Llamas? Weight and other questions... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 01-24-2012, 04:43 PM Thread Starter
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Llamas? Weight and other questions...

I feel like I've asked this before, but maybe someone knows now, on an unshorn llama, how does one tell if they are a good or bad weight?

For instance, in the video accompanying this article, the AC officer says that the llamas shown are "underweight":
Nearly 40 Llamas Found Dead | Indiana's NewsCenter: News, Sports, Weather, Fort Wayne WPTA-TV, WISE-TV, CW, and MyFOX | Video

How can they tell? There's so much hair on those llamas...
Also, in that same video, to underline how starving those llamas are, they say that the llamas came running over as soon as hay appeared. Well, the 2 llamas I care for ALWAYS run over when hay appears...

Also, the 2 llamas I care for are pretty much completely wild. One of them is getting tamer and will now eat out of a bucket that I'm holding, but any attempt to touch her is met with her running off. She's actually accidentally brushed my hand with her lips before but that's the farthest we've gotten.
I would really like to at least get her to the point where I can touch her without her being terrified but I'm not really sure how to initiate the first touch. I can tell that it'll have to be on her terms since any move on my part causes her to immediately give me a LARGE berth.
I'm considering trying to clicker train her because I figure that I don't have to touch her for that and it might increase her trust in me enough that I can touch her...

Here's a picture of her eating from a bucket (well, sniffing the bucket, there wasn't anything in it...), I'm super super proud of this since it's taken nearly a year and a half for her to go from running the other way if I get within 15ft of her to this:

Also, I think I'd like to buy them a little grain to, yknow, make me cooler, but I'm not sure what to get... Is that generic animal feed stuff good enough? I'm not going to be feeding it for the sake of nutrition, just as a little extra "humans are cool" treat...
Currently I'm just letting "Marina" (the friendly llama) have a nibble of Lacey's ration balancer/supplement mix before I give it to Lacey but I'm not sure if the glucosamine and stuff Lacey gets would be bad for Miss Marina...

And isn't Marina cute? She's such an awkwardly hilarious animal.

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.
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post #2 of 4 Old 01-24-2012, 04:57 PM
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Grass hay is fine for them they don't need grain if your concerned give a extra flake of hay, to much protein isn't good for them.

You can and will see ribs through the wool if they are really starving and just bones, if they'r sides seem rounded (even with wool), eyes bright, nose clear than they should be fine. The way they walk and move is steady and easy, seem relaxed they're probably health.

Be careful around fearful llamas they will spit, kick and have if they bite it isn't pretty because I doubt they have had their wolf teeth removed and the ones I've met know how to use them.
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post #3 of 4 Old 01-24-2012, 06:06 PM
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Hi there, (hope you are sitting and are comfy.....)

I have llamas and alpacas (cousins pretty much) and I'll see if I can help.
Generally only male llamas have fighting teeth. They are located in the same place as wolf teeth on horses. The males usually use them on each other when fighting and they can slice ears very well. Gelded males still have them, but aren't really inclined to use them.
Not often do llamas bite people (Disclaimer: it can happen, just not near as much as horses) Other than ones with fighting teeth, llamas only have teeth on the bottom (like sheep or cows) but if you give them treats by hand they will often get your fingers by mistake. And it is a mistake. Llamas aren't good with taking trats like goats are.

Most llamas are inclined to spit and kick for defense to humans, and they will stomp dogs, fox, and whatnot. That is why they are used as guard animals.

Being friends- Tidbits do help, but actually the best thing to do is get a chair and park yourself in the pasture (read a book or something.) Their curious nature will bring them over, but let them initiate contact, don't reach out to them. Over time they will learn to trust you.

Grain- as mentioned before a good grass hay that is not too high in protein is best, unless you feel they need some weight out on.
Camelids (collective for camels, llamas, alpacas, and their wild cousins) need a diet that is higher in fiber (hay) and lower in protein concentrates. For a tidbit a 12% horse sweet feed will work. The best thing you can do nutrition wise for them is make sure they have a mineral designed for them. Most parts of the US are lacking enough selenium in the soils, therefore grass and hay are also lacking. They are also more sensitive to dietary changes than horses. They are ruminents, like cattle sheep and goats, and it is easier to upset their digestive system.
The additives for joint health shouldn't effect them.

Wool, well there are several wool catagories on llamas from light wool (easier to see body conditioning) to heavy wool (difficult as all heck to see anything) but most llamas carry theit tail upright and you can see their bum cheeks. If they look boney or thin, like a thin/underweight horse, they probably need some more hay, or to be dewormed.
If they are fleshy and plump (think QH) they are just fine. It may take some doing for them to feel not threatened if you sneek around behind them. Or, you could try using the zoom on your pocket camera if they won't let you close enough to see well.

Back to the wool, llamas do need to be sheared. Depending on how hot AND humid your area is will dictate how often. Humidity is a big concern for them with all the wool they carry. Hot and dry isn't usually as hard on them as really warm and very humid is.

There are shearing teams that travel the country and all they do is shear alpacas and llamas. If you are able to pen up your llamas, then they can handle getting them sheared properly and are trained to handle any type of llama.
And they will trim the toenails too if needed. While their feet are padded, they do have nails on the toe tips.

Shearing- usually in most parts of the US, we full body shear llamas every other year, and "barrel" on the off year. Thas is we just shear the belly, sides of belly, and back. If your summers are mild you should be able to shear less often.

What to do with the wool. Keep it! Google how to felt llama or alpaca and learn how to make your own saddle pads, rugs, ect....

If you need more info PM me and I'll dig up some good camelid websites for you.
The girl in the pic is very cute!
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post #4 of 4 Old 01-24-2012, 07:32 PM
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That's cool never knew the females didn't have the fighting teeth. I helped catch wild yearlings (I guess that is what you would call them) and wow they don't like to be grabbed. The males were mean when it came to others biting mostly the back legs of others, and going after people where ever. But these haven't been touched from birth to up to two years, so could make the difference.
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