Packing
Sure-footed and agile on bush tracks, most llamas make excellent packers. A well conditioned llama can carry an average of 40kgs or 25% of their body weight for up to 25km a day.

One of the great advantages of using llamas as packers is their low environmental impact.

The soft leathery pad of the animal's two-toed foot has a minimal impact on the trail similar to that of a hiking boot ... and their tendency only to browse, lessens intrusion on native vegetation.

   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

In South America their traditional job was to carry supplies for the Incas.

Carting
Llama carting is a relatively recent addition to the host of llama activities, and certainly one of the most interesting. It provides the perfect opportunity to take friends for a leisurely drive, and the less than enthusiastic walker will discover (s)he can enjoy the countryside or nearby parkland without so much as setting foot on the ground.

We've found it easier to train llamas in pairs, or even triples, rather than singly. They learn so quickly this way, it's not unusual to have 2, or 3, previously untrained llamas, driving together unaided after just one lesson. They still need another 5-6 outings as a pair, or in triple-hitched harness, to fine-tune their skills, but thereafter, most llamas are sufficiently confident to pull a cart alone.

 

Fibre
The fibre produced by llamas is hollow in its construction. Soft, warm, lightweight and lanolin-free, it has been used by the inhabitants of its native South America for thousands of years.

While most llamas have a double coated fleece, comprising about 20% guard-hair, some are single coated, with fleeces as fine as 18-20 microns.

Llamas come in many colours, so the fibre is much sought after by spinners and weavers. Being lanolin free, the fibre is clean to work with and easily spun and its hollow construction gives it greater thermal warmth than found with sheep wool. People allergic to sheep wool often find they can wear llama fibre products without any allergic reaction.

At this stage, the development of a commercial llama fibre industry in Australia is unlikely due to the large volumes of similarly coloured fibre with similar characteristics required for such a venture. However there is great potential for the growth of a vibrant cottage llama fibre industry.

At Llovely Banks we produce a variety of individually styled garments, made from this unique fibre, which we market at field days, shows and wherever we take our llamas.

Therapy
Llamas make great therapy animals. Instinctively quiet and gentle with weak or even handicapped people, they are naturally curious and alert. Their beautiful faces with their large, wide set eyes and steady gaze seem to indicate genuine interest in each new person they meet.

Llamas impart a certain sense of understanding as if they are aware of the joy they bring to the frail and handicapped which may be why their interaction with fragile folk is so successful.

Livestock Guardians
The llama is developing a reputation as an excellent protector of sheep and goats from foxes in Australia. This is the one occasion when only a single llama is needed for the best results. One llama is placed with each flock of sheep. This allows the llama to bond with that flock, moving with them to different parts of the paddock.

Foxes entering the paddock will be chased out or, if unfortunate enough to be caught, stomped to death by the guard llama. As guardians of sheep, llamas out-perform dogs.

They take to their guarding duties naturally, requiring no training and grazing in the same pastures as the sheep, require no special feed.

The value of livestock saved in one year often exceeds the purchase price of the llama and the annual maintenance he will require.

Long-lived, requiring low maintenance and protecting the flock, guard llamas not only increase farm profits, but also decrease those costs associated with traditional predator control methods.

Showing
The showring is not everyone's cup of tea, but those who enjoy the activity will find it adds a whole new dimension to llama ownership.

 

Most shows have performance, conformation and fleece classes. Performance classes evaluate the llama's level of training and their overall rapport with the handler.

The temperament of the llama has an important role to play in the success of performance classes. The llamas are given a numerical score out of 10 for each obstacle and the highest total score wins the class.

Performance classes include obstacle; packing; public relations and cart driving and contain a series of obstacles which the llama and handler must negotiate. Performance classes are a great leveller, allowing the lower priced geldings to compete on an equal footing with the higher priced stud animals.

Conformation classes are decided by the age and type of llama. The judge evaluates the physical characteristics of the llama relative to the characteristics of other llamas within the class.

The fleece classes are judged on shorn fleeces and are separated into classes by age of fleece and type of llama.

Companion Animals
Llamas, like horses and dogs, have individual personalities, so make ideal companion animals but they are social creatures so should never be kept alone. Although they will bond to other animals, we do recommend they have the company of another llama ... as this is their preference.

A trained adult llama weighing around 150kgs can be handled by a small child and may be taken indoors without fear of either a mess to clean afterwards, or furniture displaced or damaged.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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