Here are some pointers...
(Please also take a look at FAQs
and Talking Llamas)
Male or female?
|Bachelor groups of male (or gelding) llamas can be kept
together, with harmony prevailing most of the time.
|Female groups can also be kept
without a male. |
|Should females be introduced to
a male group, however, then the males will
most likely need to
|If you are sure that you will not
ever want to breed your
llamas, then at generally lower cost
gelding or pet quality male llamas are
the most sensible choice.|
|If you are thinking about
breeding llamas, remember that at some stage youngsters will need to
be separated from the parent stock.|
|A happy herd begins with at
least two or three although the final number is, to some degree, a
question of budget and facilities...|
|A llama should never be kept
without the company of other field stock, preferably one or more
|At least half an acre is
required for two llamas and that is providing you will be able to
let them graze other areas occasionally to rest the land;
otherwise allow at least 3/4 acre of grazing. Thereafter calculate
three llamas to the acre (and four if, again, you are able to rest
the land for periods of time each year).|
|Strip grazing is feasible
where for example more than one, smaller, area is available.
|Llamas do usually bond well with other field stock so a
single llama is not out
of the question providing he or she will be grazed with
other field stock that accept him; sheep, horses, etc. Indeed if to be used as a
guardian it is most effective if a single gelding.
|Bearing in mind your
facilities and growth of your group if you plan to let them breed, if
possible consider a trio or more. In the case of a breeding group,
the male is often apart from the female/s and is to some
degree a 'loner', so two females are company for each other. In the case of a male group, three allows a
greater degree of a group pecking order.|
|That said, ...
If you wish to breed your llamas...
Do you buy a group of females and take them to a stud male each year
for mating? Buy a proven breeding pair? A young pair not yet ready to breed? Or perhaps a
trio of male and two females?
If you wish to start
with youngsters for breeding we do feel that, rather than
starting with a breeding pair, it is better to start
with two or more young females and either add a male the following year or
bring them for stud service for their first mating. A cost
effective option, this
has a number of advantages...
|The nature of the llama
herd or group is such that the females tend to stick together
whilst the male is the outsider, so a pair of females makes a
better "group" than a pair made up of male and female.
|If you start with a
young male and female, there is the possibility that the
female will become pregnant too young. |
|By starting with two or
more females and adding the male later you can be more certain
that the females will not become pregnant too young.
|Bringing your females to
stud the first year of mating allows you to widen your gene
pool considerably. This applies if you plan to buy a male
later or even if you buy a male with your females.
If you do not wish your llamas to breed...
|Female llamas usually cost
than male llamas (except for the higher quality stud quality
males) and in a
non-breeding set-up there is
no gain... so it is sensible to consider males.|
|Entire males are generally as easily
handled as female llamas. They have
none of the ferocity of the bull, nor the pushiness of a ram, nor the wildness of a
stallion, nor the danger of a rutting deer, nor the smell of a billy
It is not,
therefore necessary to geld for temperament.
|Some people consider it kinder,
however, to geld
if the llama/s will never be
used for breeding.
|Gelding is necessary if more than one male is to live with female
Ultimately, however, as with choosing colour, the decision is personal; again
perhaps dependent on personal circumstances, budget, and - importantly - on your
favourite option for buyers of "field pets", male or female, are
yearlings (circa 9-15 months).
We strongly advise, however,
that you do not buy llamas at much under this age.
|For serious breeders, a proven group of adults
removes any uncertainty as to fertility and offers
further advantages ...|
Commercial groups and herds
|Breeding llamas can be a profitable business; there are so many different markets
as you will realise from reading these web pages. These varied markets not only help keep
demand above supply but they also mean that your "eggs are not all in one
basket" such as breeding purely for fibre etc.
|Trekking ventures are proving increasingly popular and for this we recommend at
least four gelded llamas. |
|Adult females may not cost
you a a great deal more than younger ones
depending on quality and as they
should produce calves more quickly,
can offer the potential of a faster return
your outlay. |
|Consider breeding at the
high quality end of the market, however. For whilst you must be
prepared to pay a considerable premium for top quality adult
breeding stock, the returns as well as the satisfaction of
breeding the best, makes this a viable option.|
|Choosing adults means you know precisely what you are getting in terms of size,
final look, temperament etc
|That the llamas
you purchase for breeding are unrelated!
|To offer a wide gene pool, the
herd has been built up with many different bloodlines from imports we have undertaken from
Chile, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Holland, Switzerland,
Austria, France etc... as well
as some UK born stock.|
|Finding good quality adults
can be difficult. Most llamas are sold as youngsters so if adults
are offered, check why. |
... e.g are they of suitable temperament, do they have good
conformation, what is the wool quality and, most importantly, are
they proven fertile?
|Ensure they are suitable for
your intended purpose.|
|Remember that temperaments vary
enormously, so a llama suitable as a livestock guardian, for
example, may not make a suitable field pet and vice versa.|
|Equally if all the important
factors are in place, do expect to pay a premium over an animal
where some of these factors are missing.|
Do think ahead if you
plan to breed your llamas. Although they breed slowly, each female
having only one cria each year, the time when you will need to
separate stock will come within a few months of your first
Remember that llamas can live for twenty years or more, so do not
rush into your decision!
Over the years we
have often received
requests for llamas as
presents for Birthdays, Christmas,
Anniversaries, and even Valentine's
& Wedding presents etc. This is
absolutely fine - a wonderful & unique gift -
certain that the recipient truly
... want the llama/s
... be prepared to keep them for their lifetime (15
... be able to provide appropriate facilities
... have the time to attend them as needed.
If you are considering giving llamas as a
gift and if these factors are met, please see
Llamas are very pleasurable to own.
By nature they are gentle and even-tempered.
Anyone, including young children, should be able to wander freely
and perfectly at ease among them including stud males and mothers
with young calves etc.
As with all animals,
the wrong nurture can
create a problem llama:
totally irresponsibly some llamas are deliberately hand-reared
or over-handled as youngsters in order to
provide "cute and cuddly"
babies for a 'Pets
Corner', or to
make them more saleable, or through sheer
ignorance... Whatever the reason, when they grow up these
will become unacceptably difficult and uncontrollable. So...
hand-reared llamas unless you understand fully,
and are able to deal with, their
potential to become unpleasant and even menacing.
"very friendly" or pushy youngster
that runs up to you and nuzzles you - he or she is
almost certain to become a problem as an adult. The correct
behaviour for a young llama is to be curious yet wary of
Beware of the adult llama that the owner cannot handle,
halter, and lead in a relaxed manner. If the
llama is offered with excuses for why the seller cannot do
these things when you visit, think twice and then twice more before buying.
Be very wary of a llama whose
seller appears to be ill-at-ease with it. It does not matter
how big the llama, if it has a good temperament it should be a
pleasure to handle!
It bears repeating:
We all know of the lovable cat
or dog that needs re-homing and so comes at low cost or "free to a good home" but,
whatever story given to you, beware the llama that is offered 'on the cheap'
until you are fully satisfied that it has a suitable
Import of llamas
into the UK from their homeland in South America was banned for
most of the 20th century, so many llamas in the UK
were bred from stock
brought in at the end of the 19th Century! As a consequence
there has been considerable inbreeding. To ensure best health,
potential longevity and fertility, check that the
llamas you purchase are not
from an inbred line.
Do not buy (or plan
to have) more than one entire adult male with female llamas
unless you are able to keep the males well apart.
We are always happy to discuss your ideas and interests, and advise on the best way
& take a look at our
Confused?... Unsure?... More questions?... Or ready to go...!
Paul Rose will be happy to
your particular requirements,
talk you through the
- if you wish - arrange your visit.
Back to top
Devonshire EX17 4AY, U.K