FAQs

Q?Can I have just one llama or do I have to have several?
A.

Llamas do best in groups of at least two, preferable three. Generally, females and breeding males should be separated, so it is best to start with a small group of females and/or gelded males.

Q?Are llamas good guard animals?
A.

Yes. Llamas make great guard animals against predators like bobcats, coyotes and fox, because they are inquisitive and usually detect the approaching threat before the predator can launch an attack. Llamas will stand their ground against the intruder and scare the intruder off with its size rather than to trigger the predator’s attack mechanism by running. Llamas have a more difficult time with packs of wild dogs, because packs are able to surround and attack the llama as a unit.

Q?How much does a llama cost?
A.

Llamas come at different prices. Prices change depending on the genetics, show quality, age, level of training and gender. Typically, gelded males are the cheapest, because they are only used as performance and companion animals ($250-$500). Herdsires (breeding males) are typically the most expensive ($1,500-$10,000) and breeding females range in price based on their past production and genetics ($800-$10,000). Prices can generally be negotiated and package deals are usually available.

Q?“I saw a llama at a petting zoo and it spit on my friend!”
A.

Generally, llamas at petting zoos are cramped, hot and harassed; therefore, they are irritable and unhappy in their conditions. Please don’t judge llamas based on the ones you see in petting zoos. When treated kindly and with love, llamas are sweet and loving.

Q?Do they spit? What are their personalities like?
A.

Typically, no. Just as a dog will bite or a horse will kick, llamas spit. But, llamas don’t spit just to spit. Generally, llamas will spit during feeding time, when fighting for their food bowl. Additionally, llamas will spit when feeling threatened or needing to show dominance over another llama. In general, llamas are very sweet and humble creature and don’t want to spit.

Q?Is llama manure good fertilizer?
A.

Yes! Gardeners will gladly line up to clean your pastures for this great fertilizer!

Q?How many babies can a llama have at a time? How long is their gestation?
A.

A llama has one cria (baby llama) at a time and is pregnant for about two weeks short of one year (50 weeks). Generally, llamas should be bred to give birth in fall or spring. By planning births like this, you keep your newborn safe from the hot summer temperatures and the freezing cold winter nights.

Q?Can you make a profit off of a llama farm?
A.

Yes. Aside from selling llamas, llama fiber can be sold to spinners at a good price and the only work you have to do is shear it off! Also, llama manure is a great fertilizer and gardeners will line up to buy or scoop up your dung!

Q?How many llamas can you put on an acre?
A.

You can put about six llamas per acre depending on the land and availability of green grass. A healthier pasture with flourishing grass can hold more llamas than a dirt and bare pasture.

Q?What kind of maintenance goes along with owning a llama?
A.

Llamas are fairly simple to own. During the summer, most llamas are sufficient with grass in the fields, but can be supplemented with llama grain or hay if needed. In winter, llamas should be fed hay and grain daily. Clean water should be constantly available, but can be provided by a stream, lake or pond if you don’t have a faucet at your barn. Typically, llamas need a three-sided shelter to get away from rain, snow or the hot sun. Llamas rarely challenge fences, but need some sort of enclosed area, as well as, some sort of catch pen for when you need to catch one of your llamas. Llamas (being from the cold weather mountains of South America) are very susceptible to heat stress. If you live in a warm weather location, llamas need a good source of shade (trees, barns, etc) and fans during the day time. Most owners choose to shear off their animals’ fiber in order to keep them cool.  Some owners also provide kiddy-pools or some type of water source for the llamas to cool off in. It is good to brush your llamas and keep them clean or shear off their fiber for less maintenance. Additionally, llamas need their toe-nails clipped regularly. Medically, llamas have few problems. Regular wormer (based on fecal samples) and annual CD&T needs to be given.  You should have a vet on call for any emergencies.

Q?What is a “pack trial”?
A.

Basically, pack trials are organized by owners to go hiking with their llamas. Many pack trials will include special obstacles to complete with your llamas. If you pass through the obstacles course correctly and meeting special requirements, you can become certified with your llama and receive special recognition.

Q?What is a “llama show”? Where are they? Are they fun? What do you do there?
A.

Each llama show is divided into two parts: performance and halter classes (similar to a dog show). In performance classes, llamas are judged on how well they trust their owner and follow their owner through an obstacle course. Points are deducted when a llama hesitates or refuses to do a task. Examples of some obstacles include: jumps, teeter totters, water pools, touching different areas of your llama, putting items on your llama, changing speeds, walking across bridges or loading in a car or trailer. On the other hand, halter classes judge the confirmation and looks of your llama. Typically, judges look for animals with sound bone structure, a stretchy neck, flat back and straight legs. Additionally, judges look at the animal’s fiber (fleece, fur) and the stride of the animal.

Llama shows can be found all over the country, many times a year. Aside from showing your llamas, many owners get together at shows to talk about their animals and hang out. Most shows include camping options, so that owners can stay on-site at the show. This makes for a lot of fun and extra time to spend with friends!

Q?What is the purpose of having llamas? What do you do with them?
A.

Originally, llamas were raised in South America as pack animals and producers of fiber (wool). Today, llamas are shorn for their fiber, which can be spun into yarn and sold at markets or to hand spinner and wool dyers.   Llama fiber is hypoallergenic  and contains no lanolin so it produces luxurious yarn that is warm and soft without the scratchiness of other natural fibers.  Also, llamas are very smart and curious creatures and can be easily trained. Many owners train their llamas and use them as therapy animals traveling to nursing homes, hospitals or schools.  They may also take their llamas on pack trials, hikes,  or to llama shows. Overall, llamas are very sweet animals, who can be trained just like a horse or a dog. With a little bit of time and love, anyone can train a llama to be a great companion, show champion or hiking partner! Also, some owners will put together 4-H groups with their llamas, where kids can come and work with the llamas, take them to shows and help care for them.   Llamas make a great 4-H option as they are a smart and friendly livestock option that will help teach responsibility, patience, work ethic and the basics of animal husbandry.