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Learn as much as you can about llamas.


Decide your objectives. What are you interested in doing with your llama(s)?

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Companion animals: showing, packing, jogging partner, cart pulling, 4H Club for your children, fiber production. Because they are so gentle and easy to train, llamas are popular attractions in parades, shows, fairs and community events, and are fun to take on schools, hospital or nursing home visits.

 

bullet Guard llama for other livestock, such as alpaca, sheep and goats from coyotes. See guard llama brochure for more detail.

bullet Becoming a llama breeder

bullet Or do you just love llamas!

After you have determined the major decisions of purpose and budget, the fun really starts. 
Llamas come in many sizes, colors, fiber lengths and prices. ...Looking at llamas and picking the perfect llamas for you.

Thruout our website we will refer to llamas even though many of the concepts and information contained are true for both llamas and alpacas. The word lama is not a spelling error and is commonly used when refering to both llamas and alpacas.  The animals are very closely related and can even cross breed with viable youngsters as a result.  Llamas are larger so better suited as a working companion.  Alpacas as a whole, usually have finer more consistant fiber.  

As with any animal you will want to be sure you are buying a healthy, sound animal and the breeder will help you get started in your new venture. Find a breeder with which you are comfortable and whose stock seems best to meet your objectives.

If you are looking for a companion animal that would be used for packing or pulling carts you may prefer an animal with shorter fiber for easier maintenance, but should be a robust (not fat) llama. If you are looking for fiber production and are interested in spinning or felting then of course larger size is not necessary but the quality of the fiber would be your first concern.

Are you interested in a trained llama or would you like to train your own? Remember a llama should not carry any weight to speak of until they are at least two years of age. If you want to pack in the near future you may want to buy an older llama. Llamas are not fully mature until they are three or four years of age.

If we can be of any service to you in your research please do not hesitate to give us a call. We love to talk llama. Hmmmmmmmm.       

Why Llamas?

Llamas are intelligent, beautiful and have a serene dignity. Llamas are curious but aloof and regal, they have a delightful habit of coming close to sniff you. But despite your natural temptation to hug and cuddle them, they prefer not to be petted except on their necks and backs. They are independent, quiet, clean, very gentle, easy to train, and are responsive and adaptable to most situations.

They do not bark, bite, chew or dig. Their reputation for spitting is highly exaggerated and usually seen only in situations where llamas have been kept by themselves, mishandled or abused. Spitting at people is rare in most situations.

Llamas come in many colors, sizes and price ranges. There is a llama to fit every budget and interest level. Llamas are fun!                                                    















General Information

Heritage: Llamas are native to the mountains of South America and have been their domesticated beast of burden for over 6,000 years. They have been very selectively bred for gentle dispositions and fine wool. Llamas are one of four species of South American camelids. Llamas and alpacas are domesticated, while vicunas and guanacos are still found in the wild.

Characteristics: Maturing by about 4 years of age, an adult llama weighs between 250-450 lbs., stand 5 to 6 feet tall, and can be expected to live 20-30 years. Their soft, leathery padded foot makes them environmentally desirable and remarkably sure-footed with very minimal impact on any terrain. For this reason, llamas are permitted in virtually all state and national parks and forests, where their hardiness, sure footedness and common sense makes them an excellent pack animal and trail companion. They can carry 50 to 100 pounds for long distances. Their gentle, trusting nature and clean habits make them excellent "PR" animals for school and nursing home visits and other public appearances. They tend to remain calm and unruffled in most situations.

Llamas are highly social animals, and although they will interact with horses, goats, and other livestock, they need the companionship of another llama, and should never be kept singly.

They have discreet bathroom habits and use communal dung piles which are odorless and easy to clean up for use a fertilizer or soil amendment.

Females are induced ovulators and receptive to breeding at any time...you don’t have to guess when they’re in "heat". Maidens are usually bred between 16 and 24 months and deliver a 22-30 lb. baby, or cria, in about 350 days.

Llama babies, "crias" , begin walking within an hour and should nurse in about two hours. The placenta is usually passed within four hours. Females are normally rebred in two to four weeks after giving birth. 

Feeding With their highly efficient three-chambered stomach, llamas cost less to feed and maintain than the family dog, and approximately 10% the cost of maintaining a horse.

They browse on many types of forage, which reduces the need for hay, and are given free-choice access to salt and mineral supplementation and fresh water.

An acre of moderate-producing pasture can easily support 3-5 llamas. If feeding hay, one ton will feed one adult for about a year. put another way, it will take an adult llama about three weeks to eat a bale of hay.

Maintenance: Fencing and shelter requirements are minimal. The normal five foot wire fence used for other livestock is quite adequate. Shelter can be as simple as a three-sided shed to offer protection from wind, rain and sun.

Llamas are a very hardy animal, however, a regular annual preventative inoculation program is recommended to keep them in good health. A regular deworming program takes care of internal parasites. There are many good veterinarians in most areas familiar with llamas and their needs.

Depending upon the terrain on which they are kept toenails may have to be trimmed once or twice a year, a job usually done with nippers.

Transportation: Llamas are easy to load and transport. Many llamas have traveled in a minivan, RV, boat, plane or even a station wagon!                         

Tax Advantages There are many tax advantages associated with llama breeding as a business, including the ability to claim as legitimate deductions, travel expenses to conferences, sales and shows, cost of feed, insurance, auto and truck expenses, taxes, entertainment, labor, interest on business loans, utilities, equipment and property repairs, etc. Llamas may be capitalized and depreciated, as can other capitol expenditures such as fencing and machinery. (Please check with your tax advisor for specifics and read IRS tax Publication #225 "Farmer’s Tax Guide".)

More importantly, llamas are by far the safest and easiest to care for of any domestic livestock, and are a unique lifestyle investment the whole family will enjoy. 


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Llamas with Style!


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