General Llama Information

Herd dependent, llamas should always be kept near others of their kind, unless used as a guardian animal,  Two llamas can be kept easily on an acre of  pasture. They eat a minimal amount of grain  and need mostly hay or pasture of some sort and a mineral supplement.

Llamas do require yearly inoculations and  in this area they need monthly deworming as they are susceptible to a parasite carried by the white-tailed deer.  They are almost odorless and use a communal dung pile. Their pelleted manure   is great as a non-burning  garden fertilizer.

     

The lifespan for llamas is 15 to 25 years with a gestation period of 350 days. Mothers generally carry a single cria and most give birth during the warmest part of the day.  Crias are totally defenseless and dependant upon the sun to dry them as the mothers do not lick their young.  They usually are standing and nursing within an hour.

     

Since their native habitat is the colder climates of the South American Andes Mountains,  shearing  llamas and providing plenty of shade helps them withstand the heat of our summers.  

Llamas love to bask in the sunlight and roll in the dirt.  This “dirt bath” not only is a good scratching tool, but helps keep the loft in their fiber which aids in cooling and allowing the rain and snow to run off and not penetrate to the skin.

  

As prey  animals, llamas are alert and  cautious about being touched.  Once taught to overcome their natural fears, they respond well to handling.  Our llamas normally keep their “defense spitting” for establishing dominance at feeding time or defending their “personal space.” Some animals that have been  abused or been in “petting zoos” may spit at any threat.   “Spoiled” llamas or those which have been hand–fed may have learned bad habits which could include spitting and treating humans the same as any other “llama.”

     

Llama fleece is soft, clean, and warm.  Lacking the lanolin of sheep wool, clean llama  fleece comes off the animal ready to spin into beautiful yarns.  Many of our llamas produce soft, silky fiber which we use in various felting, spinning, weaving, and other needlework projects.

Not only fabulous fiber producers, llamas make great companions.  Gentle yet curious creatures, once trained, they can be handled by all ages.  They are used as competition animals for conformation and  performance classes in the showring, 4H projects, hiking/packing  companions, & pet therapy. 

 In many parts of the world, llamas have become very effective guard animals for sheep, goats, and cattle.   Our boys have become adept at sharing their grazing space with a few sheep.  Undemanding and gentle, llamas can establish a unique bond with their care-givers and are a joy  to own! 

     

ADDITIONAL LLAMA INFORMATION:  
 

The Twenty-one Most Commonly Asked Llama Questions
 

Living the Llama Lifestyle

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Last Updated 21 March 2010