Sunday, May 15, 2011

Llama Biography #1: Casa Loma's Little Sheba

I couldn't quite come up with a good topic for a post this morning, so I decided to start my "Llama Biography" series.  Starting from the beginning (way back in November 1999), I'm going to talk about all the llamas that have been a part of our farm.  It is going to take quite awhile to get through all of them!  Hopefully it will give you a good idea of how our farm and breeding program has evolved over the years.

Casa Loma's Little Sheba was the very first llama that we ever purchased.  After coming home from yet another family backpacking trip, we decided that llamas might be a fun addition to the family, so we started calling farms in the area and arranging to visit.  Casa Loma Llamas in Mooresville, Indiana was the first farm that we went to.  Lana Coffey, the owner, showed us around her farm and introduced us to several young female llamas.  Sheba was just a tiny thing then, only about 4 months old, and Lana haltered her up and walked her around.  It was during that visit that I got my very first llama kiss (from Sheba).  I was hooked!

Baby Sheba the first time we met her.

Since Sheba wasn't quite old enough to leave the farm that summer, nor were we ready to house any llamas at our farm, we instead made several more visits to the Coffey's farm over the fall, learning about llamas and playing with Sheba.  In November, she and 3 other llamas from another farm arrived at our house, and our llama adventure had begun!

Sheba was my very first 4-H llama too.  We both began in the program the next spring, at Shagbark Ridge Llamas in Noblesville, Indiana.  Sheba was very sweet and beautiful, but she was not the most willing 4-H companion, so it was an interesting summer.  We showed at the 4-H fair and a couple of other shows, but after that year I retired Sheba from the show ring.  She would be a mom instead.

Sheba and I as mountain climbers in a costume class at the 2000 Indiana State Fair.

Sheba was bred for the first time when she was just over 2 years old.  We found a beautiful male to breed her to, and sent her and another female down for their dates.  Almost a year later, Sheba had her first cria, Charity.  Charity looked just like her dad, but had her mom's beautiful fiber.


A few months after Charity was born Sheba had a very bad health scare.  She somehow contracted Salmonella, and spent 2-3 weeks at the vet school at Purdue University.  She lost almost 75 pounds, but she made it through and kept her cria healthy the whole time.

The next fall Sheba was again bred, and gave us a fabulous little cria in 2003, Faith.  In 2005, Sheba had her last cria for our farm.  Unfortunately, she had a difficult delivery, and her cria was born about 2 weeks early.  We spent 5 days trying to keep her cria, who we named Snowflake Obsidian (Sid for short), alive, but he succumbed to sepsis after a plasma transfer.



Sheba was rebred, and then sold to be an alpaca companion for a farm in Ohio.  She went on to deliver another beautiful female cria, and still has a great home.

Sheba, her last summer on the farm.

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