TL 4: More TalkingLlamas...

Friends & relatives - Breeding - Geriatric care - Llama headcollars - Financial Affairs 1 - Financial Affairs 2
Best time to buy - Guard or pet? - Perfect Retirement Hobby - For medicinal purposes only?
Relief for Reynaud's Disease


I know that llamas have relatives such as vicuna, alpaca and guanaco but are there distinct different species of the llama as well? They seem to vary so much.  N.N Llamas tend to come naturally in a variety of shapes and sizes within the accepted bounds of conformation, and with different qualities, length and density of fibre. These, however, represent diversity within the species and not different species. In South America there are various terms to describe the different looks or types and in the UK and North America they might loosely be divided into "woolly" llamas and "classic" coated llamas.

Some owners choose to keep llamas of a uniform size, type and possibly colour, but recognising the wide variation that occurs naturally we enjoy breeding across the spectrum (within the bounds of acceptable conformation) and have a large variety of shapes, sizes and colours grazing our fields.

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I have read lots of your site and keep coming back to it. I would love to have a breeding pair or trio of llamas but have never bred animals before and am worried whether it would be too difficult for a novice? Please advise. E.F.A You are right to be concerned and to consider carefully before embarking on breeding any animal which always involves responsibility and planning.
However we began with a similar lack of experience:  fifteen years ago all I had ever bred was a couple of litters of kittens. Since then we have bred several hundred llamas and can truly say it has been amazingly trouble free and a wonderful experience. I would thoroughly recommend llamas as an ideal first move into breeding field stock.

Llamas do largely look after themselves and the females make excellent mothers who almost invariably calve without help.  Looking back through our records we have not had a difficult birth or loss for the past ninety or so births and seeing your adult llamas grazing on their own one day and with a tiny cria at foot the next is simply magical!

What you do need to do is ensure that you have the space and facilities so that you can grow and manage your group properly. We will be happy to advise on this.

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We have had a llama for sixteen years. When he arrived (we think he was around two or three) he was nervous of everything and everyone and taking one look at our sheep and dogs he fled. So we never got to halter train him. But we didn't need to. He soon settled and got to know his way around our fields, always running to us at the shake of his food bowl.  He became fiercely protective of the sheep and we never lost another lamb although we had no idea he would do this when we got him! Since then a procession of goats, chickens, waterfowl dogs and cats have all come under his protective gaze. Now the old boy just sits and chews the cud for hours on end and I was so interested in your lovely Lamanac and the story of Fergie. We worry about how his life will end as presumably it will quite soon! How shall we look after him in his old age, should we give him more of the pony mix that he has now (about half a pound a day)? I notice you did not call in the vet for Fergie and if she got or gets very frail would you put her down? Sorry for all these questions but we are concerned as to how to look after Mantu in his last years. Thank you for any advice. BW.


You do not appear to have any specific problems with Mantu? I am guessing that he is a gelding (?) and given the sort of gentle life he seems to have had and current good health, he might well live for several years yet. Let's hope so.

We find our female llamas who calve every year tend to have a shorter life span and we have lost a few now at around 15-18 years. With the first ones that appeared to be "fading away", we did call in the vet who would give them vitamin injections and supplements to boost their strength and stimulate appetite or make up for their lack of intake. Our feeling, however was that this was fairly pointless, that it could not reverse nature and only prolonged life by a few days. We have decided, therefore, that we will not interfere by bringing in vets, jabs and drenches but instead ensure that they are in the best environment that we can offer - good fresh grass, easily accessed water, gentle terrain and not too much herd pressure. This should make it easier for them to make the best of their last days, weeks or months. Clearly if any distress is shown or prolonged discomfort then calling in the vet may offer the best ending.

Keep an eye on Mantu's condition and try to run a hand down his spine occasionally to gauge weight loss (also visible from the thigh "cheeks" between his back legs). You could increase his concentrates but not by much. You could also add a little bran.

If he still won't allow you to handle him this is probably a good sign! When he gets really old you may find he can't be bothered to get up when you approach...

More about Geriatrics: TalkingLlamas Page One
If you have or have had an old llama, do please
Contact TalkingLlamas and share your experiences.

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I have a llama and would like to know where I can buy a new headcollar/halter. A.K
We occasionally have spares but do please contact us to check availability..
small  9.85
medium 10.85
large 11.50
Extra large: 12.25
U.K p&p- 1 or 2 for 1.20p, 3-5 1.75

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Sorry to seem so practical, but can  you tell me if a) there is VAT on llamas and b) What if any are the tax advantages of owning them on a commercial basis. P.N We do not apply VAT to our sales. Generally, llama sales do not attract VAT (Value Added Tax, the UK sales tax) unless the llamas are owned as part of a VAT registered business whereupon it would have to be added at the standard rate.

I hesitate to offer general accounting advice as this may depend on individual circumstances. There are, however, a number of incentives that are likely to be available to you and suggest you speak to an accountant familiar with stock farm accounting, or call us for a general discussion.

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Your site is amazing, very informative. Thank you. One thing I have not found on it are prices for llamas though. I am interested in a couple of pets possibly for breeding. F.E Well, one reason we do not advertise prices is for reasons of security. But the most important reason is that prices -even ours- vary so much (once a young female, for example,  is past the cria stage its value to us, if not sold, jumps - as if of suitable quality, it can enter our breeding programme). Equally prices are meaningless if you just compare words or figures on one website to those on another without knowing what you are really getting...

We prefer to look at the issue from the point of view of value. A "cheap" llama that you cannot handle is worth a tiny fraction of an "expensive" llama that is extremely biddable etc - in our opinion being easy to handle makes the "expensive" llama much better value than the "cheap" one.  A pet quality llama will cost a lot less than a stud or breeding quality female. A young llama will cost a lot less than a proven adult. A more unusual colour will add considerably to the price and a truly rare colour will send the price into orbit! Then there is fibre quality; really fine fibre on a llama is rare and worth a lot especially if on a quality breeding llama where it will be reproduced. Then most importantly and so often overlooked, there is "type". Talking llamas rather than type is like talking about dogs or horses rather than say Arab or Jack Russell. One breed of dog or horse will be worth much more than the equivalent quality in another. So it is with Ccaras and their far more valuable tampuli counterparts.

Here at Roseland we do specialise in rarities, colour, fibre quality and type, so our  llamas are priced accordingly! The best way to find your way through the jungle of cost and value is to decide what you want, then visit as many owners or breeders as possible and then visit Roseland. You can then decide based on a good understanding of what you will be getting...

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We're hoping to move to a smallholding this summer and I'm keen to have a few llamas. When is the best time to buy them please? G.S Well the most important time is when you are  ready... And that said, the way we work means that you should have plenty of choice more or less year round: January to early summer is the time that those born last summer are ready. And by autumn/winter, the cria born during Spring will be approaching readiness although they may not be ready to leave home immediately.

If your interest is commercial or even semi-commercial then you might find adults worth considering and these are available year round..

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We bought a young llama (14 months) to guard our sheep but he ignores the sheep and seems much more interested in playing with people. Every time he sees someone he charges across the field and will nuzzle them and sometimes barge them. If we keep him as a pet and get another llama as a guard, will it still work or will they be too interested in each other? AB Your young llama will make neither a good livestock guard nor a good pet. In fact I would take him straight back to where you got him. He shows all the warning signs of having been over-handled, perhaps hand-reared, in his early months and he will became increasingly more boisterous as he matures to the point that what you currently see as playfulness will get totally out of control

For information about selecting a guard llama click on Guard llamas

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My husband is about to retire and we are thinking of getting a pair of llamas for him to "play with". Would they be suitable to have as a hobby for someone in his 60s? We have a paddock of about 1.75 acres. TLD Quite a few of our clients are in just such a position- One couple who bought two male llamas from us a couple of years ago have celebrated their retirement recently by coming back to us for another four, so it can become quite a busy hobby!
Your land will comfortably take three or four llamas. If you wish to breed them you will need access either to extra grazing when the time comes to separate the youngsters born. Otherwise perhaps choose a pair or trio of young males.
Owning your llamas will not be hard work or time consuming but should provide a lot of pleasure in just having them around, looking after them and perhaps taking them for walks or trekking them etc. And if you are in to spinning and knitting they will also provide you with some wonderful end products...Have fun!

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I am about to have a male llama gelded and have been told that llama testicles are used in Chinese medicine as a substitute for those from wild animals that it is now illegal to kill. Is this true and can you give me an address? I wondered why we had so many clients from the Orient beating a path to our door!
Only kidding~ as I suspect either you are, or the source of this not-so-ancient wisdom was...

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Whilst in Peru some years ago I purchased some gloves made from llama wool. I suffer from Reynaud's Disease and these gloves are just about the most effective ones for keeping it at bay. Unfortunately the gloves are now wearing out but I have been quite unable to find replacements. would you happen to know of anyone who uses the wool to make gloves. you would make my winter walks much more tolerable if you are able to help. Please forgive the intrusion. TC.
I was very interested -and glad- to read of the relief given by the wearing of gloves made with llama wool. I wonder if it was the absence of lanolin that helped?
Many llama owners spin and knit their own and so I am publishing your enquiry on our TalkingLlamas web page and will forward any replies. 

Can anyone help please?  Contact TalkingLlamas

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