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majorrich's avatar

Are Llamas good for anything other than a sweater?

Asked by majorrich (14634points) September 14th, 2009

My neighbor had a couple dozen Llamas on his farm and he would sell the ‘wool’ occasionally. He would let kids do their 4H projects with the little ones. Aside from that they seem to do nothing but stand around looking silly. Are they good to eat? Can they be saddle broke or carry things? I can never get a straight answer from Llama people.

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23 Answers

ubersiren's avatar

They’re cute! There’s a friend of the family who has a llama just as a pet. I actually didn’t know she had it until I went to the bathroom and there was a llama in there. What a surprise! He was very friendly, though.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Well they make very good pack animals if you have a load of heavy stuff to move about and you live in a very mountainous area (South America for example). They can carry about 30% of their body weight which is about the same as a pack horse)

You can also use them as guard llamas to protect other livestock (mainly sheep) -don’t laugh, the reasearch has shown them to actually pretty good at this.

majorrich's avatar

Kinda snickering about guard llamas. I have never heard them make any kind of noise other than like a ‘meep’ sort of thing. They do kick, and pretty hard at that, John kind of warned me about getting too close to the back side of one. They must be related to Camels because they spit and have that look about them. Still, here in Ohio they seem kind of worthless.

livsmom08's avatar

They do gaurd large flocks of sheep or herd of goats.

cookieman's avatar

We have one at the farm I work at – “Belle”.

She sometimes carries stuff as a pack animal and she’ll ocasionally herd the two La Mancha goats we have.

Mostly though, she just stands around and eats apples. Kids like to visit with her too.

rebbel's avatar

Are Llamas good for anything other than a sweater?
Classic!

Darwin's avatar

“They must be related to Camels because they spit and have that look about them.”

Precisely. They most definitely are related to camels. They are one of four surviving camelids in the Western Hemisphere. There were other species during the Pleistocene but they died out.

And yes, llamas make good pack animals (if you don’t mind the spitting). It is one of their major jobs back home in South America. They are are lighter than horses or donkeys and do less damage to the trails.

They can also be jogging or hiking companions (although quite frankly, I prefer a dog).

Llamas can be used to pull carts, if you have any carts that need pulling, and you can learn to drive the cart.

They can be used to make more llamas, which is their primary use in the United States and Canada.

Depending on the individual animal’s temperament, llamas make good pets.

Llamas are often used as therapy animals.

It has been reported that some adventurous owners use their llamas as golf caddies.

There are “show llamas” so there is also a market for llama stud service.

Some people like to watch llamas so in a way they are decorative.

As others have said, you can use them to guard sheep, goats, cattle or even chickens because they can kick the fool out of any predator that comes around.

Female llamas (would that be “Mama llamas”?) do produce drinkable milk, but not in huge quantities. Llama milk is lower in fat and salt and higher in phosphorous and calcium than cow or goat milk but they make only a small amount at a time.

Yes, llamas are good for sweaters, but their wool is coarser than that of the alpaca, so it actually is better for rugs and storage bags.

And yes, you can eat llamas as they do back home in Peru and Ecuador, but Americans tend to look on them as cute, fuzzy animals, like dogs, so the market for llama meat is not so big here.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@Darwin, I knew you would have all the answers.

Personally, I despise llamas, simply because they are weird looking. They have a very low ‘cuteness’ factor with me. They look like a sheep designed by a committee.

I suppose I might try llama meat if I get it on good authority it is worth the trouble to butcher one. Turtles are a real pain to butcher, but the meat inside is so worth it. Personally, I’d rather have geese or a donkey for guard animals, as they are pretty good at it, and much more pleasant to be around. Neither of those animals find the need to spit at you. Although a goose peck in the nads can be a bit painful.

Darwin's avatar

As I understand it, llama meat is low in fat. I would suspect that like goat or mutton it might have a strong flavor, so it might not be most North American’s cup of tea, so to speak. However, guinea pig, another favorite meat in South America, is quite tasty.

gailcalled's avatar

Careful, all. Blondesjon has a llama he’s extremely fond of named “Spot,” Sticking a fork into Spot would be akin to contemplating eating Milo.

Darwin's avatar

Tell Milo to be careful. In some parts of Central and South America, they eat cats. Always be suspicious if the restaurant serves “rabbit,” especially if it has retractable claws.

gailcalled's avatar

I am about to see the movie Food, which should put most people off of animal protein.

majorrich's avatar

It has been said that if God had not intended for man to eat animals, he wouldn’t have made them out of meat.

Darwin's avatar

@majorrich – Isn’t that a Carlinism?

majorrich's avatar

I don’t know, but we have a Vegan in the office and it really yanks her chain when I comment about it.

gailcalled's avatar

Michael Flanders sang somthing similar in a song called The Reluctant Cannibal from their review At The Drop of a Hat, 1960’s…

“But people have always eaten people,
What else is there to eat?
If the Juju had meant us not to eat people,
He wouldn’t have made us of meat!”

Da_Wolfman's avatar

Fernando was a pretty good actor. Son Lorenzo———so,so.

Darwin's avatar

@Da_Wolfman – So are you trying to say Merry Christmas? Lamas (as Fernando and Lorenzo are) has No-el. At least it is missing one

tiffyandthewall's avatar

i bet they’re fun to pet.
also, ‘llama people’ sounds like an awesome/weird race of people. who wants to take that up and make a cheesy horror flick?

gailcalled's avatar

I noticed a llama farm at the end of my road. Do llamas eat grass the way sheep and goats do, thereby obviating all that mowing? See example of Organic Lawnmower here

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@majorrich I believe that was first expressed by Ted Nugent. While I share the love of hunting with Ted Nugent, and am in awe of his great guitar playing, his pandering to the Religious Reich sickens me.

Berserker's avatar

If they spit in your face, it will provide me with laughter.

gailcalled's avatar

Blondesjon has Spot (the mama) and Irish (her first-born). Jon was proud enough to brag when Irish spit for the first time.

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