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Llama are Lovable ~ Training ~ Support ~ Caring for Llamas and Alpacas

Llamas 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 least two.

Llamas communicate their moods with a series of tail, body and ear postures and vocalizations.  Learning 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 situation.

Whether 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.

Mature 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.

Llama: 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 llama owners.

What You Need to Know About Llamas

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Llamas are gentle and peaceful enough for the whole family

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Llamas are alert and curious

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Llamas pasture and live very compatibly with other animals

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Llamas are easy to care for

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Llamas are intelligent and easily trained

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Llamas are clean and virtually odorless

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Llamas are easy to raise and handle

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Llamas are easy to fence and house

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Llamas make outstanding companions

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Llamas can be trained to pull pony carts

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Llamas are excellent for packing

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Llamas make excellent jogging or hiking partners

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Llamas are easily transported

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Llamas can be shown in halter classes or performance classes

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Llamas come in various colors

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Llamas have attractive, soft wool - excellent for spinning

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Llamas are relatively disease-resistant and readily adaptable to most climates and conditions

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Llamas have beautiful, soft, cute babies and last but not least . . .
 Llamas make you happy!

Llama Care

Llamas 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.

Veterinarian 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.

Llamas 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.

It's hard to find other domesticated animals that take so little care and expense to own.

Llamas: Our Silent Companion

Llamas 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.

Whether 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

Many 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.

Share the Magic of Llamas!

The 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. Llamas 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.

Llama 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.

For 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 "Networks"

Many 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.

The good news is that in the llama industry there are a great many places from which to receive help and assistance.

Most 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.

These conferences also give owners an opportunity to socialize with other breeders who are always willing and anxious to tell their own llama stories.

A 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.

Llama 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.

Llama Breeding

     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 perfect llama.

     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.  

Raising Llamas

     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 their herd.

Llama are Lovable ~ Training ~ Support ~ Caring for Llamas and Alpacas

Caring for Llamas and Alpacas
A good reference for the experienced breeder, excellent gift for the new owner !  
8-1/2" x 11", 167 pages, Over 60 illustrations
~ Topics ~

 
Buying a Llama or Alpaca, Traveling,  Nutrition, Herd Health,  Teeth, Eyes, Wounds, Lumps and Bumps,  Lameness, Heat and Cold,  Reproduction, Newborn,  Injections, Taking a Temperature, Normal Vitals, Poisonous Plants $23.95 plus $4.00 shipping and handling Order HERE 

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