What Do You Do With Llamas? Print E-mail
The most frequently asked question about llamas would probably be “what do you do with your llamas?”  I love them and enjoy sharing them with others!  Some people will tell you that they do anything with their llamas that you might do with your dogs. 
Pets
They are all my pets and companions and each one is dear to me in one way or another.  Spending time in the pasture, brushing and grooming them, listening and talking to them, and watching them communicate with each other, is so very relaxing and entertaining.  Taking a "llama walk" is therapeutic, especially with my granddaughter, and of course, she has to have her own llama to walk.  A well trained llama can be led by most any age group because of their calm nature.
Fiber
Llamas produce a fiber that is usually soft and wonderful for spinning, felting, crocheting, knitting and other projects.  The llama's fiber comes in a variety of natural colors, textures, some have crimp or some may be straight.  It is free of lanolin or grease, unlike the sheep's wool.  Their fiber takes dye very well, is washable with some care, and blends well with other fibers.  The llama fiber can be processed by using hand cards for rolags or a fine toothed drum carder for larger batts.  
The purse below is 100% llama that is handspun, knitted and felted. 
              

              

The vest is from our sheep, Veronica, which is handspun and crocheted.  John requested a warm vest to go under his jacket for the really cold days.  He says that it is VERY warm.   

 

To collect the fiber from the llamas and the sheep, we shear each spring in April.  That is one of the most important events for the llamas.  It is absolutely necessary!!  I cannot over stress that!!  Five to ten pounds of fiber is a very heavy coat.  Heat stress is a major killer for llamas and especially with the humidity of East Texas.  Below is a chute that was built for our farm by Dale Kounce of Henderson, Tx.  It is wonderful and has made my job so much easier when it comes to trimming toenails, giving the deworming injections, vaccinations and shearing.  The llamas are familiar with the chute and just walk in without hesitation.  It is painless and helps to shorten the time needed to complete the chore.  They know they'll get a treat as they walk out. 

   

   
Guarding  
Llamas are intelligent and alert.  They have keen eye-sight and hearing.  They normally spot wildlife or livestock, friend or foe, before most humans.  The direction of their gaze and stare will give you reason to check out whatever has their attention, making it fun for those spending time with llamas in the wild.  Llamas are very curious and tend to check out the turtle crossing the pasture, the raccoon up the pole, or the goat whose head is stuck in the fence.  In fact, I know that a friend’s life was saved because of the curiosity of her llamas.  She had been gored by a ram and a man decided to check out whatever the llamas were gathered around.  He was able to delivery her to the hospital just before she bled to death. 
A good guard llama will run toward and even chase away the scout coyote or stray dog and will alert the others with their “alert call”.  Our goats know to run for the barn when the llamas let out that call.

Children Love Llamas
Introducing children to llamas through the school is a great way to teach them about their personalities and their care.  We’ve taken two of our llamas to the local elementary schools and received a wonderful response from the children.  Of course, they always want to know whether the llama is going to spit at them.  Llamas do spit, but they seldom intentionally spit at people, if they have been trained to have respect for their owners.  On occasion, especially if two llamas are having a dispute over a food bowl, you might get spit on, but usually it’s the warning spit that is harmless and odorless.  There are degrees of spit.  The worst requires a shower but that has only happened to me once and it wasn’t intended for me, I just happened to be in the line of fire. 
  
Winter visited the first graders at the elementary school and had a great time!            
  
Jake, Triple's son, visited the preschoolers for a pajama party!  What a well-mannered llama and kids, too!!

 

  
Lily was the life drawing model for the art class of elementary students in Marshall.
Parades
Everybody loves a parade and people love to see the llamas, especially the children.  We participated in the Wonderland of Lights Parade in Marshall, Tx.  It was a wonderful experience until Winter decided that she had completed her journey…before the end of the parade route.  The other two llamas did very well.  Winter enjoyed the crowd on the sidelines and had her picture taken with numerous families, while waiting on her trailer.  The 2007 Rose Bowl Parade finally included llamas for the first time.  They were beautifully decorated with roses and greenery. 

4 H Projects and Llama Shows

 

 

Llamas can learn to do agility and obstacle courses.  What a great way to teach a young person how to work with and care for an animal!  Below is Anna, a high school student who is showing Naomi at a Youth Show in Texas.  Anna has veterinary school in her sights and the scholarship money that she won in this show will be applied toward her future.  Awesome, Anna!!  You might notice the coloring on Naomi.  She is the 2007 cria from our Sarai.  Both girls did a great job!

 

 

 

 

 

Packing
For centuries, llamas have been bred to transport goods to and from market in the South American mountains.  In some areas of the United States, llamas are used for packing.  Some parks and recreation areas allow llamas to pack the supplies for campers and hikers.  Llamas can handle a lightweight pack of usually not more than one hundred pounds.  Because their feet are padded, with just two toes on each foot, they are tender on the environment.  They normally eat a bite here and there without destroying a whole bush or shrub, moving on to the next scrumptious plant.   Because of their calm nature, a well-trained llama can be handled by people of all ages.

 Competition for Youth and Adults

Naomi (our own Sarai's 2007 daughter) won 2009 Grand National!!  She looks so beautiful!!  Anna has done an awesome job of training her!!  Congratulations to both of them!!

  

 



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