was boss, and allowed them to eat with him.

This last year, we tragically lost a llama, Carbondale, due to a leg injury during hunting season. It was a very scary thing to say the least, so I had decided that I was not going to take any risks with Marcel and retire him. As we all know, retirement plans change in times like these, so Marcel got to do our hike with us yesterday. Although the hike up is much easier, as the packs are empty, it is very difficult for the llamas to come down the trail full. The packs tend to slide forward, even with a crupper (a device like you see here on Marcel's neck, but it wraps under the tail to hold the weight back) on the pack. Llamas carry their weight with their chest and sides, so going down puts a lot of weight on the front legs and they tire quite easily. Marcel is a very dedicated worker, but is getting on in years (16 years old) and deserves to retire. He has been on every single one of our pack trips until this season!
Marcel is one of my rescues, but luckily does not have a sad story. We got him and his buddy Jasper off of an organic vegetable farm (kind of ironic he's gone full circle; pooping for a living, and then doing what llamas do best, packing for a living, and back to pooping for a living for Naked~Nure. The people that had him before, did not work with them at all, so when he got here he was very wild and difficult to halter. Llamas are very easy to train, so after learning he could trust us, he settled right into the role of lead packer.
As a matter of fact, my children's story Llucky Llama, is told from Marcel's viewpoint of living and loving at the Royal Ranch. He is also the llama that is on our sign and logo. Marcel is one proud animal, and we are so proud to share his life!


Daisy said...

I've heard that llama owners often name their llamas on a theme. A friend (teacher, also raises llamas) names all of hers after Dr. Seuss characters. Do you name yours on a theme?

Royal Ranch said...

Good Question Daisy! Unlike horses who have to be brand inspected, there is not a great way to keep llama geneology straight. Thus, the themes have come along to help keep track of which llama came from which farm. Because all of mine have been rescues and not born here they already had names. This doesn't mean that we don't change them a little to fit their personalities, but they already have papered names. I absolutely love the Dr. Seuss idea!!! A lot of farms will just use the initials of their farm, the Cat in the Hat sounds way cooler!