South America their traditional job was to carry supplies
for the Incas.
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.
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.
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.
most llamas have a double coated fleece, comprising about
20% guard-hair, some are single coated, with fleeces as
fine as 18-20 microns.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
take to their guarding duties naturally, requiring no training
… and grazing in the same pastures as the sheep, require
no special feed.
value of livestock saved in one year often exceeds the purchase
price of the llama and the annual maintenance he will require.
requiring low maintenance and protecting the flock, guard
llamas not only increase farm profits, but also decrease
those costs associated with traditional predator control
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.
shows have performance, conformation and fleece classes.
Performance classes evaluate the llama's level of
training and their overall rapport with the handler.
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.
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
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.
fleece classes are judged on shorn fleeces and are separated
into classes by age of fleece and type of llama.
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.
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.