The Twenty-one Most Commonly Asked
Llama Questions

1. What do you do with  a llama?
There are many uses for a llama, but the first consideration to owning llamas should be a love of animals and the enjoyment of being around them.  Llamas are by nature very intelligent, gentle, and quiet animals.  They are relatively inexpensive to maintain, and are cooperative and patient in training.  There are seven main uses for a llama:
A) breeding animals as a source of income
B) a packing beast of burden
C) a source of wool
D) a pet and companion
E) as transportation to pull carts and sleighs ( this takes MUCH training)
F) a show competition animal, or 4H project
G) a guardian animal for sheep, goats, or cattle.

2. What do llamas cost?
Within the last few years, with the economy plummeting, many llama breeders are selling their animals for very reduced prices. In the past, the average price of males at weaning age ( 7-8 months) with little or no training was $400-$800.
Breeding males $1500 and up; weaning age females $1500 and up; 
mature and/or bred females $2000 and up.
Of course, training, conformation, wool quality, and lineage always play an important part in pricing. Nowadays, you can find llamas for just about any price. We encourage you to beware a bargain that sounds too good to be true. It probably is. There is no such thng as a free animal! Remember, these are livestock and as such, take specialized care. Buyer Beware!

3. How long do llamas live?
15 to 20 years is the average lifespan of a llama

4. What do llamas eat?
Llamas eat grass, hay, and grain, and as browsers, also like bark and twigs.
For treats they love cut up apples and carrots.

5. How much do llamas eat?
A acre of good pasture can support 4 llamas or you can estimate one bale of hay
lasting 7 days for one llama.
Figure $20-$30 a month for two llamas.

6. Do llamas spit?
Yes, but llamas usually only spit at other llamas to establish and keep
a pecking order and for discipline.
An abused or very frightened llama may spit at any threat.

7. What sounds do llamas make?
Llamas, hum, cluck, orgle, and whinny, but the hum is most common.

8. Do llamas need much veterinary care?
Normally very healthy, llamas do require yearly inoculations, rabies shots, and periodic deworming for intestinal parasites.  In this area, they also require monthly deworming for meningeal worm carried by the white tailed deer.  This parasite can cause paralysis and death in a llama.

9. Do llamas have to be sheared?
Yes -  in the east, most llamas should be sheared to enable them to keep cool in the summer months. Llamas can die from heat stress or complications stemming from such.  Shearing can be done with scissors or machine shears and most llamas tolerate it well.  Prime, clean fiber is non-allergenic and can be used to make clothing, hats, purses, etc.

10. Do llamas make good pets?
Because of their intelligence and gentle nature, llamas are delightful pets
 and are very good with children.
Gelded males or non-pregnant females are recommended for pets. Just remember, they need another of their kind for companionship.

11. How big do llamas get?
Just like people, llamas come in all colors, shapes and sizes.
Most mature llamas will weigh between 250– 400 pounds and stand 4-6 feet tall.

12. Do llamas smell?
Llamas have a very good sense of smell but little body odor and their manure is almost odor free.

13. How much room do you need to keep llamas?
Llamas can be kept on very small acreage but it is best that they have
 a good exercise area for health reasons.

14. What kind of fencing or shelter do they need?
Llamas need at least a three sided shelter to protect them from the hot sun,  wind, rain and snow.
Fencing can be board, electric wire, or field wire.  Barbed wire is NOT acceptable. Fans in the summer help to prevent heat stress.

15. Can you ride a llama?
Only children under 50 pounds could ride a llama  preferably on a well made pack saddle —although great packers, llamas can not withstand weight directly on their spine; pack saddles distribute the weight evenly over the ribcage.

16. How much weight can they carry?
 A mature, conditioned llama can carry about 1/4  - 1/3 of their body weight.

17. What is their gestation?
11– 11 1/2 months

18. How big are the babies when they are born and do they ever have twins?
Birth weights range from 20 –35 pounds on average and
twinning is very rare due to the size of the baby.

19. What do you call babies, males, and females?
Most breeders call them babies, males and females for clarity,
but some call babies “crias” the Spanish word for llama babies.  Castrated males may be called geldings and breeding males are called studs.
20. How do you transport llamas?
Llamas travel easily and usually lie down or ‘kush”.  They should not be tied when traveling and can be trained to go in covered pickup trucks, vans, and horse trailers.
21. Can I keep just one llama?
Like potato chips, you can’t have just one.  Llamas are herd dependent and need to be with their own kind, so you need at least two.  Some mature llamas can adapt to being kept with sheep or goats as a guardian animal.

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Last Updated April 2011