Llama information

Guard llamas!

I saw a great video on Facebook the other day of a llama (vicuna) chasing off a fox!

Check out Ashwood Llamas facebook page to see the video yourself.

Llamas do make good guard animals and can be used to guard sheep, chickens and other livestock.

However, be warned, not all llamas make good guard animals, females with young cria will be more interested in protecting the cria than anything else in the field.

Young male llamas in the natural environment would be the guard animals as the dominant male will have the females around him and the youngsters will head out to ward off the predator.

Ashwood llamas does have one male llama available that would make a good guard llama – Llancellot – check him out.


Llamas & some characteristics!

Llamas and some characteristics!

Did you know that llamas have a gestation period of 11.5 months.

Did you also know that it can be as long as 13.5 months – llamas tend to have their cria (baby llamas) during daylight hours (between 8am and 4pm) and if they haven’t had the cria before then they will hold on until the next day. During the summer months they can hold on for days waiting for a nice sunny day!

Did you know that llamas have a dung pile? In most instances they will go to toilet in the same place in a field, unlike a lot of domestic farm animals that will go just anywhere anytime, llamas can and will hold on until they can get to their dung pile before going to the toilet.

Did you know that llamas have an elliptical red blood cell? This can hold more oxygen than  normal red blood cells enabling to live and work at very high altitudes.

Did you know that llamas eyes are wide set? This enables them to have near 360 degree vision. This also makes them very kinetically aware and they rarely trip or knock things over in tight spaces.


Do llamas spit?

Yes, llamas spit, but very rarely at people.

Within their own herd they use this as a warning to other llamas in food & breeding disputes. It is also a way of keeping the herd pecking order in place or to establish the herd hierarchy.

It is much safer than biting & kicking.

However, some llamas are brought up to believe that humans are part of their herd, notably zoo reared llamas. They come into contact with lots of different people every day and each day they see this new person as a new arrival to their herd. They may well spit at that person to let them know that the llama is higher in the pecking order than they are!

Llamas that have been brought up on a farm or smallholdings only meet new people on special occasions, and they do not see the new person as part of the herd, and therefore they do not spit at them.

Can you milk a llama?

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!