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This site is intended to provide the sharing of experience and information.
Take what you can use .... leave the rest.
Information on this site is not guaranteed to be current or accurate.  Just suggestions.
Always consult your personal veterinarian for an ill llama or alpaca.

If you'd like to participate, please send us your questions, experiences, or comments. 


QUESTION:   I wanted to train my lama to pull a small light weight cart, my question is, what kind of road conditions should I avoid, example if I am on a paved road, and its hot should I not stay on the paved road? Do their feet get hot? I live in the desert and the pavement can get pretty hot. Is their some kind of covering for their feet? Boots or shoes? The land is very rocky and to get from a to b it is easier to travel on the road.   Cindy

RE:  If the road is very hot pavement, it would be best to try to avoid it.  Even with their thick padded feet, I would assume that really hot blacktop pavement would be quite uncomfortable.  I don't know of any boots or shoes, but it may be a good idea.  Maybe you could work up something for their feet.

QUESTION:  Is there anything that can be given to alpacas to chew on to help keep there teeth from getting too long. I would like to avoid grinding the teeth down if possible?     John

RE: Not that I've ever heard of.  Even if there was, it probably wouldn't help the front teeth anyway - just the back molars.  In my experience, it seems as if they have a good bite to begin with, the teeth don't seem to get too bad in their older years.

QUESTION:   I started out with a single intact male about 2-3 yrs old just guessing.  I picked him up at the sale barn with no information about him. He was getting aggressive so I began educating myself. I got him gelded and then found him a companion that just happened to be a female. He is always mounting to breed her. We just left things as are. Then a few years later I found another male/female pair at the sale barn about 2yrs old. My first pair are several years old. I know the males will fight and they are separated till I decide what I need to do. Also I have no idea if he has his fighting teeth yet but will be going to the vet next week and get that taken care of.
   I want to raise some cria's and if there are any males I will have them gelded young so I don't have the same trouble. I don't know if I keep the new male intact can I still put it with the gelded male that is always breeding the female?
    Would it be wise to keep the two males together, separated from the females and only put the intact male with the females when it's time to breed?  And the other option is that it might just be more of a headache to keep the intact male. So if I sold him, do people take their llamas for breedings like same as for horses or dogs on a stud farm?
    With geldings like mine that still mount and breed, are they safe to leave in a pen with new born cria's?
    I know I've started out on the wrong foot but I'm trying to make it right. Seems there's alot of intact males that go thru the sale barn that should have been gelded young and were left alone to become aggressive and a nuisance and that's what I've ended up with. Not sure what to do with what I already have and I plan to not let that happen here if I have baby males come along. All advice is sure appreciated. Thank you........SunRise Corral

RE: I agree you've kinda started out on the wrong foot by purchasing animals from a sale barn and animals that you know nothing about.  These animals are probably being dumped and you may now have problem animals.  On the other hand, you may have given some animals a good home and good care that they may not have had in the past.  I would always recommend purchasing animals from a breeder who can give you the history of the animal and provide you with proper care information.

With that being said, you now have two males, one gelded and one intact, and two females.  The males can most likely be kept together and will probably get along with just some normal boy play - not serious fighting.  Or the intact male can be kept separate and the gelding can get along in with the females.  However, if the gelding is trying to still breed the females, he should not be kept in with them as he will cause medical problems to the females from the frequent breedings.  Actually, I would strongly suggest that you geld the intact male also.  If you ever want to breed your female, you can take her to a farm where there outside breedings are offered.

If you want to have a cria, I strongly suggest that you know that the animals you are breeding are not going to produce more problems.  Know your animals and breed carefully.  Know why you want to breed and that you can care for all these animals properly.

It is recommended that males be gelded at about the age of two however some vets say that after one year of age is acceptable also.  Fighting teeth appear at about the age of two also and should be removed.

If you have an aggressive animal, probably due to overhandling when young, I would highly recommend that you watch him carefully when you are around him.  These males can be very dangerous and cause serious injury.  It's really too bad that someone will put this type of animal in a sale and pass on unknown dangers to a buyer just trying to give the animal a good home.  In reality, it would be best to have the vet euthanize an aggressive animal rather than pawning it off on someone else.

Having llamas in your life can be very rewarding - they are great pets and companions and can also provide you with much enjoyment and many other uses.  Read all you can about their characteristics, behaviors, and training.  Only breed with knowledge and know that you can care and be responsible for the animals that you bring into the world.

Hope this helps and that you truly enjoy your llamas for many years to come. 

Perhaps you can help me.  This year I purchased a good quality hay from a reputable but new source.  This morning I found a piece of rigid insulation inside a hay bale. It looked like pressed cellulose with little hairs in it, with a foil backing.  I removed all the pieces, the hay on the ground, and checked a few other bales and I found nothing. Everyone seems fine.  However I did have one llama with a digestive problem (who is also fat, old and greedy:) a few weeks ago but she is fine now.  I did not find anything in the hay then and I scrutinize pretty closely.  Is there cause for concern?   Lydia 

RE: I guess I would have to say there's always a cause for concern about our hay - especially when you do find some foreign matter in it.  And there's always the chance of something being in there.  At this point, I would just suggest you keep an open eye on your hay when feeding.  Or contact the source of your hay and see if this was just a rare instance.  If your animals are all acting OK and eating properly, apparently there has been no harm.Hope this helps.

I was burning cedar in my pasture and my 2 year old gelding walked into the fire and rolled in the ashes and fire. Is this normal? I had to get him into the catch pin to remove the burning embers from his fiber. He was actually smoking. Thank you, Kathy, Texas

RE: Wow!  What these llamas won't get think of next!  Actually, I have heard of this happening - but I haven't seen it!  I guess the ashes look like a wonderful dust bowl to them.  Whenever we do any burning within a pasture, I make surethe burn area is well flooded with water before I leave the area unattended. 

You'd think they would shy away from the fire.  Perhaps with the thick wool, your gelding didn't even feel the burning embers on his coat.

QUESTION:  I just had a 22 month old male llama gelded because my intact herd sire kept attacking him.  How long will it take for the "Gelded" effect to work so the intact male no longer is annoyed by him.  My intact male runs with a herd of seven females and I would like the gelding to join them. Chet

RE: You've presented a tough question.  Your intact male is only protecting his territory and attacking another male is a normal behavior.  Sometimes more than one male can share a pasture, but not likely when in with females.
You should allow the gelding procedure at least three weeks to be sure your gelding is not able to impregnate any of the females.  Whether your intact male recognizes the gelding as a non-competitor or not will remain to be seen.  Some intact males may tolerate a gelding in with the herd and some may not.  They all have different personalities.

The gelding procedure is used more often to protect pregnancy and allow males and females to be housed together safely more than it is used to enable two males to run together.  If one needs to be housed separately, it probably should be the intact male.

Hope this helps,

QUESTION: Hi! We obtained four llamas which have to be sheared, and the shearer wants the animals to be tranquilized, where are they injected, in the neck or the hip? The vet gave us 4 cc of tranquilizer, do we give 1cc per hundred pounds?  How do we know how many pounds they each weigh? The shearer said they have not been sheared in about 4 Years.  I would appreciate any help you can give. Thanks, Angela

RE: Generally llamas are not tranquilized when they are shorn. They normally just stand there and allow it to be done with little resistance. Until you know what kind of tranquilizer the vet has given you, I would highly suggest that you don't just guess on the dosage or the injection area. Some tranquilizers can be very dangerous and can actually kill your llama if used improperly. You probably should talk with your vet more on this.

If the fiber is very matted and in poor condition that the shearer is going to have problems with, I would suggest that you take a lot of the fiber off with just a pair of scissors and then follow up with the shears. That might be less stress on the animal.  Sorry I can't be of more help.

 QUESTION: We have a male llama that is overpowering our pregnant female goats and sitting on them until they give birth prematurely. Have you ever heard of this? If so, is there anything we can do about it?  Thanks.  Barb 

RE: I have not ever heard of this except in the case that the male llama is not gelded. If this is the case, he may be trying to breed them. Any male llama that is put in with goats or sheep should be gelded at about the age of two.

QUESTION: We have had four llamas with abscesses.  In the recent two llamas the abscess is on the side of cheek or on the lower jaw.  The vet lances them and gives an injectable antibiotic.  The vet says we have to find out the cause.   I canít think of anything changing.  Any ideas?  Thanks, Paula

RE: It has always been my thought that when an abscess appeared on the cheek or jaw, it was normally due to probably something in the hay making some kind of puncture wound which then got infected.  It seems very strange that you've had four animals with an abcess in the same area.  Have you examined their hay or grazing areas?  Would you possibly have any trees or bushes  with thorns or them that would be causing puncture wounds?  I'm assuming that if your vet is treating them, he's already examined their teeth for problems.  That would be the only ideas that I have. 

QUESTION: Hello: I don't know where else to go or who to ask and I remember using your instructions in helping a llama that has come into contact with the meningeal worm. I live in Centralia, Illinois, which is in Southern Illinois, 60 miles East of St. Louis, Mo. We have many, many, and even more white tail deer in this area. I became familiar with the meningeal worm this past March with one of my 2 year old females. I had been gone for a couple of days, and when I came home, I couldn't find her. When I did, she was laying in the pasture, looking like it was the end. I tried to get her up, but couldn't. Called my local Vet and he came a few hours later. He wasn't sure himself what the problem was so he took some blood and gave her a shot of banamine. The night before I called a woman in Central Illinois that raises llamas and she told me what it could be, which was the "M" worm. She told me to get the article that was published in the Llama magazine regarding the treatment of the Menineal Worm for Ohio State. I showed this to my Vet, and we did everything that was stated. Within 3 weeks, she was back to walking, but of course, not the same. But, she is alive, eating, playing and looking as normal as she can. She does drag her back legs when she tries to run, but then when she stops, she does get back on her feet. When she walks, she does walk to the side. Now, my question to you is: Can she be bred? Will she be able to carry a cria to full term? I was worried about her legs being able to carry the cria at around the 9th or 10th month. What else do I need to know? Or should I just let her graze for the rest of her life? Thank you for your time. I sincerely appreciate any input you have or any articles I can read. Phyllis

RE: I have heard some llama owners say that their treated M-worm patients have recovered fairly well and go on to live pretty normal lives. I guess the decision of whether to breed her or not would depend on just how easily she gets around and just how strong her rear legs are. Actually the disease Afected the control she has over her rear legs and not necessarily the strength in her legs. If  the M-worm experience hasn't left her extremely crippled, it may be all right for her to carry a cria. The decision will have to be yours since you know her condition better than anyone else. Hope this helps.

QUESTION: I recently visited a farm where a older lama was in with sheep to guard them. I noted that his lower teeth were so long he could not cover them with his lower lip. He also was clacking his teeth, but not in a mean fashion. The farmer said he has has him for 7 years and his teeth have always been that way. Is this normal or does the animal need his teeth shortened?Raymond

RE: This isn't exactly normal, but not totally unusual. Some animals teeth do seem to get longer as they get older. Other than looks, it doesn't really hurt anything unless they are so long that it interferes with their browsing and eating capabilities. Long teeth can really hinder them sometimes. The vet can easily trim these teeth down without harm to the animal and most likely the llama will be able to eat more efficiently.


QUESTION: What would you say a budget would be per year to support a llama?  We have a 1000 acres farm with a large Barn and shed area, with lots of tallgrass prairie grass.  What would you say it costs to buy a llama, more for a pet than anything. We are trying to put together a budget, of initial costs, and then yearly costs. and what equipment would we need, and do you know how much that would cost?  Thanks, Kristin

RE: Well, part of this will depend on what area of the country you live in and what your needs will be. But, for a general estimate .......  Your facilities sound great for llamas. However, with 1000 acres, I would do some fencing to create a small corral up around the barn to contain them if needed. And if you develop a herd, you could do more fencing to create different pastures.
Companion animals, or pets, normally sell for around $500. They are males who are to be gelded at around two years of age. Females normally start at $1500. You may find animals a little cheaper than this, but please be sure to purchase from a reliable breeder. If purchased at an auction, it may be an animal that someone is trying to dump for some reason and you may end up with severe personality problems or health problems. Then these animals will either end costing you a lot of money in vet bills or will end up hurting you. Llamas are herd animals and you should purchase two of them. Most breeders will also offer you a discount if you are purchasing more than one animal.
Llama feed will cost about $12 for a 50 lb. bag. You should only feed a llama one pound of feed a day. A male or gelding should only get 3/4 lb. You definitely want to watch their weight and keep it down.
You have lots of pasture so that's good. If pasture is gone in the winter, you will need to supplement a nice grass hay. Alfalfa is too rich for them and puts weight on. A square bale of hay should last a llama about 7 days. You can also offer a trace mineral mix formulated for llamas at free choice. A bag of this lasts quite a while as they only eat it when they need it.
Fresh water is needed of course.
Medical care is minimal. One CD/T vaccination a year and maybe 4 dewormings. You can do this yourself and each individual dose is low in cost. You can order needles & syringes, and medicines off the internet very reasonable. And they will last awhile for only a couple of animals.
Equipment -- other than some medical supplies to have on hand and some brushes for grooming, there is not much necessary equipment. You'll need rakes and shovels to keep the poop piles cleaned up. Buckets or waterers. Feed dishes. Pair of toenail trimmers. And you'll probably want to mow the pastures some if you only have two llamas. Halter and lead ropes which will probably come with the animals if you purchase from a llama farm. They will need to be shorn in the summer for comfort from the heat but you can do that with scissors if you choose not to purchase shears or electric clippers. You definitely will need some good powerful fans to install in their barn or shelter for the summer. Llamas are subject to heat stress and need to be kept comfortable in summer heat and humidity.
There is a lot of information on my website about caring for llamas. Check

QUESTION: Hello.  I was wondering what you could tell me about Cervical Vertebral Injuries? I have a 3 year old female that I just recently noticed was walking funny. As I was checking her over (running my hands over her body) I noticed that her neck was crooked. She eats, goes potty, runs, rolls in the dirt just as she always has but is sometimes unstable on her feet. I have not been able to find much about this anyware and was wondering what her life expectancy is now and if there is anything special I should do for her. She is in the pasture with our 3 year old gelded male and they get along very well. She showed signs of meningeal worm earlier this summer and was treated with ivomec. Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks! Annie   

RE: I can't tell you much about Cervical Vertebral injuries and I think you'll have to have an examination by  your veterinarian. However what you are describing does sound somewhat familiar to me as possibly the results of the Meningeal Worm that she experienced earlier this spring.

QUESTION: I have had llamas for 11 years. Once in a while we have had problems with hyperthermia when the summers are very hot and dry with a lot of stagnant air but not every year. So whenever I see the llamas even a little bit
breathing hard, drooling, etc. I increase the number of fans, wet down the short fiber belly areas, give electrolytes, etc. This year has been a real problem in the northeast for this. Also I have 2 lactating females with especially large frisky crias who have been especially vulnerable so I have had to give 2 of them banamine one time each. The thing is, some
times it seems as if they are OK when it is really hot and then when it cools off a little the next day THEN they may show symptoms. Why do you think this is? Lydia

RE: I can't really say why you are experiencing problems after it cools down a little. My experiences have been that problems occur during the heat. The only thing I can offer is that after the periods of hot weather like we've had this year without much relief, when it does cool off a little, the animals are a bit worn out from the stress of the long periods of heat. Also, do you mean that you give Bo-Se rather than Banamine. Banamine is a pain killer and can be used if the animal is completely down with heat stress. But just showing some light symptoms of heat, you would want to give Bo-Se in order to replace the Selenium and Vitamin E that is lost with the stress.  Hope this helps some.

QUESTION: We just had a beautiful baby boy llama three mounths old. My daughter was outside playing with him and fond a third toe.What are our options? Tracey

RE: Well, since you have just found this, it seems that it isn't causing him any problems. The additional toe is a deformity however and you probably should give serious consideration to not breeding these same two animals together again.

QUESTION: I just acquired two new female llamas. One is bred and the other isn't. The one that isn't bred is only nine months old and is breeding with my male llama. Can the nine month old get pregnant? Is it safe for her to breed at this age?  Thank you

RE: I suggest that you remove your male from that pasture with your nine month old female as soon as possible!! Yes, your nine month old may get pregnant and no, it is not safe and healthy for her to breed at such a young age. You should wait until she is about two years old to breed her and at that time she should also be 200# or over. Please do remove your male to another area.

QUESTION: I have a young female llama (about 1 1/2 year old) which I keep with a goat and a sheep (all females). She is very gentle and curious ,as a matter of fact she is the darling of the neighborhood, but lately I have
noticed a change in her behaviour, when I stroke her she sometimes get very excited and stand up on hers hind legs and jumps .At first , I found it funny, but last week she jumped on me while I was turning my back to her.  She does not seems to be aggressive but I would like her to stop doing that.  Does anybody have an idea why she behaves like
that and how I could train her to stop jumping ?  THANK YOU!  By the way I enjoy very much your website.   Isabelle

RE: Although it is not nearly as common in females, they also can exhibit aggressive behavior when they are not raised in the proper atmosphere. You didn't mention how long you have had her or whether she was handled extensively as a young cria, but by not having other llamas around her to keep her in line, she is obviously not up on her social skills. When raised with other llamas, they learn proper llama manners from each other. You need to discipline her strongly at every sign of misbehavior. She should not be jumping up at all and standing up on her hind legs is not normal behavior for a llama. It will not be very funny when she is 200 or 300 some pounds - someone could get seriously hurt. Use loud "No" voice commands and possibly bring your knee up into her chest if she is standing up in front of you. You need to stop this behavior as soon as possible. You can read more about aggressive behavior on our website.

QUESTION: I just purchased 3 young llamas as pets from a game farm. The people that I purchased them from are not real specific as to what to feed and the amounts to feed. They told me 1 leaf of grass hay per day and about a small coffee can of grain per day per llama. Can you help me out here? I have been feeding them as much as they want grass hay (mainly timothy which I use for my horses) and 1/2 of a small coffee can of blue seal llama pellets in the AM and PM per llama. One llama is a 9 month old male, one is a 9 month old female, and one is a 5 month old female.  I contacted Blue Seal and they told me that I should have them on a growth formula sweet feed. Please let me know your opinion or point me in the right direction.  Thank you

RE: Depending on where you live and the conditions there, it is normally recommended to feed llamas only 1 lb. of llama feed a day - for each llama. You need to weigh out 1 lb. in your scoop or coffee can, and mark it for a measure. For adult males or geldings, you could reduce that amount to about 3/4 of a pound. You need to watch their weight for various reasons - the greatest form of malnutrition in llamas in this country is obesity. In addition to their llama feed, which is viewed as kind of a daily vitamin as it contains what balances out for a llama's diet, they can be turned out onto pasture. If you're in an area which has seasons where pasture is not available, you'll need to supplement their feed with a good quality grass hay. It is said that a square bale of hay will last a llama about 7 days so you can figure from that. Your hay needs only to be 12% protein at the highest - alfalfa is too rich for them as a steady diet and has other complications. It is also advisable to have a dish of a trace mineral mix formulated for llamas - offered free choice. And of course, always fresh water available.  There is more detailed information on our website about feeding and nutrition.
Hope this helps.

QUESTION: Hello! I have 2 cria. When should I begin training them? What should I try to train them first?  How is a good way to train them? Megan  

RE: Start training them just a little when they are very young. Touching them all over, especially rubbing their legs and ears and mouth so they get used to you touching those areas. Put a little halter on them for short periods so they get used to it. After that you can attach the lead rope and get them to step forward with just a little tug. Take them on short walks along with the mom to get them used to walking with a halter and lead rope. They aren't so afraid when mom is there too. Do your training sessions often, but keep them rather short. Always end at a positive time and they won't be stressed. 

QUESTION: Hello!   First let me say that I enjoyed your website and found it an abundance of information! For that reason, I would like to ask you a question: I came across some limited information that I donít really trust. It claimed that the reason there are so many llamas fetuses used in religious festivals in Peru is because llamas are usually pregnant with twins, but only one baby llama is born, so with the afterbirth there will always be the second fetus. I know that Alpacas almost never have twins and so I was wondering if you could confirm or rebuke this? It seems unlikely, but would explain a lot. Thanks!  Pete 

RE: I've never heard the information about llama fetuses being used in religious ceremonies because they had so many twin pregnancies. Actually twins are rather rare in llamas and alpacas. I have known twins to be born, but it is quite uncommon. And in all the afterbirths I've examined, there has never been a second llama.  This is almost as good a story as the one about llamas laying eggs!

QUESTION: For some reason our females have decided to start new poop piles all over the pasture. Is there any known product that can be used to put on these new places to stop this?? I have tried PDZ and this product does not work.   Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!  Thanks,  Darlene

RE: Bad news ...... no suggestions of anything to put on the new piles. Unfortunately the females always seem to think they need alot of piles in their pastures. Sometimes cleaning an area up really good will result in a smaller poop area, but probably won't eliminate it entirely. I've thought of using one of those dog & cat products that claim to keep pets away from your bushes, but I've never gotten around to trying it. Maybe that would work. Maybe we'll get some more suggestions from other owners.

QUESTION: I have been to a lot of websites on the effects of acorns on llamas and alpacas and there is a lot of controversial information out there.  Some sites say to avoid them at all costs, some say they are ok in moderation, and yet some say there is no problem in camelids with them.  Can you either help clarify this or direct me to a good source of information on this topic?  Thank you in advance. Kevin

RE: I personally haven't had any problems with acorns although we do have oak trees around our property. To be absolutely sure, you should check some of thesepoisonous plant lists.

QUESTION: Hello. We live in northern Canada and seem to be experiencing foot rot with a few of our llamas. I read your preventative treatment with regards to the carpet soaked in diluted bleach. What have you found that cures this ailment? Or do you just never get it? Any help you could provide us would be appreciated. Great site by the way!  Thanks, John.

RE: We have experienced some foot rot during extremely wet weather.  The best treatment I have found for it is to apply Koppertox to the area daily.  This is a very drying substance and helps start the healing process.  If the foot pads are extremely effected and have some rather deep holes and are to the point that you can smell the odor of an infection, I apply the Koppertox and then apply Ichthammol, a thick tar-like ointment.  Then cover the foot pad with a waterproof bandage pad and hold into place by wrapping the foot with vet wrap.  You need to keep the foot as dry as possible for it to start to heal.  If weather is extremly wet, muddy, or snowy, it may be best to confine the animal to a stall until the healing starts.  This method has always worked well for us.

QUESTION: Hello. I've begun my life with llamas and things are going well. Even the birth of a new cria has gone very well. I'm lucky and want to continue doing the right thing for these kids. My question is in regard to llamas and their eating habits. Are they likely to eat/swallow something they shouldn't -- something other than food, for instance? I am curious as to how meticulous I need to keep their pasture and barn area. Sometimes I find things that have fallen out of a box on a trip I"ve made out there, or pieces of materials from the building of their fence. Is this something I need to be concerned about? Thank you for your help and for your great web site. Margaret 

RE: Although llamas are not scavengers, they do browse in the pasture grasses and possibly could swallow something foreign.   I've heard of llamas consuming pieces of metal or fencing and bleeding internally.  It's a good idea to walk your pastures occasionally and look for foreign objects that may be surfacing.  Especially after the freezing and thawing of the winter weather.  That seems to force things to the surface of the ground.  Another thing to consider is that pieces of construction etc. may cause injury to the foot if stepped on.

QUESTION: I would appreciate if someone could provide me with some information about the proper feeding of llamas. We just bought a young female , 6 months old , she is half llamas, half alpaca.  We also have a goat and I have started feeding her with with the same kind of feed (for goat and sheep) and hay.  I would like to know just how much we feed we should give her.  So far she likes it very much but I don't want her to get fat and at the same time we want to keep her in good health and is this kind of feed good for her? Thank you. Isabelle

RE: Nutritional needs vary depending on the area of the country that you live in so you need to develop a nutritional diet that is best for your area. In general, I would highly recommend that you get a llama feed for your llama rather than feeding her with a feed that is formulated for sheep or goats. Each species has its own individual nutritional needs and a llama's need is different than sheep or goats. It is normally recommended that the llama get one pound of llama feed daily. If it is a breeding male or gelding, you can feed 3/4 lb. daily to keep them in better shape. When pasture is not available, feed a good quality grass hay. Alfalfa hay is normally a little too high in protein and will also put alot of weight on them. You can also keep a dish of a trace mineral mix, formulated for llamas, available - free choice. You're absolutely right in keeping them slim and trim. You should be able to feel their backbone easily ...... your hand should drop off to the side at a 45 degree angle when you place the heel of your hand on their topline.

QUESTION: I just got my first two llamas. One has bottom teeth that seem too long. Do I trim them in some way? Kay

RE: Sometimes the front teeth protrude out when the llamas get older and it can interfere with their ability to graze properly.  And the back teeth can also get out of alignment and interfere with their chewing.  You can have the teeth checked by your veterinarian and he can trim them back if needed.

QUESTION: Greetings. One of our older llamas lost his sight on Christmas day. The vet has not yet been able to determine why. Other than his blindness he appears healthy: eating, bowel movements, hearing etc. We have confined him to a 10 x 10 pen in the barn with permanently affixed water bucket, feed dish and hay rack. The pen has a door that leads to the outside where we've made a small 10 x 10 pen so he can enjoy the unseasonably nice weather we are having. He comes and goes freely between the two and with each day gets more confident. In the spring we will fix a larger outside pen for him. We also walk him for exercise. Our goal is to keep him comfortable and safe and to make sure he has a quality of life. I would appreciate hearing from anyone else who has had a similar experience. Any info and/or suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you,  Cathy

RE: You are to be applauded for the careful attention to this senior animal. I haven't had a personal experience with this but I have heard of people attaching a bell to one of the other "buddy llamas" to enable the blind llama to follow the herd. He'd probably be happier in with the other llamas. Maybe we'll get some other suggestions here. Good luck with him.
RE: I was reading discussions in your "over the fence" and had something to add to the blind llama question from Cathy.  I have a female who has been blind since shortly after birth (caused by infection of mother).  She is very attuned to where things are and where the other llamas are.  If I change a pasture configuration or something, I try to introduce it to her by putting her on a lead rope and "showing" her.  I have found over the years she figures it out pretty easily on her own.  She can locate all the feed dishes, and I don't put them in a set spot each time.  Windy days seem to confuse her...I guess sounds and smells are stirred up and can't be relied on.  Shiva is a great mom.  With her first cria I put a bell on him...quickly found out that wasn't necessary.  She responds to voice commands well also.  She has learned the word "fence" and will stop if about to crash into something.  She was used as a 4-H llama f! or a year and picked up doing obstacles quite nicely.  As you know it is all about trust, and she has learned to trust us when we ask her to do something.  Eran

Could you please tell me what I can feed to produce results in weight gain for my young llamas under 2 years old.  They are weaned, but do not seem to gain weight and I am worried about them being thin. Thank you, Genny.

RE: You didn't say what you were feeding them. Are you feeding them any type of pelleted or crumble llama feed?  Along with some good quality grass hay, a llama supplement feed should keep their weights just fine.  For weight gain in older, thin animals, I have had good success with shredded beet pulp moistened in water in addition to their regular diet.  Also alfalfa cubes soaked in water to soften.  I have also used Lixitinic, an iron supplement, to add to their feed for young and older animals - it has helped alot with weight gain.

QUESTION: I have taught my three male llamas to kush on verbal command and sometimes I ask them to go down on hard ground, for example in the shopping centre if small children want to stroke them. Whilst the llamas fold down quite readily for me, I  really wonder if I am hurting their knees? They seem to lack very little in the way of padding in this area. Thank you. Terry (UK)

RE: It's great that you're sharing your llamas out in public!!  You're right, they don't seem to have alot of padding on their knees, but I don't think you're hurting their knees by asking them to kush on hard ground - especially if it is only occasionally.  If they lay down regularly on pavement, you'll probably notice the fiber wearing off their knees, but it isn't hurting them.  Remember, they originated from the mountainous areas of South America, so soft surfaces and lush pastures are a luxury.

QUESTION: Do you know of a way or type of equipment that would allow you to grind llama manure up to make into fertilizer? Thank you! Darlene

RE: Yes, we use a leaf vacuum called Agri-Fab Mow-N-Vac. It can be pulled by a riding lawn mower or any other piece of equipment and has it's own gas motor. It has a fat hose that will vacuum up poop - just not real wet, sloppy stuff. It shoots it through a fan which pulverizes it into a nearly dry, very fine mixture. It has no odor and feels similar to a peat moss. We purchased ours from a Quality Farm & Fleet farm store. Here's a picture of the Mow-N-Vac.  You can see the hose kit accessory at this site:  Hose Accessory.   It's really great.

QUESTION: Do females exhibit any type of behavior that would let me know she is close to delivery? Lynn

RE: You should notice that the udder is filling with milk and also that the vulva is a bit swollen or enlarged and enlongated. The female will probably lay off by herself for a few days before delivery. When in labor, you may notice her visiting the poop pile often and straining - without any urination or poop. She also may be getting up and down and rolling some or possibly biting at her sides. These are all good signs. But, on the other hand, there are some that just seem to have their cria with no warning signs. They like to surprise you!!!

QUESTION: My llama lost her 10 mo. old cria about 2 months ago. Since then she has given birth to a new cria. The birth went well, we actually were around for it. Anyways, about a week and a half later we lost the baby. Our mother llama has been in good health, but about 3 days ago she has seemed to have lost her appetite. When I give her grain she will eat a bit or so and then be done. I have noticed a clicking in her hip which started two days ago. Then yesterday, when I was putting her in her pen, I noticed that she was draging her back leg. It was almost like she is getting paralyized. I would be very thankful if you could tell me what could possibly be done for my llama. I have already lost 2 in the last 2 months, I really don't want to loose another one. Thank you, Lori

RE: My first thought goes to Meningeal Worm. This is a parasite that can be spread by white tailed deer and affects the nervous system. First symptoms are often seen in the hind quarters. If this is the case, your llama will need immediate veterinary treatment. You can read more about M-Worm and treatments here. This may or may not have anything to do with losing your llama's crias. I would suggest doing an IgG on any future crias to assure they have a good passive transfer of the immune system.

QUESTION: We have an eighteen month old intact male llama. We also have goats of several ages and breeds. The young llama has started to chase the goats. He started out playing mildly, but recently has become rougher. Would gelding him assure this behavior stops? Could he continue to aggravate the goats after being gelded? Thank you, Brenda

RE: Your 18 month old intact male is probably developing his desire and interest in breeding. If not gelded, he may try to breed the goats and possibly injure one of them. He will be a much better companion and guard animal for them if he is gelded and most likely will not have any desire to breed them whatsoever. And he now is an age where he can be gelded.

QUESTION: Do you have any information on urolithiasis in gelded llamas? We just lost our not quite 5 year old gelding to this. He was not overweight, had free choice mineral, and water available at all times. Thanks, Penni

RE: Urolithiasis (stones in the urinary tract) is fairly common in goats and sheep, but not so common in camelids. And due to the urethra being smaller in males than females, this disease is seen in males rather than females. Stones are generally caused by an imbalance of calcium and phosphorus in the diet. There is a proper calcium/phosphorus ratio that should be maintained in the diet of camelids - this can be checked by drawing blood and doing a CBC. Feeding the proper type of hay for your area and a supplement grain formulated for llamas can help keep the calcium and phosphorus ratio in proper balance. For example: Alfalfa hay is high in calcium and grains are high in phosphorus. When the phosphorus is too high for the amount of calcium, the excess phosphorus, which is absorbed into the blood stream from the intestine, is thrown away in the urine. When the phosphorus gets too high in the urine, it forms crystals which have very sharp edges and appear like tiny grains of sand. These tiny grains can pack into stones and plug up the urethra, the tube that takes the urine from the bladder to the outside. If the urethra becomes plugged from the stones, the urine often leaks out into the tissues, or the bladder ruptures. Since urine is toxic to the animal, the llama may die of urea toxicity.

QUESTION: I have new baby llama born 5 days ago, the first for our farm. When she was born, the tips of her ears, one more than the other, was slightly bent backwards. The tips of her ears are continuing to curl back, now almost to 90 degree crook. Is this a genetic defect that will continue. Will they straighten out eventually or should I tape them with cardboard or see a vet?Warren

RE: It's a good possibility that the ears will come upright by themselves with time. But, not to take a chance, I would suggest that you offer them some support as they grow and strengthen this first month just to encourage them to stay upright. Even with support, some ears do not straighten up. Whether it is genetic or not is really an unknown question - unless it is happening from the same animal time after time. I would guess that almost all farms have seen it from time to time. Sometimes the cause is the way the ears were folded in utero. More about Tipped Ears

QUESTION: I just bought two gorgeous llamas few days ago. They are adjusting nicely to new place. However, yesterday, I noticed that both llamas had their mouths open for about 30 minutes. The outdoor temperature was in 50's so it was not the issue of heat stress. I also noticed that their tongues were bit dry (due to long exposure of air in mouth) and they had leftover cuds in their mouth. Then after about 30 min, they stopped doing it. I d like to know why they did that. Thank you. Judy

RE: You're right, it's probably not heat stress. They probably just had a meeting of the minds over who was going to be "herd queen" for the moment. When they spit at each other or even just start to spit, they get a sour mouth which results in them standing there for 15 minutes or so with their mouths hanging open, lips dangling, and drooling like they've just disjointed their entire jaw. They normally will try to pick up some hay or straw to hold in their mouth to sweeten it up. Actually, I think it's just one of those behaviors to panic their new human owners!!! There are a couple of other "panic behaviors for new owners" mentioned on this page.

QUESTION: My 2 yr. old male's nose looks sore & crusted. His mom's nose is fine. Male is otherwise very healthy. Help me please! Arlea

RE: It would be difficult to determine the cause unless he was examined by your vet. It probably should be kept moistened and softened with some Vaseline or Desitin - or Vitamin E oil. One source of crusty areas can be mites. They can show signs (crusty areas and hair loss) around the face and you may see the eggs (or nits) on hair follicles. This can be treated with a shot of Ivermectin or Dectomax, but you should still soften the areas with a cream. To be sure of the cause, you should see your vet.

QUESTION: My female Llama fell of a clift in the ice and broke her neck and died. She has a male baby boy and I don't know what to do with him. The boy was born in November and is only two months old. Help!!!!! Shawn

RE: What an unfortunate and sad incident! Obviously the cria is not ready to be on its own, so you will have to do some supplemental feeding in order to keep up the cria's weight gains. You can feed it regular homogenized whole milk just from the grocery - not low-fat. He will probably take a full 8 oz. bottle 3-4 times a day, but if you feed him the last bottle late at night, you won't have to get up in the middle of the night. If he wants more than the 8 oz., it would be alright to give it to him. To add more fat to the milk, you could add a tablespoon of regular cooking oil. Warm the bottle a little, but not too hot. And for more nutrition, after he gets used to taking the bottle, you can add a couple of ounces of plain yogurt mixed in with the milk. It may be somewhat difficult to get the cria to take a bottle now, but you'll just have to be insistent and keep trying until he gets used to it. Once it takes the bottle, he'll probably go after it rapidly and the feedings won't take long at all. You want to be sure not to over handle this male cria as it may alter his behavior somewhat. If he gets taking the bottle OK, I would suggest that you make a substitute Mom using wooden saw horses (for the legs) with a board between them for the body. Make a hole in the center board where you can insert the bottle upside down so the cria can get it without you holding it. You could even put some llama wool over it to make it seem more real. This would enable the cria to take a bottle but he wouldn't associate taking it from a human. And you wouldn't have to stand and hold the bottle. You could even make spots for two bottles. The only other option is if you have another nursing female that will allow him to nurse also. Or if you could get a goat that would allow him to nurse.
QUESTION: I've got an 18 mo. old gelded llama who has been moved back to his original birth place to be pastured for the winter. This Friday, the owner heard belching noises after she had fed the llamas their morning hay. She noticed that "Gent", my boy, had spasms in his throat (observed by her) and had a green slime coming from his mouth. He cushed for a few minutes and then got up and went out to graze on pasture. It happened again on Sat. After discussion with a llama breeder, she took him off of hay and is only giving him pasture and grain. This was advice from the breeder. The breeder stated that some llamas have difficulty with hay and that some actually starve to death as they can't eat the hay. One note; Gent never had these problems at his previous residence. Also, Gent has not had this problem again since the owner took him off hay. Judith
RE: Sometimes when an animal has suffered "choke" or irritation, it's best to keep him off of that particular food for a few days and introduce it back gradually. A condition called Megasophagus also comes to mind. A hands on examination from your vet is probably needed to diagnose this properly.
QUESTION: Hello, we have a little male that will be 12 months old April 2003, I would love to geld him then so he can go back in with the females that he has been with since birth, he really misses them. What is the youngest I can geld a male with out causing him any other problems? Thanks, Marcie
RE: Your question is one that has a lot of varying opinions. Even most of the expert llama vets don't have real substantial evidence as to the very best time. Some have gelded as young as 6 months and report no problems. However, it is the majority opinion to wait until around two years old before gelding. They feel that the growth plates in their legs are then closed and gelding will not result in any damage to their development.
QUESTION: This is our first time to own a Llama so I need to know what to feed one. Actually my dad bought one at a sale and can barely get it to eat sweet feed. Is there something else it will eat that we don't know about? Any help you can give us is greatly appreciated. Djuna
RE: If your llama won't eat the sweet feed, don't push it. He's better off without it. Llamas are browsers and enjoy pasture and hay. The hay should be a nice grass hay, not alfalfa. Although they really like alfalfa, it is a bit high in protein for them and will put alot of weight on them. A sweet feed or grain also is a bit rich for them and will put alot of weight on. Horse feeds are too high in copper for them. Your goal for good nutrition is to keep them slim and trim and supply the correct vitamins and minerals. Feed a nice grass hay and also just 1 pound of a llama supplement a day - from your feed store. A number of feed companies have a llama feed and it has the vitamins and minerals that llamas need. A male or gelding will need only about 3/4 of a pound of feed a day. A trace mineral mix formulated for llamas can also be offered free choice. Also, be sure to check on what type of de-wormers are needed in your area and to give him his annual vaccination of CD/T. Llamas are a herd animal and your new pet will be much happier if he has another llama as a companion. Check out more about llama management here. A good simple handbook to have on hand is Caring For Llamas & Alpacas. You can order it cheaply here .
QUESTION: I would like to know if you know of anyone that has used diatomaceous earth with llamas as a parasite control. Here's website information. Thank you. Judy
RE: I keep DE on hand, but I have not tried adding it to the llamas' feed. I've heard of doing that, and it does sound quite harmless to them - I just don't know of any personal vet recommendations. In the summer I sprinkle it over the manure daily in the spreader and use it as a fly control. We don't keep an actual manure pile and spread it into a field regularly, but I figure it helps out in the field as well as in the spreader by the barn.
QUESTION: I am currently considering purchasing 2 male llamas for guard use in my cow/calf operation. I feed my cows sudan grass in the winter. Is this poison to a llama? Thank you.
RE: It may not be the safest possible feed for llamas. After some research on Sudan Grass, I would highly recommend that you check with your local veterinarian and your county extension agent before feeding it to your new llamas. It is listed on some poisonous plant lists and has been known to affect cattle, sheep, and horses. You can read more about it at Also check other sites on Sudan Grass and various poisonous plant lists.
QUESTION: Thanks for your great website! I have a cria that was born the end of April. Now at six months old, she is still nursing and the mom seems to let her when she "wants to" which seems to be getting less and less. Do I just let the mom handle this weaning issue or do I need to assist in some way? If I should help when would that be appropriate? The cria is eating grass and hay all day but will not eat creep feed at all.Thanks so much for your help with this question. Tarre
RE: It isn't actually necessary to wean the cria unless the Mom is showing signs of getting run down or thin due to milking. Or if the cria is a male, you may need to wean him at 6 or 7 months in order to separate him away from the females. If you have a female cria in with your herd and Mom is in a good healthy condition, it would be perfectly OK to leave Mom & daughter together until Mom decides it's time to wean her off. This will usually take place somewhere around 7 months of age. Letting Mom make the decision is far more stress-free for both of them. Having to intervene and separate Mom & cria is one of the hardest herd management jobs there is! It's actually less stress for all if you move Mom to another pasture, out of sight, and leave the cria in familiar surroundings with the rest of the herd.
QUESTION: My male llama... nine months old.... is acting very lethargic....he is laying down alot...should I be overly alarmed? Should I get a vet out here immediately? Should I sand blast him? He trys his best to get to the buckwheat formula I give my horses... it is so strange..the horses want the llama food and the llamas want the horse food. Thanks for any suggestions. Nancy in Florida.
RE: Any type of unusual behavior is an indication of a problem with your llama. Hard to say whether he is sick or not, but he definitely sounds like he is uncomfortable for some reason. Could it be heat stress - since it is that time of year - and you are in Florida? Are you aware of the problems, signs, and preventions of heat stress? Have you taken his temperature? If there is nothing that is obvious to you, perhaps you should have your vet take a look at him.

QUESTION: We give our llamas a flake of alfalfa hay & 1/3 pound of Mazuri sweet feed each daily in the winter. Are we overfeeding? Minerals are also available. Bob.
RE: I'm sure your llamas love their winter diet and they are probably doing just fine - they all love alfalfa and sweet feed. However, both of those items can possibly put on alot of un-needed weight. A good grass hay of about 10-12% protein is usually recommended for llamas. Your concern for over-feeding can only be confirmed by how much weight your llamas are carrying. You should be able to feel their backbone and their ribs easily and also see a generous space in between their rear legs for them to be well fit. Your feeding program should be geared to the area of the country you live in and what types of vitamins and minerals need to be supplemented in your area. As a very general guideline, it is suggested that a llama will eat a square bale of hay in seven days when not on pasture and also should be offered about one pound of a llama feed daily - maybe only 3/4 pound for males and geldings. Also a free choice llama trace mineral mix. A good year round nutritional program is the most important foundation for all health care. It is often said that the most common form of malnutrition in llamas is obesity. And it's alot easier to keep them thin than to try to take weight off of them.
QUESTION: Hello. I just wanted to say thank you for the information on Meningal Worm, it was very helpful. It was probably evident that I was panicked. After my Vet and I read it, we both understood a little more then we already had. My llama is doing much better. He is still somewhat weak, but he is eating well, and is back outside with the rest of the herd, almost acting like himself. Although, his feet are still swollen, he is up, eating, SPITTING (I was so happy when I saw him spit at one of the other llamas) and acting pretty much like himself again. I did e-mail Dr. Anderson to see if he could give me any advise regarding his feet. My only advise is know what your llamas behavior is, and if any change, have them checked. I think in our case we caught it early enough, but I am glad we didn't wait to start treatment. I really don't think the outcome would have been as good. Please don't ever stop your website, I would be lost. Our vet is wonderful, but sometimes a second opinion is helpful. Thank you again. Lynn
RE: So glad to hear that your llama is feeling better! Your advise is excellent !!! Know your llama! If you think something is wrong, it probably is. They are so stoic that by the time you're aware something is wrong, it's usually time to take action. Your llama is lucky that he has such a good owner to care for him! Thank you for letting us know the positive outcome.
QUESTION: Hello. I have been raising llamas for about 7 years, and one of my males has been diagnosed with meningal. I noticed a change in his disposition about 3 weeks ago. I can only describe him as quiet and layed back. More then usual. Last night He came into the barn and I thought he was kushing, which is very unusual for him. Then I noticed he was having trouble getting up. He did get up by himself, but was very unsteady and weak, especially his rear legs. Then he went into his area and layed down again. I immediately thought Meningal and called our vet. He told me to give him penicillin, possibly it was a foot infection, and ivermectin at 1/2 his monthly dose. I have always thought that the ivermec needed to be increased substantially to approximately 4CC per 100 lb. I gave him the penicillin he advised, but my gut feeling was that the ivermec dose should be increased not decreased. I increased it to the dosage of 4cc per 100. The vet came to the barn today, and agreed that it is Meningal. The left side of his face had also dropped. While he was there we did the DMSO and cortisone IV. I did agree with that. He advised me to give 3cc of banamine 2 times a day, and again 1/2 his regular dose of ivermectin once a day for 5 days. His explaination was that there could be some toxicity from all the ivermectin. Have you heard of this? We have worked together with my llamas for 7 years, and at times he has asked my advise about them. He said that was his advise, but that he also valued my opinion. Can you please give me any advise. My biggest fear has been meningal. How long should his recovery take, or atleast improvement. He is still able to get up, but with difficulty, and is very weak in the rear. Please let me know anything at all that might help, and about the dosage of the ivermectin. Thank you very much. Lynn
RE: M-Worm is certainly a scarey thing to discover. Treatment can be successful when it is diagnosed early and treatment started immediately. There is a good article Here describing treatment and therapy that you might share with your vet. Or ask him to personally call and consult with one of the nationally known llama vets who have had alot of experience in this area to assure maximum treatment is being administered. (or you can call yourself). Good luck with your treatments.
QUESTION: My llama is experiencing hair loss. The hair is coming out in clumps. The neck is the most obvious area. I cannot visually see any parasites. Are there other reasons for hair loss? She had a cria in May. She has not been bred back. Could hormonal levels attribute to hair loss? I am concerned as the winter approaches.
RE: Hair loss, or alopecia, can possibly be a variety of things. If she is losing her neck wool, she may be a short woolled animal who will sometimes lose alot of head and neck wool when older. It also could be a "wool break" most commonly thought to be a result of some kind of stress. Alot of the time, this type of break starts on the neck and just leaves a type of stripe of short wool up the entire back of the neck. The break may stop with this or the animal may continue to lose wool all over its body leaving only about one inch left. Usually you can trace this type of break back to a possible stress about 3-6 months previous. It could be heat, weaning, training, showing, moving to a new home, and yes, even becoming a mother. The stress causes a weakness in the fiber and when it grows out, it just pulls off by the handfuls. Yes, it will grow back.
Parasites, mites or lice, can also cause hair loss, but you would probably be able to see them upon a careful check and you also might see some flaking or leathery skin.
Another reason for wool loss can be nutrition - most likely a zinc deficiency. This can be checked by a complete blood chemistry. She'll probably be fine for winter unless the weather is really severe - alot of short wool llamas have no problems with cold weather. And the wool loss will not effect breeding her back.
QUESTION: I have a 2-llama backyard "ranch" with my boys bought primarily for the purpose of packing and general enjoyment. Both are 3+ years old. Monty has developed pathological stretching of the middle patella ligament with subacute upward displacement of the patella in the right hind leg (his knee moves upward too far on some strides, then pops back into position). This was diagnosed by Dr. Sarel Van Amstel at University of Tennessee Veterinary School. If it is not treated, I cannot continue to use him for packing, and must somehow find a way to retire my pet to pasture (all kinds of emotional, logistical, and financial complications here).
Dr. Van Amstel has suggested trying a procedure that is used successfully on horses to allow them to go back to work after suffering this type of injury. This is injection of an iodine solution into the middle patella ligament to facilitate fibrosis and shorting of the ligament. He and I are both researching any application of this to llamas.
Has anyone out there used this procedure on llamas? If so, what is the recommended dosage (in horses 5cc is used, about half that has been suggested for my llama)? What is the success rate? What are the potential complications and how often do they tend to occur? Any information you have would be most welcome. Veterinarians with specific experience with the problem, this treatment, or other potential treatments can also call Dr. Van Amstel directly at 423-974-5701. Thanks in advance for any information that you can provide. Susan
RE: ?
QUESTION: How old can you expect to start using a male for breeding? Audrey
RE: The most common age that a male is able to breed is generally around the age of two years. However, some do start as early as 18-19 months and others as late as three years, sometimes even four years but that is a little unusual. There are also stories of a surprise pregnancy from males less than a year old, but that too is very uncommon. Most breeders remove their young males from the females before the age of one year just to be sure.

QUESTION: I am looking to purchase fainting goats. I have a herd of llamas and I want to put the goats in with the female llamas. Will this cause a problem? Christine 
RE: The addition of the goats into the llama's area will probably cause a temporary upset. It seems when smaller, unfamiliar animals are introduced, such as miniature donkeys, goats, or a turkey even, the llamas are frightened and you will probably witness alot of alarm calls. If you could put the goats in an adjoining pasture for a week or so before putting them together, they would probably accept each other easier. The only other problem could be with the habits of the goats as they tend to be assertive and hog all the feed dishes. 
QUESTION: I heard somewhere that the spit from a llama is hurtful or poisonous. Is this a rumor or partially true? Lisa
RE: The only hurtful part about it is that it hurts your ego!! Most llamas do not aim and spit directly at you unless they have been mistreated in a petting zoo or some kind of confinement where they have learned to mistrust. They do spit at each other occasionally - especially to show dominance at feeding time. Sometimes it is just a wet spray in the air, kind of like a warning. When really agitated, the spit is regurgitated chewed grass .... wet, and green with an unpleasant odor. Since they do not bite, spitting is a means of defense and the unusual tactic does scare off some predators. It's alot less painful than a dog bite!
QUESTION: I have a 19 month old maiden female llama who has had recurrent vaginal infections that cultured out as e.coli. I was wondering if anyone else has seen this and can give me any advice on how to prevent this from happening again. Thanks. Jackie
RE: I've heard that some females can have what is called a "shelf" placement of their labia, which enables poop to fall onto the opening, potentially causing vaginal e. coli infection. This is considered an undesireable conformational fault. You should observe your llama when she is defecating and see if she is consistently getting the poop away from her body or if it is falling onto her labia. I don't know how to deal with this, if indeed it is the cause of your problem. Good luck.
Susan Gawarecki
QUESTION: I am a new llama owner. I have been given two llamas. They are 8 years old. One of my llamas has what look to be hair-like worms moving around between his eye and eye lid. Do you think they are worms or maggots? What would be the best treatment for this condition? Vince 
RE: Eyeworms: The most likely cause of hair-like worms inside the eyelids is the nematode, Thelazia Californiensis. It is transmitted from animal to animal by flies. Treatment is either by manual removal or you can have your veterinarian make up some eyedrops out of ivermectin to administer to the eye.  Sam D. Meisler DVM
QUESTION: I live on a farm in south Texas. Is the weather too hot for llamas? Betty 
RE: There are quite a few breeders in Texas that successfully raise and keep llamas. Although hot weather is definitely a concern, there are extra methods that maybe farms in the south utilize for the heat. Some have misters and also completely shear the animals in the summer. Definitely fans --- and more fans! Some investigation would be helpful. Hopefully, we'll get some more opinions on this subject.
QUESTION: What kind of market is there? Can one only supplement income or can one derive a living from llama farming? Thank you.Betty
RE: Llama prices seem to be holding well the past three years or so. If anything, there seems to be an increased interest this past year, more activity, and slightly higher prices. As with any other business, you'll have to have enthusiasm and do a little marketing - the world will not beat a path to your door. Raising llamas can be a very nice supplemental income. There are also many who have it as their only business and make a nice living. Besides just breeding and raising llamas, there are many other aspects that owners have taken advantage of such as offering hikes and lllama treks, Bed & Breakfast with llamas, llamas that go to parties and public functions, renting llamas as golf caddies to the local golf course, spinning, weaving and felting with their wool, boarding other's llamas, or doing llama arts and crafts. Create a children's program taking a nice, friendly llama, llama stories, and llama puppets. A little enthusiasm, creativity, and marketing and you're on your way to a hard-to-beat involvement and lifestyle. However, the committment and responsibility to these wonderful creatures is not to be taken lightly before you jump in. Although they are easy keepers, you must pursue the opportunity to learn about their care for your area.
QUESTION: I have tried to desensitize this 7 year old llama to let me lift his feet. His front toenails are now quite long and I have still not been able to lift and trim. Unfortunately, we do not have any veterinarians locally who know how to treat llamas. Any suggestions? Barbara
RE: Proper nail trimming is quite important for your llama. If you do not have a chute available, tie him to an inside corner with only about an 18" length to his halter so he can't travel too far. Some owners have been successful using their trailer as a restraining area also. For the front leg, stand beside the llama facing towards his rear, work your way down his leg slowly by touching and using calming voice commands. My most helpful hint is to bend way over and pick the leg up and hold it low to the ground rather than bringing the leg up to you. And make sure you are bending the llama's leg in the normal direction that it bends - not too high or out to the side (ouch). Relax the leg in the palm of your hand and you will feel the llama relax also. Now you can carefully trim. The llama must know that you are confident and relaxed as you begin this procedure. You are the trainer - don't allow him to train you. John Mallon has a great article on nail trimming called "Pickin' 'Em Up and Puttin' 'Em Down".
QUESTION: I just recently noticed that my 7 year old llama (I've only owned for one year) has a hard bulge (egg size) in the buccal area - if a llama has a buccal area. Do llamas hold their cud here? The bulge seems to increase and decrease but is there most of the time. I never noticed this on my llama until recently. Should I worry about this? Otherwise he seems fine, eats OK, no droopy head, etc. Thanks. Barbara 
RE: I have seen several llamas and other species of animals do this. A swelling is seen in the "cheek" area that seems to come and go. The swelling is food material or regurgitated cud. This may be associated with a tooth abnormality, but more often than not is just particular to the individual llama and nothing to worry about. The buccal area is the correct term to use; it refers to the area of the mouth outside of the teeth but inside the oral cavity.
Sam D. Meisler, DVM
RE: In older llamas the cud-chewing motion of the jaw can cause the molars to wear unevenly, with the outer edges of the teeth becoming sharp and raised with respect to inner surface. This can interfere with the ability to chew cud. I've had some owners tell me a sign of this is a consistent lump of cud in the cheek. You might have a vet inspect your llama's teeth and, if necessary, "float" or grind them even. It's a common procedure. Be careful, that edge can really be sharp!
Regards, Susan
QUESTION: I was just wondering what the price range for llamas is nowadays. Thanks, Hanna
RE: Llama prices have come down from the outlandish prices they were about eight years ago. The prices now seem to be holding and they are affordable for a great many more families to enjoy. There are still some that are good show quality with good conformation that bring extremely good prices thus making raising llamas still a good investment. There is a wide range in today's prices depending on what you are purchasing. A gelded male usually sells for $500.00. Females can start at $1500.00 on the very low end - $3000 - $4000 is more average - and recent sales have brought highs in the $20,000's. A nice breeding male can be purchased young starting about $2500 and up to $15,000 for a very nice older male. Do your homework, know what you want to purchase, ask plenty of questions, and buy from a farm that you trust, has a written contract with everything spelled out, and complete medical records.
QUESTION: I have a suri-type fibered llama and would like some info on the correct way to groom since it has alot of crimp. Sue
RE: I would recommend trying to blow out as much debris as possible with a circuteer blower or something like it. Some even use a leaf blower. Then if you can't brush, it's just a matter of picking stuff out of the wool by hand or with a pick/comb. If you shampoo the animal, apply conditioner and let drip dry. Do not blow dry if you want to keep the crimp. But even if you blow or brush out the crimp, it will return in a few days - especially with humidity.
QUESTION: How much fiber does a llama produce from a shearing? Chris
RE: It would depend on the type of cut you are giving the llama, the type of llama, and also the llama's age. If it is the first shearing, a barrel cut, and the llama is long woolled and about two years old, I would approximate two pounds and about one to one and a half pounds annually after that. If it is a short woolled animal, the amount would be less. And if it was a total body shearing, of course the total amount would be more.
QUESTION: Does anyone know the chemical content of llama beans? Gardening friends are asking this question when they take the manure for their gardens. Donald
RE: It's reported to be 1 nitrogen, 1.5 phosphorus, and 1 potassium, when dried.
QUESTION: Please help! I have a female alpaca who had a cria one week ago.It was questionable whether the baby got enough colostrum so I had an igg done which came back 650. The cria seems active etc. Today I noticed that the mommy had something hanging from her vulva. I watched and it dropped. It seems like a small piece of pink tissue. At first I thought it might be discharge. Is this unusual?? It is not her first cria and the birth seemed like a fairly easy one. PLEASE comment... Thank you, Layla 
RE: I imagine you're right in assuming you are seeing a slight discharge from your female following the birth of her cria. That wouldn't be abnormal as long as it is slight. And I compliment you on your choice to do an IgG on your new cria. So many owners do not choose to do this important test. A result of 650 is just a little low though and you might consult with your veterinarian about doing a plasma transfer just to insure your cria has an adequate passive transfer of immunity. Even though the cria is active and gaining weight, he would still be susceptible to any strange bacteria that he may be subjected to without a proper immune system.
QUESTION: We have a 5 year old female llama with what we think is megaeosophagus. Does any one out there have any experience with this? How can it be treated if at all and what is the prognosis? This animal has been showing symptoms for a long time and is losing weight. She frequently has a nasal and oral discharge that is thick, sometimes, opaque in color rather than clear, sometimes bloody and often has food and/or grain matter in it. We would like to treat her if possible.
Thanks, Jo Ann Close, Verdura Farm 
RE: Unfortunately, there are no specific treatments. Mostly what can be done is management.....helping the llama to cope with the disease and hopefully prolonging their life. Feeding the llama on an incline, working with different types of feed to see which is best tolerated, and to see which ones help to increase or at least maintain the llama's weight, along with the use of antibiotics to help with any aspiration type pneumonia's that go along with the disease are the main things one can do for a llama with mega-e. The symptoms you mentioned are typical. A continual "burping" up of the cud..where the bolus goes up and down the one side of the neck, sometimes drooling or foaming at the mouth, sometimes increased episodes of choking on feed, nasal discharges ranging from white to green with feed particles evident, sometimes an elevated temperature due to aspiration pneumonias, weight loss, eventual bloating, continued nerve degeneration of the esophagus, etc. Most times, the llamas either show signs of the disease at an early age..around 18 months to two years, or at mid life around 5-6 years of age. In dogs, the early appearance is usually believed to indicate a congenital condition, whereas onset later in life is believed to be due to a trauma or possibly a viral infection..although there are many different possible causes for megaesophagus. And, I just spoke with a woman who has three generations of mega-e. in her llamas all of which showed up later in life. Mega-e is a difficult disease to watch progress...I wish you the very best.Chris Armstrong, Blue Moon Llamas
QUESTION: Hello. Could you please let me know the recommended dosage of Ivermec, for prevention of Meningeal Worm. We are located in an area with many white tail deer, and we follow a very strict worming schedule April thru Nov. The problem is everyone from vets to breeders have a different dosage to be used. Differences as 1cc per llama to 3cc's per llama. I want to keep them safe, but don't want to overdose them on Ivermec. Please let me know your opinion. Thanks, Susan
RE: Dosages for ivermectin will vary according to the weight of the individual animal. A good recommendation for protection on Meningeal Worm is given by Dr. Anderson of Ohio State University. See ParasiteControl
QUESTION: I have four llamas we use for packing. Two are in great shape, one we just purchased is underweight (and we're working on putting weight on him) and one is overweight. He weighs 520 pounds!!! We feed all of them the same. In the winter, we fed them 3/4 cups of grain per day plus grass hay. In the summer, we let them graze out in the pasture which is FULL of grass. How can we put one llama on a diet without isolating him from the others? Thank you! Kimberly
RE: You can't really put him on a diet without some isolation. He still needs his llama grain for his vitamins and minerals, but you'll probably have to limit his pasture time out on that good grass! And he doesn't need hay now either. Exercise will help also. It's not easy to take weight off, but with your help, he'll be a healthier animal.
QUESTION: This is probably a very unusual problem, but here goes-I have a 2 acre fenced in yard that I have kept my 2 gelded male llamas in for over 2 years. Their ages are 3 1/2 and 2 1/2, and they are brothers. There has not been any problems with this living arrangement until now. They have started to eat the soft trim rubber of our cars, and even our bicycles! I have bought them goat, cow and horse mineral blocks, thinking that they are lacking something in their diet, but nothing is helping. Why, after all this time are they doing this? It doesn't seem to make them sick, I on the other hand am sick because I now need to replace about $400 worth of trim to our Corvette. This car is not a new introduction into their area; we have had it for a long time, and it has always sat outside. Rita
RE: You're right .... it is an unusual problem. And probably one that there is not a definite answer for. The mineral blocks may not have helped your problem due to the fact that most llamas prefer a loose mix rather than a block. Llamas generally do not lick things although they may scrape their teeth across a mineral block occasionally. There are trace mineral mixes formulated to your part of the country available. The other thing that first comes to my mind is boredom and curiosity. If items are in their pasture or barn area, the llamas usually will investigate - and often poke and play. Your llamas like your choice of toys!!
QUESTION: Hello. I loved your webpage and thought it very informative. We purchased our young gelding in the spring, to guard our 100+ long wool sheep. He is doing an excellent job at that. We are now coming up to shearing and I was looking for info as to worming, (seems like we should treat him like the rest of the flock), and the shearing of him.Warm & Wonderful Wool Farm
RE: He should have a different de-worming program than your sheep. Kind of hard to recommend not knowing what part of the country you're in. I would recommend that you contact your own local veterinarian for recommendations as to types of dewormers and correct dosages. The llama should be shorn in the spring to be able to withstand the summer heat and humidity. Leave about one inch to avoid sunburn.
QUESTION: I have just searched your web page and was very impressed with all the information provided. We are located in Victoria at website . We have 5 llamas who are all in good health, however have been unable to get an answer on a problem our male stallion has. His lower teeth have become very long and are protruding outside his mouth and over his top lip. Do llamas have to have their teeth trimmed? The other llamas are fine. Your input would be very much appreciated. Thank you. Woodgate Stables
RE: Sometimes when llamas are older their front teeth grow and protrude too long. This may possibly cause some difficulty in eating and drinking. The teeth should hit in the center of the top gum for a perfect dental bite. If the teeth have grown too long, which may possibly be due to the easy life they have with us rather than browsing the mountains of South America, your veterinarian can trim them back very easily.
QUESTION: Hi. I love your web page. We are getting ready to cut the hay and it appears there are more ferns in the hay than before. We have cut this hay and fed it to our llamas, donkeys, goats, and horses for the last three years. Since there seemed to be more ferns than normal I decided to check into it and I see on your web site that "bracken fern" is poisonous. The guy who cuts the hay says this fern is not harmful to horses. Do you know if there is more than one kind of fern? We are trying to get it all pulled out before the hay is cut, but it is a big field and I'm afraid we'll miss some. I'm sure there has been some in the past - and so far it hasn't affected any of the animals. Thanks for any advise you can give.Amy
RE: Appreciate your concerns about various plants in your pastures and hay. Since so many varieties of plants vary in different regions of the country, the safest thing for you to do is to take a sample of this plant in to your county extension agent and let them properly identify it for you. Even if they haven't had experience with llamas, they can probably tell you if it is harmful to other species and the llama usually falls into that category also. And sometimes a plant will be listed as toxic but it takes quite alot of it to show harmful signs. And others are toxic with just the slightest sample. Better to be on the safe side and have it checked.
QUESTION: Two of my young girls, one who is three and the other who is two years old, both lost a front tooth while mating. Both of these girls like to fight. This happened about four months ago. Now I've noticed that new teeth are coming in! Is this common to get new teeth? I was thinking they only got one set of teeth. Can I expect all of their front teeth to eventually be replaced? Thanks, Dave
RE: Yes, llamas do lose their first "baby teeth" and get permanent teeth. Sometimes the "baby teeth" will not get pushed out and you'll notice a double set that will need some attention from your vet.
QUESTION: Hi! I am considering the purchase of two male Llamas. We have four acres of pasture for them to graze on. My question is: can Llamas be on pasture grass year around, even when the grass is richer in protein. My donkey foundered last year from eating the rich grass, so I don't want to have sick Llamas due to the rich grass. Thank you for your help. Gloryranch
RE: Yes, llamas can be on pasture year round - if you're lucky to have grass grow in your area year round. Most owners have to supplement with grass hay during the winter months. Llamas can have free pasture and will not get sick even when it is just starting to grow and is rich and green. They may get a ploppy stools for awhile though.
QUESTION: I have a question on training llamas. We have 6 pens in our barn and our llamas have decided that 2 of them make a good bathroom. The llamas are fed their pellets in these pens daily, yet they insist on going in the same areas. The other 4 pens are kept clean. The 2 pens they go in are continually cleaned out. We have a sand base throughout the barn, and some straw in each pen. I have dug down and removed the contaminated sand, replaced it with clean sand and clean straw on top. They still continue to go in these pens. I locked them out of the pens on nice days, but when it is cold or windy I let them in, and they go inside again. They have a pile of droppings outside the barn, but still insist on inside. Does anyone have any suggestions of what I can do to stop them from messing in the barn? pc user
RE: Unfortunately, most llamas do mess in the barn .... at least occasionally. Instead of trying to stop this behavior, how about trying to designate one area for them to use? We marked a corner area off with 2x4's, added a little manure to give them the idea, and now they use this area as their "bathroom". Rarely do they miss. Almost like a cat's litter box. And rarely do we put straw down in the barn. Our llamas seem to think that the straw is giving them permission to mess everywhere!
QUESTION: I NEED HELP! Three times a week I travel In the Great Smoky Mountain National Park with 7 llamas taking supplies to a back country lodge. Rhododendron has always been a problem for the llamas because of its toxic nature. Occasionally the Llamas will eat Rhododendron on the trail. My question is...., is there a product that I can buy (such as a muzzle, netting, screen....) or a product that you would recommend to keep the llamas from eating while on the trail. Any suggestion will be greatly appreciated.Monty
RE: I have seen a muzzle designed for llamas just for this purpose! You can get more information by contacting justmorgan
QUESTION: My father raises registered Paso Fino horses. He also has a young, 18 month old llama. For some reason, the llama eats the horses manes, if he pastures them together. He has friends that have horses and llamas together with no problems. Could it be that something in his diet is lacking? He gets about 1/2 coffee can of pellets, and a small slab of hay, morning and evening. I look forward to your advise. Dan
RE: It is doubtful that this behavior can be attributed to a lack of something in his diet. What possibly comes to mind is his age. Young male llamas like to "boy play" together and part of that is neck and leg biting. Some of this behavior may be practice for future breeding also. Male llamas are very often trying to breed at 18 months although most of them are not fertile until two years or more. I'm assuming your llama is not gelded yet. It is most often advised (due to various possible growth problems) to wait until they are about two years old to geld them if management is not a problem. However, if necessary, they can be safely gelded at 18 months. Your llama diet sounds good - about one pound of llama pellets a day and good grass hay. Does he get any free choice mineral supplement? My guess would be that he is just a somewhat bored growing boy. Have you considered getting another llama for a companion? He would really enjoy that and it would probably stop him from bothering your horses.
QUESTION: Can non-gelded males stay together with gelded males??? My three llamas are not gelded yet and one of them I would like to possibly keep intact. Again, thanks a bunch for everything. Kathy
RE: Yes, alot of farms even run a number of intact males together. It is alot easier if they are brought up together from a young age, but you can still put males together at later dates. You just have to have the perseverance to keep them together, overlook the screaming and chasing, and let them fight it out for themselves. And, of course, they should all be checked carefully and often for their fighting teeth and have them removed as soon as they are of a dangerous size.
QUESTION: I have a nine month old male who was running with an adult male gelding in my front fields. About a month ago we checked his weight and he had lost 14 lbs. We brought them both over closer to the house to keep a closer look at them. We have tried to entice him to eat grain but he just pecks at it. Once in a great while he might eat as much as 1/2 pound, but it's rare. We have tried steamed crimped corn, but no luck. He will eat alfalfa, but not a whole lot. He does eat grass, although it's the wrong time of year for that. He also eats hay. He is current on all his shots and has been dewormed as of December 15th. He is energetic, pronging and running around doing neck twists etc. But of course he should be gaining weight not losing it. Also, when we first brought him over he gained 3 lbs. in a week, but then the following week lost 5 lbs. We are going to try sweetened crimped oats, but he just doesn't appear to be interested in supplements to grass or hay. Feeling his backbone or on his chest it feels a little taut. Not flabby and not bony, but thin. The adult gelding he is running with is healthy and if anything overweight a little. They get along very well. I have heard that failure to thrive strikes between 6 and 9 months. I don't know what else it could be. I'm afriad we're going to lose him. He's extremely friendly but did bond with the herd early on. Please, any suggestions at all will help. My vet is very familiar with llamas but this one has us stumped. We live near Fayetteville, Arkansas, in the Ozark mtns. Hal
RE: As you know, a nine month old youngster is not going to have the same amount of weight gain weekly as does a young cria, but it is unusual for him to be losing weight. As far as his diet, you may offer him some calf manna with his grain and also add a couple of tablespoons of Lixotinic to his food. This is a vitamin/iron supplement that will enhance what he is getting - somewhat expensive. Sounds like it is time for some blood tests to dig a little deeper. How's his IgG? After you get the results, your vet may want to consult with Dr. Norm Evans also in the midwest - in Kentucky. His practice is dedicated totally to camelids and he has alot of experience. Failure To Thrive is rather hard to determine - we always keep searching for another answer that can be treated such as a digestive problem or thyroid.
QUESTION: I will be getting three one-year old male llamas this weekend. One in particular has an extraordinarily beautiful white coat. What is the best way to keep them looking good and not have them get really matted and "ratty" looking? Thanks. Kathy
RE: Gentle grooming, with a boar bristle brush and a spray detangler, on a regular basis will keep them looking nice and keep their fibers separated for air circulation. This is especially helpful in the summer months so perspiration can evaporate. Short grooming sessions also help them to be more handable all over their body.
QUESTION: We just purchased a female llama that was due to have a baby in Feb. Well, she had it this morning, December 114, and it was born dead. I need to know how long before she should be bred back? And what is the gestation period? Thank you. Jackie
RE: If it was a pre-mature birth, not caused by an infection, you can probably breed back safely as you would normally - on the 12th-14th or 21st day. If you suspect there might be an infection, it would be best to have her checked and cultured by your vet. Is this the female's first cria? Some females just have pre-mature births consistently, time after time, and you may have to give her something to hold her pregnancy. Actually, this is not a good breeding trait to be passed on. If you just purchased her, the sellers should have informed you of any past history of pre-mature births on the part of her dam or her. Also, a pre-mature birth could possibly be caused by some stress. Did you just move her to a new farm? Or did you just give her a vaccination or de-worming? The normal gestation period is 11 1/2 months or 350 days. Most arrive between 345 and 355 days.
QUESTION: Hi. We recently purchased our first llamas and I have a question about the area we are going to put the llamas in. Part of our three acres was woods and we cleared a large part of it for them. We left the large trees for shade in the summer and the ground is a soft mulch like substance from years of falling leaves and such. Much like a deer would have to walk on in the woods I suspect. I am wondering if they will find enough to eat on what is growing there, or will I need to supplement their diet with hay year round? And will all the fallen leaves be a problem each year or will they only eat what is best and leave the rest? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks G. Conrad
RE: I'm sure your llamas will like their woods - especially the shade in the summer. They will enjoy the leaves and munch on them as they desire. However, I think they will need some pasture with growing grasses in the summer or you probably should supplement them with hay year round. A pound of a good, balanced llama supplement daily, fed all year, will round out their vitamin and mineral needs also.
QUESTION: When should a baby llama be weaned? Have one now that is 4 months old. Need help ASAP. Since it's difficult to be on the web for me, what is the best all around book to be bought that would answer or give further resources about the care of llamas? Patti 
RE: Crias are usually weaned around the age of six months. This should be planned around the weather since it is not good to wean and induce additional stress on them in hot weather. Some crias should be weaned a little earlier if the mom is showing weight loss due to the nursing cria. And some breeders do not wean at all. They let the mother do it herself when she is ready - usually when the cria is around 7-9 months of age. One of our favorite books is Caring For Llamas, A Health & Management Guide by Clare Hoffman, D.V.M.
QUESTION: In regards to the meningeal worm... shall llamas be treated year round for the parasite in cold weather climes, or does a hard freeze break the cycle. Pam 
RE: If you are in an area with a high population of white tail deer, you may want to treat your llamas monthly, with Ivomec from Spring through December or until a hard freeze. This is a preventative for Meningeal Worm ...not a treatment.
QUESTION: I have heard there is a certain vaccine which is required when llamas and horses are on the same farm. Is this true and what is the vaccine? What about dogs and llamas? Are there any diseases which my dog should be protected from relative to be around the llamas? Thanks. Kathy
RE: Many farms have both llamas and horses and no special vaccination is required. No diseases are passed on to dogs either.
QUESTION: I need a blow by blow discription of trimming toe nails. I am afraid of hurting the animals or getting kicked. Do you secure them in a stantion or just tie them up? The nail should be trimmed even with the bottom of the pad, this I know. Please e-mail me direct. Larry. You have a great web site!
RE: A better help would be a demonstration and "how to" from where you purchased your llamas. And also, trained llamas that would not kick when you attempt to pick up their feet would be a blessing. I can completely understand you not wanting to hurt them and also hesitant about getting kicked. We've all purchased untrained animals and then had to deal with the toenail trimming. A restraining chute is a help so you and/or the animal does not get hurt. If the animal is used to going into the chute for various reasons, even just a treat once in awhile, the chute becomes just another fixture on your farm. If they are well trained, you can just tie them up. Some new owners without a chute have used their trailers as a restraining area or also opened a gate back against the fence forming a "V" shaped corner to tie them in. As a result of giving many nail trimming demonstrations, I am a firm believer that your approach, self confidence, and mannerisms have alot to do with your success or struggles. Standing at the llama's side and facing toward the llama's tail, let the llama know what you intend to do by touching securly at the top of the leg and running your hand down slowly, but firmly (don't tickle), while giving him the command "foot". After he is relaxed with this, pick up the foot securely and lift it up bending in the normal direction that the leg usually goes - not out to the side. If the animal resists, keep hold so you are in control (and keep talking to him calmly and relax yourself) and llama will settle down and relax knowing you are not going to hurt him. Bending over alot and holding the leg low, just off the ground, and getting the leg relaxed in my hand before starting to cut, has worked better for me than trying to lift it high. Hold your nail trimmers parallel with the foot and cut the nail back even with the pad in 2-3 cuts, whatever is needed. Then cut across the point to blunt it. If cut too short, the nail will bleed a little. If bleeding persists, apply pressure and disinfect.
QUESTION: I have 2 llamas and reside in VA...Is the only way to worm the llamas is by injection or do they have a paste type of wormer? Which is the best? How often should I worm them? They are due in the next few days if every 6 weeks is appropriate. Thanks for any feed back. Robert 
RE: Deworming every six weeks is not necessary if you only have two llamas and if they have adequate pasture and clean living quarters. A suggested deworming schedule for this part of the country would be Injectible Ivermec (for cattle - give SQ) or Valbazen (a paste) given April 1; Valbazen around the middle of May; Valbazen October 1; and Ivermec December 1 or after the first freeze. Valbazen is very effective since it is a third generation wormer attacking the eggs, larvae, and adult parasites. It may also be mixed in with their food - some llamas don't mind at all. Ivermec is important especially for the prevention of Meningeal Worm. It is suggested to use more than one dewormer to cover the various parasites. There is more detail on this at Vet Corner under Dewroming, Parasites, Lice, Mites, and Meningeal Worm. Warning - do not deworm (or administer any medication) to pregnant females within 60 days of birthing or breeding.
QUESTION: Please help, I have two seven year old llamas. We've never had a problem with either one of them until now. One has become weaker by the day over the last week. I've had vets in, but no one seems to know much about llamas around here. He can barely get up and his hind legs seem extremely weak. He still eats okay although probably not as much as before. I've been giving him 1cc of injectable banamine a day for his pain, but it doesn't seem to help. Can a llama handle Penicillian? Maybe something bit him, but I haven't found any puncture wounds. No one seems to care around here and I'm afraid he is going down hill fast and I will lose him. Any ideas out there???? Thanks, Linda 
RE: You didn't say where you were located, but the first things that come to my mind are Meningeal Worm or Heat Stress. Since it probably isn't overly warm where you are at this time of year, my first thought is M-Worm. M-Worm is a parasite that gets into the spinal cord sometimes causing death. Staggering and weakness in the rear is a very common sign. It is usually spread by white tailed deer although it doesn't affect the deer. There is no way to determine for sure that M-Worm is present until a necropsy is done, so it is all guess work on the part of the vet. M-Worm is usually treated with large doses of injectible Ivomec. I'm sending more information to you on M-Worm. This information contains a preventative but not a treatment. If you suspect M-Worm, you or your vet, if not familiar with this parasite, should contact another llama vet for treatment. This is very serious and should be treated immediatelyh if this is suspected. It also could be an injury of the rear quarters or spine, but that would be hard to determine without an examination by a professional vet. When a llama gets entirely down, it's hard to turn the condition around. Keep trying to help him get up periodically and exercise the legs. Massage and stretch the legs or even rig up a sling to help him stand for short periods of time.

RE: Thank you so much for your help. Yes, the Meningeal Worm problem is the only thing I was able to find that sounded right also. This sounds exactly like what he is experiencing. We live in south Florida (no, it wasn't from the heat, they swim all the time and stay cool) so we don't have any white tail deer, but we brought some hay down from our farm in Michigan, so maybe somehow something got transferred to him. Anyway, I've given him the Ivermectin and daily doses of Banamine - not too great until I gave him some Oxy-Tetracycaline last night and this morning he actually was able to get up and walk around a little for himself. The vets here had me giving him far too small a dose of Banamine too so that might have helped him today. I finally found a vet here who is into llamas. The great thing is that he was able to stand up for 10 minutes by himself!!! Thank you again for your help. I printed the whole thing out to keep for reference. If you're ever in Boca Raton please do stop by the Todd Warner Studio and see our whimsical llama sculptures. You'll understand why I felt so sorry for him. Linda

RE:You probably have pinpointed the problem! Since the larvae of this parasite is passed in the deer's feces and then spread by ground snails, it is a very good possibility that you have transferred some snails with larvae in your hay from Michigan. There is a large white tail deer population in Michigan.
QUESTION: E-coli bacteria has been traced to animal manure. Is this a concern when fertilizing with llama 'poop'? Hawk
RE: The bacteria in llama feces are generally not harmful to humans. However, llamas (and other vertebrates) can at times shed bacteria in their feces that are pathogenic for humans. Thus, the feces of llamas (and other vertebrates) should always be considered to contain pathogenic organisms. There are 2 steps that gardeners can take to minimize the possibility of human infections resulting from the use of manure as a fertilizer. The heat from a properly composted manure pile will destroy pathogens. Also, all vegetables from a garden in which manure was used should be washed well, especially those that grow in or on the ground. The bacterium, E. coli, has been in the news a lot because of the severe disease it can cause in young children, the elderly, immunocompromised, etc. E. coli is a normal inhabitant of the gut of all vertebrates and is usually not pathogenic. There are a few strains, e.g. E. coli O157:H7, however, which are highly pathogenic for humans. These are the ones that get all of the attention. I am not aware of this strain being isolated from llamas, but there is no reason to think that it does not occur in that species. Bob Teclaw, DVM
QUESTION: How much pasture space do llamas need (per llama)?Rita 
RE: It is said that you can put 3-4 llamas per one acre of pasture. Some farms do have more per acre, but it probably would mean supplementing with hay. Also, a very good pasture cleaning schedule would be in order since crowded pastures can result in problems with parasites. Actually, since llamas are browsers in their native home in the mountains of South America, the lush pastures that they encounter around here are quite a treat. Also the reason for alot of overweight animals. 
QUESTION: Say, I just bought a "bargain-basement" llama and other than needing a good shearing and bath, he seems to have a problem with his front lower teeth. They stick out and his upper lip closes behind them. He doesn't appear to have a problem eating (hay or grain) - it just looks kind of funny.
Should I be worried? Anything I can do? I didn't buy him to be a show animal and if I can work with him to become halter trained that's great - so I'm not worried other than for his health. Tim
RE: Some llamas lower teeth do grow to be quite protruding as they grow older and they can interfere with his eating. A vet can trim those front teeth and he probably will be more adept at his browsing abilities, however it may not be absolutely necessary that you do this. Your vet can better advise you upon an examination.
QUESTION: Thank you for the great web site! My question is as follows:
We purchased a pregnant female llama in Oct. 2001. Her due date is April 20, 2002. The sellers shot records indicate she was vaccinated Oct 6 with CD/T and given Ivomec Plus (orally). Should/can I give her a booster of CD/T before her due date? Should she be given the Ivomec before her due date? If so, when? Thank you in advance for your help with these questions. Tarre Ann.
RE: What our vet recommends - We give a booster CD/T 60 days before their delivery date to hopefully boost the passive transfer of the immune system. (This can be checked with an IgG at 24 hrs. of age). We also give a de-worming at that time - most likely 3 cc Ivermec injected IM. We have been advised that Injectible Ivermectin (Cattle) is most effective. Do not give any type of medication closer than 60 days to their birthing date. (or within 60 days after breeding also). So, your best time for this CD/T pre-delivery booster would be around Feb. 20, 2002.
QUESTION: A friend told us that there was a tax advantage to owning a llama farm Do you know anything about this? Is there any difference in llama farming and regular livestock farm production as far as tax purposes? Thanks for any information you may have. Marian.
RE: If raising llamas or any other livestock is a true business, there are certain tax deductions. Raising any animal as a hobby does not offer any tax advantages.
QUESTION: My main breeding female suffered a uterine prolapse after her last cria. The cria was fine and the mother seems to have recovered well. Prior to this, she had four safe pregnancies. The vet in my area could not tell me a lot about the seriousness of this condition in llamas. I did not breed her last year. Can you please tell me if it is safe to breed her again? Is she likely to have problems again or should I try her one more time? Any information is greatly appreciated. Thanks, Donna.
RE: If her prolapse was treated properly at the time, the uterus should be in a secure position and without infection. You've waited a substantial amount of time and it should be safe to re-breed her again. Many llamas have suffered a uterine prolapse and go on to have normal deliveries in the future.
QUESTION: I aguired a female who is pregnant and due first part of the year. She seems to have alot of gas. Is this normal? Thank You. Toni.
RE: That's pretty normal from what I've observed. Especially when the girls start getting large and tight in the abdomen and then turn around to scratch their rear legs. Or sometimes even when they're spitting at a pasture-mate.

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The information given here is not intended to be a substitute for qualified
professional advice from your own veterinarian.  The best advice is to
 always "call your vet".  Also, keep in mind that procedures vary according to
 different parts of the country and the specific needs of your animals. And different
 llama and alpaca owners have a variety of opinions ... what works best for them.

Vet Corner - Medical Topics

Llama Health, Care, and Management

For helpful hints, safety suggestions, and timesaving tips
relating to the llama farm and ranch .........
Barnyard Hints

All information on this website is provided as a public service, but we
cannot guarantee that this information is current or accurate. Readers
should consult with their veterinarian before acting on any treatments.

This document is copyrighted by Shagbark Ridge Llamas and no
part may be copied to another homepage. Permission is granted to link
to this page, copy this document in electronic form, or to print it for
personal use provided that this copyright notice is not altered or removed.

Updated Frequently
© 1996/2018 Shagbark Ridge Llamas

Thank you for visiting Shagbark Ridge Llamas/Hamilton Co. Llamas. If you have
questions or comments, please leave a message.



All information on this website is provided as a public service, but we
cannot guarantee that this information is current or accurate. Readers
should consult with their veterinarian before acting on any treatments.

This document is copyrighted by Shagbark Ridge Llamas and no
part may be copied to another homepage. Permission is granted to link
to this page, copy this document in electronic form, or to print it for
personal use provided that this copyright notice is not altered or removed.

Updated Frequently
© 1996/2018 Shagbark Ridge Llamas

Thank you for visiting Shagbark Ridge Llamas/Hamilton Co. Llamas. If you have
questions or comments, please leave a message.