Free Llamas Good Idea or Bad Idea?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Laura, Jan 23, 2005.

  1. Laura

    Laura Well-Known Member

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    I was just offered two free llamas, no strings attached. I don't know anything else about them, age, sex or if they're trained or tame.

    I know I can reasonably expect them to be protective of my goats. I can reasonably expect them to freak out my horses until they get used to them. Better in the yard than on the trail. I don't if llamas can be used in a pack string behind horses, though.

    So tell me all about llamas. The good, the bad and the ugly. Do they sell at auction? Will my Latino customers eat them? Would I want to eat them?
     
  2. baysidebunny

    baysidebunny Well-Known Member

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    What are you posting for?
    Go get them and then ask questions later!!!

    (Uh oh...there's the carefree yellow from my personality test showing thru)
     

  3. Laura

    Laura Well-Known Member

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    LOL! This is DH's point of view.

    I know there is no such thing as a free horse, but I don't know if there is such a thing as free llama. Free goats are profitable.
     
  4. Emily Nouvertne

    Emily Nouvertne Well-Known Member

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    Laura, I have owned llamas for 11 years and enjoy raising them. The ONLY set-back I feel that they have is they need to be given a shot of Ivermectin Injectable once a month if you have white tail deer that may be eating in pasture with them(Meningeal Worm). If you live where it is HOT you should shear them once a year. Not a huge project. You can use them in pack strings with horses BUT as a general rule, the horses will freak until they get used to them. Usually when llamas use a horse trail, they post a sign, so riders will know that they are there and can keep their horses from getting too close and freaking. I have one llama and a donkey that are inseparable, if you take one somewhere you need to take the other too.

    Personally, I'd go get 'em! If I can be of any further assistance, you can PM me!

    M
     
  5. Wendy

    Wendy Well-Known Member

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    Do not count on them being protective of your goats. Some make good guards, some do not. It is better if they are raised with the goats if you want them for protection. Also, if you run 2 together, they will tend to bond with one another & not pay much attention to your goats. NEVER run an intact male with your goats. Llamas will try to breed the goats & will kill them. You really should find out more info before getting them. If you can not catch them & halter them fairly easy, you probably don't want them. If you need to give them shots, worm, trim hooves, or shear, you want one that is not going to try to kill you in the process. Especially for your first one.
    And now that the market is saturated, free llamas aren't that uncommon. I would find out why they are free. Perhaps bad habits. ???
     
  6. Laura

    Laura Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Emily. I find llamas to be fascinating animals, but I never considered having them before.

    We don't have deer that come into the pastures anymore, but Ivermectin is not a big deal. We have a cool climate, so shearing would probably be optional. I used to have an interest in spinning and weaving until I discovered I didn't like sheep.
     
  7. ovsfarm

    ovsfarm Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We have had llamas for a couple of years, one cheap and the other free. I agree that some make good guard animals and some don't. We do have a serious coyote problem but have not had any problems since we got the llamas. Our male has always been an excellent guard for our sheep. I thought the female was going to be a dud in that department until just a couple of months ago. Dh saw the male go on alert toward some neighbor dogs running just outside the pasture fence. The female came running full speed, gathered up the sheep and herded them to the barn. This was the first time we saw her show any guarding or protective behavior, although she is still kind of young. However, I do think that mainly they just have to stand around and smell like llamas and that keeps most of the predators at bay.

    We use herbal wormer and so don't have to give the ivermectin. Apparently with the chemical wormers, if your timing is bad and you happen to miss the deer worms, they are able to migrate to the spinal cord even if you are using ivermectin. I think at that point, the ivermectin doesn't do any good, since it doesn't cross the brain/blood barrier and so then you have to use fenbendazole to get them. Unfortunately the only definitive test I know of for deer worms is a necropsy.

    Llamas are unusual, not like horses, cows, or goats in temperament. Ours are probably closer to cats, but not as friendly! Our female got very food-aggressive, so we stopped all hand feeding. Truthfully, I would only get llamas if you have a need for a livestock guard. As with any "free" animal, free is never cheap. You still have to feed grain and hay, do vet care, pasture, fence, etc. They are large and can turn into bullies if not handled properly.

    I do use the fiber from ours for felting--it is very nice for that. And if you need more fertilizer, they tend to create communal dung piles that make it easy to rake up. But I don't think our llamas could justify their keep through only fiber and manure. They have to be good guards to make it worth our while.
     
  8. Laura

    Laura Well-Known Member

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    So llamas are not friendly animals? Are they a threat to children? I can't have animals who don't have the temperament to be around kids. That is why I ask about resale and food value, too.

    My kids and dogs play all through the property, the dogs looking out for the kids. Currently, the dogs work the fencelines keeping raccoons and coyotes out. My horse charges bears and runs them off and allows the baby goats to gather under her when they are frightened.
     
  9. Wendy

    Wendy Well-Known Member

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    Most llamas are standoffish. I have one that is very, very friendly, but she was a bottle baby. The other one I have is fine once I catch her, but does not come up to be loved on like Oreo.
    They can be a threat to children if they have bad habits. Re-sale depends on where you are. If this person is offering them for free, they most likely have some bad habits or the market in your area is gone. They go through the sale barn around here once in awhile & might bring $50 or $100. I tried to sell a male for quite some time. I was asking $100 & never did sell him. That was what I had paid to have him gelded & wanted to at least get my money back for it. So, he stayed here until he died. I would strongly urge you to find out why they are free. Find out the sex, ages, watch them being haltered & lead. Have the owner pick up their feet. See how they act if handled. If they do not want to show you this, RUN the other way.
     
  10. inc

    inc Well-Known Member

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    llamas have a fang in thier upper jaw on the male animals, this will not be visible unless you pull the corner of the lip halfway to the back of the head. on the males this tooth is dangerous, it should have been cut.
     
  11. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    I'd be VERY careful about a free llama. If not raised properly, yes, they can be a threat to your children (males especially.) There was such a surge of llamas in this area due to them being (supposedly!) the next big money maker...but people can't get rid of them anymore.

    As for guardians, that instinct doesn't begin to set in, on average, until they're about 2 years old. Some are, some aren't, good guardians. I had a pair of half brothers, one would call out if he thought there was danger, the other would just go skipping through the field as though he hadn't a care in the world (which he didn't!) I didn't have any other livestock, so no clue if they would have really done much good...they were both skittish around dogs.

    Go look at the freebies and see if they can be caught, if they will allow you to lead them and handle their feet. Keep in mind that their feet will need trimming and they need to be sheared, so handling is a must!
     
  12. Laura

    Laura Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the replies. These llamas are 80 miles away and are free because the owners are moving away and can't keep them. I will see about going in and handling them. They do sound like they can be fun and useful animal or they can be white elephants. I don't need white elephants.
     
  13. JAM

    JAM Well-Known Member

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    We have two llamas. They are not nasty but standoffish unless children come around. They love them and will run to be petted and get treats. They are great with my goats, will lay down with the kids, and also with the horses and cattle. They will not tolerate anything on the farm that does not belong there and have even run off all the wood chucks. Both are gelded Marco is 8 and Zorreo is 4.
     
  14. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The old saying goes, "Never look a gift horse in the mouth." Meaning don't expect the gift to have great value. The lamas will be worth what you give for them if you don't get too much wrapped up in feed.
     
  15. bergere

    bergere Just living Life

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    Laura,

    You need to go see them in person. Some are friendly, many are not.
    Are they Males?
    If they are males, Are they fixed?
    Some males are extremely aggressive because they were handled at a young age.
    Ask why this person is giving them away?
    Not all will guard, many will stomp your animals to death, especially males.

    I know, I bought a "Guard" llama for a lot of money, he ended up stomping and kicking all my ewes.
    That was a lot of money wasted, and stress to my sheep.

    Here are some web sites to check out.
    http://www.llamaweb.com/

    http://personal.smartt.com/~brianp/
     
  16. brosil

    brosil Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I got a free llama several years ago and he does a great job of guarding the sheep. I've thought about raising some now that they're so cheap but probably not. I'd go for it. You can always eat them and the hides tan up nice.