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The Gentle Spirit Newsletter

From Cathy Spalding

January 2011


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The Gentle Adjustable Halter

The Gentle Adjustable Halter

For Alpacas and Llamas

I want to extend a warm and heartfelt THANK YOU to each of you for the many kind and encouraging notes you have sent to me expressing your interest and appreciation for my clinics as well as for my web site and newsletter. I truly appreciate your thoughts and support. Please feel free to forward this newsletter on to others who may be interested.


Most everyone is now aware of the intense difficulties currently unfolding for the animals at the Montana Large Animal Sanctuary. The Camelid Rescue Coalition (CRC) was formed by Northeast Llama Rescue (NELR), Southwest Llama Rescue (SWLR), Southeast Llama Rescue (SELR), LANA Lifeline and other committed individuals. Through remarkable obstacles, the CRC is working day and night on facilitating the care and placement of 600+ llamas. Animeals of Missoula, MT is the organization currently on site feeding the llamas on a daily basis. The cost of hay is high and the need is great.

Please consider a donation towards that effort at:

Transportation to placements is currently happening for approximately 300+ llamas. Funds are desperately needed to facilitate the high expenses of transport as well as care once they reach their various destinations.

Please consider a donation to NELR at:

SELR at: to support this effort.

Checks can be sent to the Llama Association of North America (LANA) at: 1800 S. Obenchain Road, Eagle Point, OR 97524. Please make your check payable to LANA Lifeline and make a notation that your check is for the MLAS rescue. This will insure that your generous donation will go directly to the MSLA efforts.

ALL donations to each of these organizations go directly to transportation and care.

Jerry Finch of Habitat for Horses has just now been able to put into words the horrific reality of what has happened at MLAS.

While there has been a great deal of concern expressed that perhaps no one knows what they are doing up at the sanctuary, please be assured that there is now a crew of experienced llama people and vets assisting. Obviously, transport papers are needed for out of state transport so animals would need to be individually assessed. Llamas do die daily. Those on site are doing above and beyond efforts amidst a very, very difficult situation.

Alpaca Talk On Sale!

Alpaca Talk Understanding Alpaca Behavior

Alpaca Talk - Understanding Alpaca Behavior


I had requests from a number of folks that they might please purchase Alpaca Talk at the holiday sale price of $15.00. They had intended to order but just missed the deadline. Honoring their requests, it occurred to me that perhaps there were others who were disappointed but did not contact me since the deadline had passed. As a result, it seems fair to everyone to continue the holiday pricing of $15.00 through February 15, 2011. Beginning February 16, 2011, Alpaca Talk can be ordered at the regular price.

Here's the details.

Llama Talk Understanding Llama Behavior

Llama Talk

Understanding Llama Behavior as a Foundation for Training and Herd Management


During our more severe winter temperatures, some alpacas and llamas have difficulty keeping warm. Gradual changes in seasons and temperature are seemingly handled more easily than those that are sudden and abrupt. Sudden changes in weather and temperature do, however, occur with sprawled bodies soaking up the sun one day and the very next bringing on endless hours of stinging sleet.

Many alpacas and llamas seem to actually prefer to be out in inclement weather as opposed to being locked in an enclosed sheltered area. We have noticed the difference in choice can depend upon how the particular weather affects their facial area. Overall body fiber offers a level of protection from the weather. However, they are not normally as well protected about the face - particularly the eyes. Unrelenting rains, ice pellets and harsh winds can often send even the hardiest soul off in search of shelter.

In weather extremes, it is key to provide the best opportunities possible to assist each alpaca and llama in their ability to regulate their body temperature. Adequate shelter, windbreaks, bedding, feed/nutrition, fresh water and overall good health are a must for each animal. Age and other conditions can compromise the ability to adequately regulate body temperature. The most obvious sign that an animal is having difficulty regulating body temperature is shivering. If one is shivering, they are cold and need warmer conditions.

There are a number of creative and clever ways folks have provided their alpacas and llamas a warm reprieve from harsher weather. While an enclosed barn would seem top of the line ideal, there are many other creative ways to provide a warm and cozy area. Windbreaks and half walls can be made for three sided shelters using bales of straw placed across a portion of the open side. Bales of straw are also useful for blocking drafty areas such as under stall doors. Sheets of plywood or tarps can be installed along the edges of an overhang to provide more protection under those areas. Deep bedding provides a barrier between bodies and the colder flooring. In some areas, owners do not regularly replace the bedding during the winter period but rather just add new bedding each time fresh bedding is needed. Heat is generated from the lower layers of composing manure and straw.

Article Continued Here


If you are considering hosting a clinic in 2011, please contact me as soon as possible. All the details for hosting or attending a clinic or presentation are here.


I receive numerous questions by phone and email each week. The questions and issues are often similar in nature. I do my best to answer as many as possible but due to overwhelming numbers, I am truly unable to guarantee you will receive a timely response. While I do want to assist, it takes considerable time to respond to each and every email. Please consider a donation when you receive a response from me. Here are the details regarding donations.

I may choose your question to be posted on my website on the Questions from Readers page.


Wishing for peace and thoughtful cooperation throughout the world for this new year. And. wishing all of YOU the very best in this New Year ahead.