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Aberrant Behaviour Syndrome (ABS) in Llamas

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Aberrant Behaviour Syndrome (ABS) in a llama can be very dangerous for those who need to interact with him. It is sometimes called Berserk Male Syndrome. Dangerous though it is, this behaviour is part and parcel of a mature male llama. Among sexually mature male llamas, contesting for the top spot in the herd is an ongoing exercise.

Unfortunately he has come to regard humans as a threat of the same magnitude as another male llama.

should not be bottle-fed or raised by hand unless there is absolutely no alternative. Such llamas become too familiar and lose their respect for humans. As soon as possible the animal should be placed in a herd situation so he learns acceptable social behaviour from his elders.

Some male llamas, as they mature, may regard humans as rivals. His way of moving up the social hierarchy is to challenge and hopefully defeat those above him.
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There is often no warning of an attack. The llama may suddenly charge a person, rearing and striking. He may 'chest' a person, scream, bite and spit. Such actions are frightening at best and downright dangerous at worst.

Llamas should be firmly disciplined at all times. This should not be considered cruel. An unruly llama is a dangerous llama. All animals are more secure if they have know where they stand in the natural order of their 'herd'. Young animals who try to dominate should be reprimanded with a loud 'no'. If you have a rope or switch, a good smack should be administered. Don't be concerned with abuse at this point. It is important for your safety and that of others who may need to interact with the animal that he understands aggressive behaviours are not allowed.

Should he jump on you, bring a knee up into his chest if possible. It is impossible to stress too strongly that unacceptable behaviour should be stopped immediately before real injury or harm occurs. Carrying a water blaster or squeeze bottle may help put him off but rushing, crowding, jumping on a handler are extremely dangerous practices. The llama must be made to understand who is boss.

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Once a llama shows signs of such aggression, extreme care should be taken and the animal should not be trusted. Teach young animals social skills at an early age. Placing a young male in a herd of older males will help as they will not stand for any nonsense but once back with humans, a close eye should be kept on him at all times. If he is a valuable sire, try to reduce the occasions you need to enter his enclosure to the bare minimum. Arrange feed and water containers so they can be attended to from the other side of the fence. When you do need to enter his yard, take some sort of protection with you, have a second person on hand and stay alert.

Gelding may be considered as an acceptable option. ABS in a llama should be regarded as a real concern.


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