Keeping Llamas

Information about looking after and caring for your llama

llama shelters

Llamas are herd animals and a lone llama would be a very unhappy creature indeed. Prospective new owners need to consider purchasing at least two llamas of the same sex therefore, unless the llama is to live with other suitable companion animals such as alpacas. Llamas are quite a bit larger than alpacas, but both are camelids, and as such their basic requirements are very similar , although llamas tend to be calmer, easier to train and more biddable than alpacas.

Llamas are for the most part very intelligent, gentle animals, with highly individual personalities. In general male llamas tend to take a greater interest in humans, with breeding female llamas being perhaps slightly more aloof. Male llamas are more commonly used for their trekking, packing and guarding skills. Female llamas usually make naturally very good mothers and both sexes can provide fine wool for hand-spinners.

llama trekking

Llamas make delightful field pets, needing free-draining ground, a basic field shelter and a simple handling facility. Fencing should ideally exclude barbed wire and may need to be a little higher than average , more obviously so if you intend to keep both sexes . Some dry hardstanding will also be appreciated by your llama and it helps to keep his toe nails trimmed ! In addition to grazing and browsing hedgerows llamas require a vitamin and mineral supplement and access to hay , particularly over the winter.

Llamas are intelligent animals , and most have a gentle curious temperament , responding well to basic training and handling. Once taught to accept a halter and lead rope, a willing receptive llama can then be taught to carry a pack, to go on short treks, and even to pull a simple cart . although this does take rather more skill . Some llamas can be encouraged to become guard llamas, protecting against foxes, dogs and other predators. A guard llama will look after the young cria in the herd, but may also be used to protect young lambs and chickens against foxes, especially if he has been raised in the company of these animals. A llama can be a useful addition to a herd of unruly alpacas, where the llama assumes the role of leader of the pack. Care should always be taken when introducing a new llama to a dog, even if the dog is already used to llamas and alpacas. Most can learn to co-exist quite happily, but in the first instance, the llama will see the dog as a natural enemy or threat.