Llamas for Your Mamas

Have you ever considered adding llamas to your farm? The “lama” family includes both alpacas and llamas as far as domesticated animals go, and vicunas and guanacos that are wild animals native to the South American wilds. There are prehistoric fossils that suggest these animals originally came from North American and then migrated about four thousand years ago to the lands where they are native now in Peru, Chile, and Bolivia. These animals can grow to be around three to four hundred pounds full grown.

Llamas have become quite popular here in the the United States for many different reasons. For one, they can be shorn every other year and their fiber used for clothing. This fiber can be black, brown, white, or any variation between. Llamas also make great guardian and pack animals. Some people in South America are known to eat roasted llama and say it is quite tasty, but it is unlikely here in the United States. Most people seem to own llamas merely because they are cute animals and their owners enjoy them.

Llama fiber is not a desirable fiber because it has a mix of fine under fiber and coarse guard hairs all together. It takes a lot of effort to separate the fibers and, even then, you can only expect to sell it for around $2 an ounce. Even that price is dependent on the color of the fiber. As far as the fiber is concerned, alpacas are way superior to llamas in quality. The alpaca isn’t as versatile as the llama, though, because it is not a guardian or pack animal.

An adult llama can pack, or carry, a third of their total weight, even over terrain that is rough in high altitudes. There are even some wilderness adventure companies that plan successful outdoor treks that feature llamas as pack animals. Many people also use them as guard animals for their herds of sheep or goats since the llama will naturally attack coyotes.

There are several farms around us that raise llamas. One farmer that does roofing in Plano, TX has made quite a farm of llamas, using them for trail rides. There are many things llamas are good for. Maybe you should consider a few for yourself.