Frequently
Asked
Questions
about
Llamas


Do they spit?
Sure they spit. Usually it is between themselves when they are having a dispute about food or territory. Everyone has a story about someone they know that has been spat at by a llama. If they spit at humans, it is probably because they have been mistreated or they are protecting their baby. Anyway it is no big deal, it is just chewed-up grass and easily washes off. I would rather be spit at than bitten or kicked, both of which rarely happen with llamas.

What is their temperament?
Each llama is different, and they all have their own personalities. Overall they are gentle, cooperative, quiet, intelligent, and patient. They are very curious and want to assure themselves that they are safe. When hiking, for example, when they come to something new, they will stop and study it before proceeding.

Are they hard to train?
Llamas learn very quickly. With gentle handling and repetition they develop a strong trust in their trainer. Even young children can easily handle most adult llamas.

There are a number of llama trainers, two of which are Marty McGee Bennett and John Mallon who both have excellent methods of training. There are a couple of Marty McGee’s books available on our Llama Books page.

What do they eat?
They graze like other livestock and love to browse, especially on the trees on the other side of the fence. One acre of good grass will support four llamas and a bale of hay will feed one adult llama for approximately seven to ten days.

Are there any llama organizations?
Yes. The Canadian Lama Association (I know it sounds like a religious society composed of Tibetan priests, but they think that by spelling it that way, everyone will know that it includes alpacas.) has a new web page as of February, 1998.

The International Llama Association is based in Denver Colorado. You can order a free catalog from them at 1-800-WHY-LAMA. (There’s that priest again.).

The ILA has a list of llama-related books and publications in their catalog, and also on their web page.

There are also numerous regional organizations and clubs in most areas of the continent. If you contact anyone in an area in which you are interested, they can put you in contact with the local club. There are a number of other llama organizations, as well as quite a number of farms, listed on the Llama Links page of our Llama Question and Answer page.

What do you do with them?
The following list explains many of the things that people do with llamas:

Fibre
The fibre from a llama is easy to spin, partly because it has no oils or lanolin, and is very clean to work with. It is a hollow fibre and because of this, is very warm when made into clothing. A number of llama owners are spinning the best fibre and using the not-quite-so-good fibre for felting.

Llamas don’t produce fibre as quickly as sheep, usually needing a couple of years to grow enough wool to make shearing worthwhile again. Some of our offspring born in the past few years are very heavy wooled and require shearing every summer when it gets hot and humid. Mind you, we have mild winters in our area so if you are in a location with severe winter weather, you may not want to shear your animals. If this is the case, I would suggest that you check with some of the experienced local breeders. They may suggest shearing by hand which would allow you to leave a couple of inches of fibre for protection. Another potential problem is sunburn if the fibre is shorn too close to the skin. They need enough fibre left on to protect them from the sun in the summer and enough that it will grow back to protect them from the cold in the winter.

Llama fibre is also used for tying fishing flies, but I don’t imagine you could use very much wool that way unless you were tying really huge flies.

One of the best new sources for fibre information is on the Llamapaedia set of pages.

Maggie Krieger is well-known as a fibre expert and she and her husband Richard have a page on Fibre as part of their Lama Prospectus page.

We send our fibre to Yocom-McColl Testing Laboratories in Denver, Colorado and they promptly send a histogram with the average fibre diameter, standard deviation, coefficient of variation, and percentage of fibres over 30 microns. You can link to their online newsletter from this site.

Backpacking
Llamas make great packers. In South America their traditional job was to pack supplies for the Incas. Nowadays llamas are being replaced by trucks which can haul goods much further and faster, but here in North America they are becoming very popular with backpackers.

There are quite a number of commercial outfitters using llamas for backpacking in both the United States and Canada, and many llama owners use a few of their males for carrying supplies, whether it is for a picnic, a day hike or an extended trip into the mountains lasting for a month or so.

When we got our first llamas in 1981 to use as backpackers, they were quite a novelty and it was hard to make time hiking in populated areas because you had to stop and answer so many questions. Nowadays they are becoming an accepted sight along the trails in many areas.

There is a good backpacking newsletter called the Backcountry Llama News which comes out every other month and features articles and reviews on equipment, as well as what’s happening along with stories of trips that people and llamas are taking.

Pets
Some people like to have a llama as a pet, but as they are a herd animal, it is usually better to have two llamas. They seem to need that type of companionship, and it is not wise to give a young llama too much human attention.

Cart Driving
Training a llama to drive a cart is something that is becoming more and more common in the past few years. You can use a single llama on a cart or have a pair of llamas. It does look really nice to see a pair of well-trained llamas pulling someone in a cart.

A couple of years ago we had Mr. Chuck Jean come to one of our club outings and he soon had six pairs of llamas that had never seen a cart or a harness pulling carts. Mind you, the llama we took threw himself on the ground and fought the harness, but eventually he was pulling the cart along with another llama who had also not wanted to be in harness. There were also two people in front with leads and people on either side of the llamas to make sure that they didn’t stray. Our llama was not impressed and when the harness was taken off, he suddenly bolted and took off down the road.

A very good method of training cart llamas is practiced by Jim and Amy Logan of Chattaroy, Washington. They teach Click and Reward training for llamas which uses operant conditioning as a tool, and they run workshops all over the North America, both on clicker training and cart driving. Our local club had them give two workshops in May, 1999 which we enjoyed very much. Since then, for the first time ever we have had young llamas quickly learn to get into the trailer and it was a non-event for them.

Sheepguards
As sheepguards, llamas easily outperform dogs. They take to guarding naturally with no training whereas dogs take a long time to train. Llamas graze in the same pastures as the sheep, requiring no special feed.

Llamas seem to naturally hate coyotes, and ranchers in Montana and Wyoming may have herds of a couple of thousand sheep guarded by one llama. The average flock though, is 250 to 300 sheep on an area of about 300 acres. Their losses have been cut down considerably while their neighbors are still losing lambs to coyotes.

Iowa State University has a great 12 page booklet titled Guard Llamas which is very comprehensive. The booklets are available from the Extension Distribution Center, 119 Printing and Publications Bldg., Iowa State University, Ames IA 50011. The cost is around a dollar.

Livestock
Llamas are easy to keep, requiring no special fencing. They usually respect a fence as long as they have enough feed and water. A couple of intact, breeding males along a fence line will have a few scraps and will find a weak spot in a fence.

They are very patient, never complaining if feeding time is delayed. We usually give them a little bit of dairy ration in the evening which is a good way of getting them into the barn if you need to enclose a mom and baby for instance. They don’t need much shelter and prefer to be outside unless it is really pouring rain or there is heavy snow accompanied by strong winds. On the usually mild West Coast, occasionally in the winter, you can look out in the morning and see llamas covered with snow where they have slept outside. In colder climates you would probably need a barn to protect them during really cold periods. You sometimes see an animal from the prairies that has lost part of an ear from frostbite.

Meat
They are used as a meat source in South America, with a lot of the males being castrated to make them grow larger. Most people don’t want to admit it, but as the llama population is increasing in North America, there are a few males quietly being put into freezers around the country.

Therapy
Llamas seem to have an aura about them which is conducive to making people relax. People who are nervous around animals will invariably fall in love with a llama after it has sniffed their hair and eaten out of their hand. We have had llamas visiting in hospitals and nursing homes and it is usually quite a thrill for the patients. (One thing to be aware of though, if you are taking animals into places like hospitals, is that there are usually plants around that may be poisonous, even deadly, to them.) We have, on this site, a list of Poisonous Plants that are common in British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest of the US of A.

There is a good site called Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System which has information and photos of a great number of poisonous plants. Another excellent resource is North Carolina Poisonous Plants which has a huge list of plants to be careful of.

People are constantly amazed at how calm and friendly our llamas are. We have often noticed young children who, when they first arrive at our farm, are terrified of the animals, are a few hours later out in the pasture by themselves with the llamas eating out of their hands.

Where can I buy llama tack and supplies?
For quick, friendly and efficient service try The Bickerson’s Farm in Kelowna, British Columbia. They have good stock of halters, groming and packing supplies, books and videos, giftware, jewelry, and clothing

Other Interesting Llama Sites:

The Llama Question and Answer Page
A page with lots more llama information, complete with pictures of alpacas, guanacos, llamas and vicuñas in Peru and Chile. For people who have read this page and want to know more about llamas.

The Llama Birthing Page
This new page has lots of photos of the birthing process, along with suggestions of what to look for when you are expecting that new cria. If you are new to the llama community and are getting nervous about an impending birth, this page should give you a little confidence.

Llama Crossing
This site seems to be growing every day. It has correspondents from around the world along with information on many aspects of llama and alpaca care. One very useful section is a calendar of llama-related events.

Rangemore Llama Farm
Julie Insley’s farm is located at Kerikeri in the Bay of Islands pretty much near the top of the North Island, 300 km north of Auckland, New Zealand. She had a new cria the other day and because of the time difference, and her digital camera, we were looking at photos of the baby on its web page before it was even born according to our local time. All of the pages on this site have excellent photos.

Log House Farm
A new site created by Buzz and Laura Shuttleworth who have a Llama Bed and Breakfast hidden in the mountains near Kelowna, British Columbia. This would be a wonderful place to spend a weekend in their beautiful log house. They also have some beautiful llamas.

Llamapaedia
This is an constantly growing set of web pages which are done by Greta Stamberg and Derek Wilson, who started this page back when they were students at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. This is really worth checking out, as there are sections on most aspects of llama care.

Llamas: information, videos, and books
Llamas-information.com offers Juniper Ridge books and videos, free llama information and stories, and a comprehensive link directory to other llama (and llama-related) sites.

Pearson Pond Ranch & Llama Co.
This is a new easy to read, informative set of pages done by Sandy Stillwell. Pearson Pond is owned by Jack and Tracy Pearson of Ellijay, Georgia. This one is well worth visiting.
If you are impressed with this site you should check out Sandy Stillwell’s PNW Web Design site which has links to the other sites that she has done.

Tillman Llamas
Back in 1980 Andy Tillman took the time to hand-write us an encouraging letter to our request about llama information. At that time he published the 3-L Llama Newsletter and it was a lifesaver for us when it came to training (we still have the copies). This site has many pages with lots of great photos, and there is a long page of llama information including a section on feeding camelids.
Feld/Griesel Llama Farm
Bob Griesel has teamed up with James and Lynda Feld, combining their herds which can now be found in Newberg, Oregon. This is another Sandy Stillwell site so you can be sure that it is worth visiting.

Of The Trees Llamas
Here is a new page for Jim and Jan Storck of Dousman, Wisconsin. The name is a result of having a tree care service. Check out the great Christmas cotton throw with a very nice picture of Santa Claus with a llama.

Llittle Llumpy Llama Lland
Betsy Ruble has a delightful site. Her marvellous sense of humor is obvious when you find out what llamas drink. Be sure to check out the pictures of the llama being washed. She also has a link to speedtraps in the US of A. Betsy also has a new project which is a Llama Llineage Page and for twenty-five dollars she will print out a page showing your llama’s lineage with colour photos. She has quite an extensive collection of photos of “old-time” llamas.

Shagbark Ridge Llamas
Jim and Marilyn Nenni in Noblesville, Indiana host this set of pages. When you visit be sure to check out “Cappy’s Place”. Cappuccino is their gelding who has his very own page. He will answer your questions and also posts pictures of his web pals.

Casa Loma Llamas
This is a great set of pages done by Lana and Hugh Coffey of Mooresville, Indiana. It is well worth checking this site out.

Crooked Creek Farm
Pete and Susan Peterson of Leavenworth, Kansas have some great looking animals on their web page. Being from Kansas, they also have a whole page of "Wizard of Oz" pictures and links.

Bobkat Llamas
Bob and Kathi McKinney in Montesano, Washington have been in the business for a long time and are very knowledgeable about llamas. (Nice people to visit also).

Yellow Wood Llamas
This is a colourful, attractive site with lots of pictures and is courtesy of Fred and Laura Keller of Martinsville, Indiana. Check out their barn camera!

Charismatic Llamas
Sandy Stillwell at NWP Web Design and Consulting has this interesting site, which has much more than just llamas. There are links to all sorts of interesting things including web authoring material and a really neat map making site.

New Horizons Llamas
Jim and Marilynn Larson in Mount Vernon, Washington have a very nice site which is informative and entertaining. The web page is made by Sandy Stillwell, but designed by Marilynn and is worth visiting. We have known the Larsons for a long time and appreciate the way they care for their animals and that is why we had seven llamas from our US herd in their quarantine facility for six months. Jim and Marilynn were exhausted at the end of the quarantine period because they really go the extra mile in caring for the animals.

Holly Llamas
We have known Jean Hardman for many years and she is one of the friendliest llama people you could ever meet. She and her husband, Russ, have a llama farm in Lynnwood, Washington. Every page in this excellent site, done by Sandy Stillwell, is full of entertaining information.

Llama Rose Farm
Winifred Whitfield from Poulsbo, Washington has attractive llama site with pages for her alpacas, and her Bactrian camel.

The Ontario Camelid Association
If you are interested in llamas or alpacas in the Ontario area, this is the place to look.

Animal Crackers Farm
Myra Freeman has a good site which lists her books for sale and also has pages with articles and stories that she has had published.

Odyssey Llamas
Mike and Mary Knitter from the Rogue River Valley in Southern Oregon have a nice site, with lots of pictures and llama information.

Mariko Llamas
If you are looking for llamas in Texas area, this page has links to a few Texan pages as well as a page of links all over the US and Canada.

Wind Dancer Llama & Herb Farm
Kelly Van Allen of Bow, Washington has an interesting site with some pictures of their llamas and lots of information about herbs and links to herb sites.

Pushme Pullyou Page
This will give you a list of llama farms with links to their web pages.

Llama Owners of Washington State
This is a really great group to belong to, with lots of friendly llama owners. The meetings are usually held in the Olympia area. In the good weather, they sometimes have farm tour meetings. They also put on llama shows in the Northern Washington.

Noble View Farm
Mike and Allison Oatman of Olympia, Washington have pages advertising their llamas and also have a good resource page listing addresses for magazines and catalogues along with other sources of information.

Llama Llocater
Bill and Sally Bacus of Southlake, Texas have a site where you can list or look for llamas and alpacas for sale.

The Okanagan Alpaca Co.
Speaking of alpacas, the Okanagan Alpaca Co. site is new and nicely done. Harold Berkholtz raise alpacas in Enderby, British Columbia.

Serendipity Farm
Ron and Marie Hinds in Elizabeth, Colorado have a llama and alpaca site which includes a very useful page of llama-related books, publications, and video tapes. There is a description of each item along with prices and where-to-buy information.

agsites.net
Agsites.net is an easily searchable portal with over 30,000 carefully selected websites with the common theme of agriculture and the outdoor world.

Llama Paintings
Araneen Witmer has a painting studio in Ramona, California located on her llama ranch and has some very nice paintings of llamas and guanacos , as well as horses, cats, and birds on her web page. After checking these pages you may decide you would like a portrait of one of your special animals. You are too late to acquire “Morning Watch” as it is on our wall in Mount Lehman.

Animals Exotic & Small Magazine
The magazine that tells you what you need to know about all animals! Exciting articles about unusual animals! Information valuable to pet owners and professionals! Advertisements from firms offering every type of animal. Facts about buying, selling and caring for all animals — both exotic and non-exotic. Now celebrating 11 years of publication with national newsstand and bookstore distribution!

Noah, The Animal Search Engine
This search engine is dedicated to animal web sites. A good place to start if you are looking for livestock or pets.


Mount Lehman Llamas Home Page

Llama Trivia Need a llama fix? Tons of old picures and interesting stuff here.

Canadian Ambassador Mount Lehman Llamas’ stud

Burgundy ’95 and her buddies A few of Mount Lehman Llamas’ females

Conquistador Canadian Ambassador son

Rain Dancer Our newest stud

Sarah Barnart and some woolly friends Several more of our special females

Baby Album A selection of photos of some of our baby llamas

Poisonous Plants Plants that may be dangerous to llamas

The Llama Question and Answer Page Want to learn more about llamas? Check this page out.

The Llama Birthing Page Expecting that first cria? This page shows you what to expect.

History Page A short history of llamas.

Quiz Page A quick, self-marking quiz about llamas.

Sale Llamas List of llamas available at Mount Lehman Llamas

Llama Books Recommended Llama Books for sale.

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Brian and Jane Pinkerton
29343 Galahad Crescent
Mount Lehman
British Columbia
Canada V4X 2E4

Phone: 604-856-3196
E-mail address: brianp@smartt.com



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