Llama Uses
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A common question to llama breeders is, "What do you do with llamas?" There are so many uses of llamas! Llamas by their nature make people feel more comfortable.  Llamas are calm, quiet and majestic; the spirit of the llama is contagious to the people around them.

Llamas can save you money.  Like any other livestock, llama-breeding stock can be depreciated and deducted from your tax bill*.  Llamas can also be very profitable.  If you enjoy making money and having fun at the same time, llamas are for you.  Llamas have a proven track record over many decades as being profitable.  Over the last 10 years, show quality llamas have consistently demanded prices in five figures, with some approaching six figures.

It is worth diversifying your portfolio to include llamas for more reasons than just making money.  Llamas also bring you and your family fun and increased pleasure, and llamas will enhance your pride.  Llamas are very prestigious; just take time to observe their proud, majestic presence and gentle disposition.

After you become a llama owner, your answer to the question, "What do you do with llamas?" will be, "What do you do without llamas?"  

Llama Shows  

The joy and pride of owning beautiful llamas have created a desire to show them to the rest of the world. The Alpaca and Llama Show Association sanctions over 144 llama shows in North America. Just as horses, dogs and other domesticated livestock, there's an excitement level that brings young and old together in friendly competition to be awarded for the breeding, training and handling of these intelligent animals.  Small and large groups gather together to have their llamas judged for conformation, balance, structure and performance.  You will see pack llamas negotiating courses with real obstacles such as water crossing and downed trees. There are children who have worked with their 4H programs, children with special needs, individuals who have never had their hands on other large animals, retired farmers, dentists, lawyers, homemakers and school teachers.  They all share in the fun and excitement of llama shows. You will be amazed at the natural athletic ability shown by the llama as he gently, calmly pursues an obstacle course or his cooperation to dress in costumes and his undivided attention to his handler.

Today the show circuit is enhanced with the well-organized Alpaca and Llama Show Association (the show association).  Many local shows have become encouraged to become ALSA-sanctioned so that they can be involved with regional shows and a Grand National show.  ALSA has more than 2,700 farm memberships and 589 youth members.  Members participating in ALSA have also been rewarded with premiums.  Many exhibitors promote their llamas as having been participants and winners.  This has promoted higher prices for those animals and has, in fact, resulted in many sales.

Pack Llamas
For more information on packing with llamas...here

Many people use their llamas for packing.  Because of the llama's easy-going nature, and its kindness to the environment, young and old are enjoying wilderness treks that they would not encounter with other pack animals.  Backpacking with tents and gear proves to be more work than enjoyment.  Now, with llamas carrying extra wine and cheeses and all the comforts of home, more people are hitting the trails.  They receive comfort knowing that the inquisitive stare of a llama will soon fluster a predator.  They enjoy the one-on-one relationship they develop with their pack companion.  They appreciate the opportunity this animal gives them to explore and find the hidden beauties of our land, the opportunity to escape with friends from hectic working hours, to find quiet moments to share the more valuable things in life.

The most notable advantage of llamas as packers is their low environmental impact.  Their soft padded feet may actually damage the trail less than the average hiker. They are much smaller than most equine pack stock with the average pack llama weighing between 300 and 400 pounds.  Llamas require much less to drink than most pack stock.  They are members of the camel family and obtain much of their water needs from what they eat. Llamas are natural browsers, meaning that as they graze they are taking a bit here and there and leave little trace of their passing.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture classifies llamas as "farm animals".  Llamas have been studied and found to be highly resistant to major livestock diseases.  There are no cases where a llama has been suspect in the transmission of any livestock disease to other livestock or wildlife.

Since llamas are relatively new on the North American hiking scene, owners must become educated as to their care and handling on the trail.  Most businesses that lease pack llamas usually do so after the client has taken a half-day course on llama packing.  Llama associations and clubs also provide educational material for new owners on the subject of llama packing. For more information on packing with llamas...here 

A story about a family hiking with llamas
Along the Great Divide

Llama Fiber - Wool

 
Both are dressed in Llama fiber. 
The vest is manufactured by

One of the most prized byproducts of llamas is their fiber. Hand spinners, knitters, weavers and crafters all appreciate the softness and warmth of llama fiber. The variety of natural colors and the absence of lanolin are other qualities found in llama hair.

    Llamas can be shorn annually or bi-annually, depending upon the growth rate of the llama's fiber and preferences of the owner.

    Commercial processors are located in various parts of the United States and Canada; they clean, card, pick, spin and ply the fiber, turning raw fiber into rovings, yarn, and felt.

For more information on llama fiber...here

Llamas: Carts and Driving

Llama owners who have taken time to train their llamas to drive carts are receiving many benefits.  Cart driving is probably the most difficult of the skills asked of the llama, but also one of the most rewarding and fun when it has been accomplished.  The equipment used should be especially designed for llamas, as the llama's stride is significantly longer than that of the pony. There are several harness designs available, several of which have been designed similar to horse or pony harness. 

Presently, most people are driving carts with either one, two or three llamas.  Cart driving has many uses, both in the show ring and for general recreation. Audiences admire the teamwork and communication shown between the llama and the driver.

There is much personal fun to be had around the farm, through the back country, down the roads, in parades, on PR visits, in costume classes, for special occasion drives on holidays and for weddings and birthday celebrations. Most classes in shows are held outdoors on paved surfaces, parkways and parking lots.

Today there are a number of llama driving clinics available in the country

Pet Therapy with Llamas  

Llamas are being used successfully with elderly and handicapped persons. Nursing Homes are delighted when llamas are brought for a visit.  

Llamas make good therapy animals because they are intuitive and curious with new people and surroundings.  Llamas seem to sense the needs of others and are giving and gentle animals. They do not react negatively to people that others would see as different.  Llamas seem to bring out the personality of the shyest person. After leaving a nursing home, you will feel so rewarded for the joy that your llama and you brought to others.

*Consult your tax advisor as to the many advantages of owning llamas.

Guard Llamas - Guard Llamas may offer an alternative for effective predator management. Llamas can provide an effective, long-term and economical alternative for predator control in a variety of farm and ranch conditions. More information about guard llamas in a Research Report from the Iowa State University and a True Story... HERE

Alive with Llamas
 the video tape that tells the whole story... "Why Llamas?"
see the Video NOW

 
2001  Midwest Manufacturing, Inc.
d/b/a Llama Lifestyle Marketing Association 
 bob@llama.org