I never tire of gazing down on the pasture from the house and watching the llamas graze on the grass. As an extra added bonus, most evenings this time of year there is a small herd of deer that enjoy munching on the grass alongside the llamas.
I’ve seen as many as twenty deer grazing in the pasture, does with their offspring, now outgrown their spots and standing nearly as tall as their moms. Occasionally we will spot a young buck in the mix. It is getting to be the rutting season so the bucks are coming out of hiding.
Yesterday, as I was mowing the pasture, I could see small oval depressions in the tall grass, evidence of last night’s repose. I must have seen a couple dozen “deer dimples”. I take pleasure in knowing that the deer come to bed down in our meadow. Some evenings we shine our spotlight down on the pasture and are rewarded by a field of sparkling gems, pairs of eyes peering back at us.
A couple of years ago, as I was driving down our drive, I saw our small herd of llamas all running full speed along the fence line. I wondered what they were running off to look at. As I watched, the llamas began to pronk, with each llama following the other like a line of bounding antelope. Pronking is an activity that llamas do when they are feeling particularly happy and frisky. It’s rare that we see our mature boys engage in this free spirited romp, but it always puts me in mind of the cartoon skunk, “Pepe LePew” as he bounced around in his love pursuit of the elusive black kitty that had accidentally gotten white paint down her back.
I looked around the pasture to see what they were excited about and saw 3 deer dashing along the outside of the fence rail. Since we have so many deer, the sight of a deer usually doesn’t elicit any interest from the llamas, but as I continued to watch, the deer rounded the corner of the pasture fence and continued running and kicking up their heels with the llamas in hot pursuit along the inside of the fence rail. They ran a complete circle around the fence and then the deer dashed off into the woods.
I figured that was the end of the show, but within a few seconds, the deer came bounding from the woods and started running along the fence in the opposite direction. When the llamas saw them, they resumed their pronking and kept pace along the inside of the fence. It was then that I realized that the deer and the llamas were playing together. The deer would run 3 quarters the way around the pasture and reverse direction and run back around the perimeter leaping and cavorting. All 6 llamas continued their pronking, one behind the other, like carousel animals on a huge Merry Go Round. They all remained interested in the game for about 10 minutes, but as my llama boys are not accustomed to such extended romping, they soon tired. One by one they dropped into their “kush” position.
As the sun was starting to set, they settled into their nighttime sleeping positions, each llama facing a different direction as if they were circling the wagons. Soon they were lost in the settling darkness. How I wish we could entice the deer to come and exercise our llamas more often.