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Questions & Replies - Page 3

If you'd like to participate, please send us your questions, experiences, or comments ...
Feel free to add a second or third reply to any of the questions below.

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 woodgatestables.com . 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.

For more llama discussions ....
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The information given here is not intended to be a substitute for qualified
professional advice from your own veterinarian.  The first 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.

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