When it comes to animals you may raise at home, maybe llamas aren’t the first thing that comes to mind.
But llamas are great for raising on your farm and are pretty easy to raise as well.
The top tips for raising llamas include making sure they have enough hay and water, making sure they are dewormed each year, raising them to be handled by humans at an early age, not getting in between two fighting llamas, considering how many llamas you want to get, having a shelter in place for the llamas, and shearing their fur and cutting their toenails on a regular basis.
Read on to find out help to make your llamas happy animals.
There are so many upsides to have llamas on your farm.
First off, llamas are great protectors.
Llamas like to have control of their space, so if another animal takes a step onto your land and that animal doesn’t belong, the llama is going to do what it can to protect all your animals.
This is the opposite of what you might get from an alpaca, which doesn’t act as a protector.
The llama can also step in to be a protector in the case where your animals might not appreciate having a dog there for protection.
Second, llamas are bred to be pack animals, so they can carry just about of third of their body weight (somewhere around 100 lbs total).
So if you have projects around the house or you want to go on a hike or camping, the llama might be a good source for carrying all or most of the items that you’ll need.
Third, while their fibers are not as coveted as an alpaca’s fiber, you can probably still make some good money off of the llama fiber.
And fourth, the manure from a llama is actually quite good for your garden.
According to MudProject.org:
Perhaps the most significant perk of llama poo is that the fresh manure can be applied directly to plants without risk of “burning” them. The high nitrogen content in the manure of most other livestock makes it “hot,” and will cause leaves to brown and stunt growth if not composted with carbon-rich materials before applying. Not llama manure! Llama poo is considered “cool” because it can be used fresh on all but the most sensitive plants.https://mudproject.org/5-ways-to-use-llama-manure-in-your-garden/
Llama raising tips
Make sure they have enough hay and water
Just like any other animal, you need to make sure that your llama has plenty of food and water.
According to PetAssure.com:
Provide a clean, fresh supply of hay for your llama, unless you are keeping him in a pasture where he has access to plenty of grasses. Avoid feeding llamas grains and seeds unless you have a female llama that is either pregnant or lactating. Llamas will eat about 10 to 12 pounds of hay per day, or about 2 to 4 percent of their body weight.https://www.petassure.com/new-newsletters/pet-llamas/
So a llama will eat a few flakes from your hay bale.
With a 60 lb hay bale, that should last you about 4 to 5 days, so make sure to stock up enough.
But also keep in mind not to feed your llama too much at once.
A llama, when it sees the hay, will begin eating it and not stop.
Essentially they will gorge themself on the hay.
So make sure you are only giving them between that 10 to 12 lbs.
If you have a pasture, then they should have plenty to eat, though you might need to supplement the grass a little bit with some hay.
Also just avoid giving the llama any grains or seeds or they could get very sick.
A llama can also drink between 2 to 3 gallons of water a day, so make sure to have a trough big enough to provide all the water that they need.
Get your llamas dewormed
A llama should be dewormed at least twice a year to make sure they stay healthy.
If you don’t deworm your llamas, your whole entire flock could be infested and that could lead to major death around your farm.
Consult with your local veterinarian to ensure that the proper schedule is followed for deworming your llama (which should typically be around twice a year).
Raise llamas to be handled by humans
There is a very fine line when handling a llama.
You want to make sure that your llama is comfortable around people, but not so comfortable that they start to treat certain people like they are another llama.
Llamas can maintain an established order of dominance just like we would call a pecking order, where one llama is lower down on the pecking order than the others.
And typically a more dominant llama will pick fights with the “lower” llamas to make sure the established order stays the same.
They pick fights with each other by spitting at one another, kicking each other, or neck wrestling.
If a llama gets too familiar with us, then will do the same with us in order to keep the order of dominance.
It is also important to not get in between two llamas that are fighting.
Llamas can be quite vicious when fighting between each other, especially when two males are involved.
The males will fight each other for the right to breed with the female llamas.
And the male llama kicking has been known to kill people.
They can also leave other llamas pretty battered and bruised after a fight.
Some farmers will even elect to have the males fighting teeth removed when they grow to maturity, as the fighting teeth can do quite a bit of damage to other llamas.
On the flip side, if the llamas are not familiar enough with humans, they won’t feel comfortable being groomed by them or having a veterinarian treating them for worms or other types of vaccinations they may need.
So, make sure that if you are bottle-feeding a llama at a very young age, that the time spent with the llama is very minimal.
As they get older, it is ok to feed them and brush them, but just make sure to not spend any unnecessary time with them.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be spit on by a llama.
How many llamas to get
Previously we talked about alpacas and how alpacas are very sociable animals, so they like to have more than one of them in a group.
Llamas are not the same though.
While they too are sociable animals, they do much better off with one or two of them in a group.
This means that you can have one and not have to worry about that one getting into fights with other llamas.
And because llamas are such good guardians, with just the one, they can spend their time focusing on keeping all of the other animals on the farm safe.
So if you only want to get one or two, a llama is a good option to have.
If you want more than that, consider an alpaca.
Llamas are pretty hardy animals.
Because of their full coats, they can withstand pretty cold temperatures, and then wind and rain.
But that doesn’t mean that they should be without shelters.
You don’t need to go all out and get a barn for your llamas.
They might actually not like being in a barn, since there is only one exit and they might feel trapped.
So the best thing for your llamas is going to be a three sided structure like an out building or some type of tree cover.
The out building is a good option because it can be a place they escape to if they want to get out of the wind.
Just make sure that the one open side of the structure is the side that doesn’t get the wind, otherwise the structure will be pointless.
But mostly the llamas might need some shade during the summer months and to get away from the rain and snow in the winter months.
So some tree cover might be good for that as well.
Shear their fur
Again, comparing alpacas to llamas, alpacas produce quite a bit more fur than llamas do.
While alpacas produce about 10 lbs of fur a year, a llama will only product about 2 to 5 lbs.
This doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be sheared.
If a llama isn’t sheared regularly (every one or two years), they could overheat in the summer.
So if it seems like your llama has a thick coat, then shear them in the beginning of the spring and by the winter they should have a coat long enough to keep them warm.
Trim their toenails
How often you are going to trim your llamas toenails depends on how much they walk around and the surfaces they walk on.
If they tend to walk on hard surfaces, they may not need their toenails trimmed as often.
If they mostly walk in fields among hay and soft ground, then you will find you need to spend more time trimming the toenails.
It should be as easy as using pruning shears to trim their toenails and if their toenails are especially rough, then hoof nippers would be a good replacement.
Have enough land
Llamas actually don’t need a whole lot of land to live on.
It is recommended that you have at least an acre for every six llamas you have.
If you have less than six llamas, then you will need less than one acre.
Plus, the more land you have, if you can grow hay or any other grass on it, then you can allow the llamas to graze and then the less you have to actually feed the llamas.
Supplement their diet
There are a few things that you might need to supplement into your llamas diet.
First, provide for them salt or minerals.
Don’t purchase a salt block like you would for a sheep because llamas cannot lick like other animals.
Also, give them corn in the winter to help keep them warm and give them energy.
Llamas are a farm animal that is gaining popularity within the United States.
They are known as good pack animals, guard animals, and are pretty easy to take care of.
Just make sure to give them a good shelter, give them enough land to graze on and walk around, shear them on a regular basis, trim their toenails, and supplement their diet when needed.