are Lovable ~ Training ~ Support
~ Caring for Llamas and Alpacas
have a dignified, aristocratic manner about them.
Because of their curiosity, they have a delightful habit of
coming close to sniff strangers. Despite
your natural temptation to hug and cuddle them, they prefer not to be
petted except on their necks and woolly backs.
They are highly social animals and need the companionship of
another llama or other grazing livestock. To increase your enjoyment and
to satisfy the llama's natural herd instincts think about owning at
communicate their moods with a series of tail, body and ear postures and
this llama language is one of the joys of ownership.
Humming is a common manner of communication between llamas and
indicates a variety of moods from contentedness to aggression.
Another interesting llama expression is the shrill, rhythmic
alarm call emitted at the sight of a strange animal or a frightening
viewed in a pasture or glimpsed in the wild, all llamas have a striking
beauty owed to their elegant wool and graceful posture.
Llama wool ranges from white to black, with shades of gray,
brown, red and roan in between. Markings
can be a variety of patterns from solid to spotted.
llamas weigh an average of 280 to 350 pounds, but can range from 250 to
500 pounds. Full body size
is reached by the fourth year, and while there are no obvious
differences between the sexes, males tend to be slightly larger.
They are long-lived, with a normal life span of 15 to 20 years.
The Lovable Livestock
Raising llamas is fun. These unique animals are rewarding, both mentally and financially.
Whether they began raising llamas for a hobby as a business, many llama
owners have had their lives totally changed by these lovable, easy-to-care-for
creatures. One can quickly become
a member of the growing ranks of llama lovers.
No matter how long you own llamas, you can learn something from or
about them every day. They are
kind, clean, quiet, peaceful, stoic, cute, uncomplaining and beautiful.
One of the greatest joys of owning llamas is knowing
others who share the same unique interest and enthusiasm for these special
animals. The growth of this
exciting young industry has been spurred by the cooperation and sharing of
information among llama owners. Llama
owners care about their animals and provide information for new and potential
You Need to Know About Llamas
are gentle and peaceful enough for the whole family
alert and curious
pasture and live very compatibly with other animals
Llamas are easy to care for
are intelligent and easily trained
Llamas are clean and virtually odorless
are easy to raise and handle
Llamas are easy to fence and house
make outstanding companions
Llamas can be trained to pull pony carts
are excellent for packing
Llamas make excellent jogging or hiking partners
are easily transported
Llamas can be shown in halter classes or
come in various colors
Llamas have attractive, soft wool - excellent for
are relatively disease-resistant and readily adaptable to most climates
have beautiful, soft, cute babies and last but not least
. . .
Llamas make you happy!
are an extremely efficient utilizer of food and easy to care for.
Their typical diet consists of grassy hay along with a grain and
free-choice mineral supplement specifically formulated for llamas that serves to
provide added nutrients not available in their hay.
Fresh, clean water should always be available as well.
care is minimal, yet having an experienced vet on call is important.
Generally very hardy animals, llamas require routine worming and annual
vaccinations for their protection. Handling
your llamas and watching their daily routine is your best aid to determine if
your llama is feeling ill or uncomfortable.
Insurance is available for full mortality and theft, for named perils or
for special events.
are very adaptive to climates, usually needing very simple shelters to protect
them from the hot sun in summer and the cold winds in winter.
Fencing requirements will vary based on location and should be designed
to keep llamas in and predators out. A
simple five-foot, woven wire fence can accomplish this economically and with
minimal effort and expense.
hard to find other domesticated animals that take so little care and expense to
Our Silent Companion
are easily trained and seem to enjoy going different places.
They can climb into a van or pickup truck and visit schools and nursing
homes. Their intelligence,
curiosity and even temperament make them ideal to share with elderly persons in
wheelchairs, handicapped children and the blind.
The presence of a llama, the touch of their soft wool, the sound of their
soft hum brings smiles and joy to everyone.
Wherever there are gatherings of many people, at parties, parades and
fairs, we find llamas driving pony carts, joining a driving team to pull large
wagons and dressed in holiday and party attire. Llamas are ambassadors of goodwill and stimulate the
excitement of crowds everywhere.
you own an acre or a ranch with hundreds of acres, owning llamas becomes a joy,
not a challenge, due to the well-mannered, clean nature of these beautiful,
sensitive and intelligent creatures. Owning
llamas is unique to each farm and location where they are being raised, but,
surely, from each llama owner you will hear the same story: "Just having
them in my backyard is an enjoyment. Listening
to their peaceful humming, receiving an inquisitive kiss, what more could I find
with any other animal?"
4-H groups across the country are becoming involved with llama projects. The
raising, breeding and training of llamas is an interesting and escalating
industry and one which is anticipated to be continually improving. Since many
4-H members are already owners or are very interested in these domesticated
animals, it is important that they become aware or this rapidly growing
industry. Llama projects are designed to acquaint members with the care,
management and marketing of llamas. For more information on 4-H contact Rocky
Mountain Llama and Alpaca Association.
the Magic of Llamas!
community of llama owners is a great big circle of friends.
Many people find llamas present them with a whole new lifestyle, a
lifestyle where the pace is slower, the joys are more frequent and where the
love you give your animals comes right back to you 100 times over.
find their way into the lives of many different people, mainly because of their
docile temperament, cleanliness and graceful appearance.
From schools to nursing homes, hospitals to parades, hiking trails to
golf courses, llamas are everywhere and always bringing joy to those they meet.
events can be found all over the United States for people and llamas of all ages
and perspectives. There are performance and halter classes to be found at over
144 ALSA llama shows across the country. Festivals,
organizational meetings and llama sales, either private or public, offer both
the novice and the experienced llama buyer an opportunity to socialize and
expand their herd.
no reason, other than just owning them, individuals have found llamas to be
companions for quiet walks. A
docile and gentle nature makes the llama non-threatening and safe even around
small children. The fun, excitement, emotional satisfaction, rewards and
investment opportunities of owning llamas have become known across the country
and llamas' popularity is steadily growing.
llama owners have never had hands-on experience with other large animals.
There are many new owners who receive a great deal of information and
training from the individuals who sell them llamas.
However, it is like a neonatal class - it's always a little different
when the baby actually arrives.
good news is that in the llama industry there are a great many places from which
to receive help and assistance.
llama owners belong to regional and national organizations.
Most of these organizations will have annual or even semi-annual
conferences. This is a wonderful
opportunity to be educated on all the up-to-date methods of housing, feeding,
vaccinating, birthing and overall management of llamas.
Many conferences host some of our country's most educated llama vets,
nutritionists and feed consultants.
conferences also give owners an opportunity to socialize with other breeders who
are always willing and anxious to tell their own llama stories.
typical llama conference will also include a marketing expert who will share,
from their own past experiences, marketing concepts and advertising plans that
have worked for them. Many llama
get-togethers will include training and showmanship workshops as well.
conferences and llama events become gatherings that we took forward to
attending. Every time we speak to
another llama owner, we learn something that will benefit our own programs.
The quest for the perfect llama is what drives every llama enthusiast.
After matching your top female with your best herdsire, you will wait one
long year to see what the combination of genes will produce.
The excitement of a llama birth never ends.
With great anticipation you discover its sex, color, markings,
conformation and wool quality, and watch over the next year as it matures.
It was once felt that all you needed were average females bred to great males to
produce at the top of the market. With
the emergence of the Alpaca and Llama Show
Association (ALSA), and increased breeder awareness, it is now known that to
win at the big shows and add value to your herd, a breeder needs to breed both
quality males and females.
Your goals as a breeder and what appeals to your eye will determine which llamas
to purchase and what females to breed to which males.
Do you want to produce a tall, eloquent llama with a good foundation and
bone size or a smaller framed llama with smaller bones?
Other things to look at are wool placement, ear shape, conformation,
bloodline, South American influence, temperament, presence and color.
Not every perfect trait will be found in one llama, so we take the good
qualities of the female and try to add to it with complimentary traits from the
herdsire - all in a quest to produce what the breeder sees in his mind as the
The llama industry has been in existence in the United States for many decades
with a proven track record. However,
it remains a very young and growing industry.
Unlike other elite livestock industries, all llama breeders can start
with a moderate investment and compete at the top level in shows and sales
within two or three years.
The best advice is to start with high quality llamas, and start today.
The quicker you start, the sooner you will see a return, both on the
financial side and the emotional side.
Llamas generally have one baby per birth after a gestation period of 350 days.
They have few birthing problems. They
give birth in a standing position with the presentation being front feet first
and head next. Most births occur in
the daytime and happen within 15 to 30 minutes.
Babies are on their feet and nursing within the first hour.
Weight of a normal baby varies between 18 to 30 pounds.
Mothers are protective and hum to keep babies close.
Babies begin to eat roughage after several weeks and can be weaned at 6
months of age.
Maturity occurs at different ages for different llamas. Females weighing at
least 250 pounds are bred for the first time between 18 and 24 months. They are
induced ovulators and will breed at any time of the year. There are no outward
signs of an estrus cycle, but the male seems to know when a female will accept
him. A male typically is ready to begin breeding between two and three years of
age. A female remains fertile up to 20 years, if in good health.
Most births occur without human intervention and are simply a joy to behold, as
the mama and her new baby get acquainted and are comforted by the others in
are Lovable ~ Training ~ Support
~ Caring for Llamas and Alpacas