We had an interesting call from a so-called would be buyer.
Alarm bells started ringing within minutes of having the conversation, but when he suggested that one of the uses he wanted to use a llama for was milking that is when we knew it was a wind-up.
A female llama will normally allow a cria to suckle for around 6 months before they decide enough is enough and they naturally wean the cria. In a controlled environment, around 6 months is when you would take the cria away from its mum. The cria however is nibbling at hay and grass when it is just a few weeks old and the closer to weaning the less reliant it is on its mothers milk.
A llama doesn’t have a big udder, and produces little milk, but just enough for bringing up a single cria, no huge udder and certainly not enough to warrant milking. A single cria is normal for a llama and twins are very rare.
I am sure in the Andes that they may well be milked, but here in the UK it is very unlikely that anyone would go to the trouble.
So, if you do want to buy a llama, milking is not a good reason to buy one!