Why Pack With Llamas? Well, there are many reasons. One of the best is that they are environmentally friendly. They have soft double-padded feet with a toenail on the front of each foot. Their feet do not tear up the land as a horse or mule might.
Llamas Were Domesticated... According to Llamapaedia: "Llamas were domesticated by the Incas in the higher Andes Mountains near Lake Titicaca around 4,000 B.C. Llamas are able to utilize poor quality forage from elevations of 3,000-5,000 feet and still produce wool, meat, fertilizer, and to be beasts of burden." Go to Llamapaedia to read the entire article. It is a very good read, but I'm very glad I don't live in that society!
Llamas Carry Kids... Use a large stuffed animal on a llama to train for carrying kids. The first time I did this the llama went round and round in circles and jumped wildly trying to get that thing off his back. Within minutes he decided the 'animal' didn't eat llamas and all was well. After about a half hour a friend brought his great-grandson over for a llama ride. If I didn't know better, I would have said that llama had carried kids for years. The little boy had a blast!
Llamas are Intelligent and Gentle Most of the time disputes occur over food and body posturing settles it. If one llama does not back down the consequences can be smelly (see Spit Happens). Intact males however can be very aggressive toward each other if they perceive 'their' women to be at risk. Llamas are easy to train and respond especially easily to Click and Reward Training.
Llama Lleavings when dry are pretty close to odor free making it a good all-around fertilizer, and even in, the house. I mix it right into my potted plant soil. The llamas have a three part stomach. By the time the food remains reach 'the end' most of the nutrition has been extracted and there is little need to consider burning plant roots with its use. Communal dung piles are located in convenient spots (according to the llamas).
Llamas are Browsers (no, not a competitor of Google) vs. grazers. Browsers will eat a bite of this, a nibble of that with less likelihood of over grazing, assuming adequate pasture is provided. You can keep about five or six llamas on the amount it takes to feed one horse or mule. Some compare the cost of feeding a llama to that of keeping a large dog.
Llamas are Healthy We have been breeding llamas since 1989 and have never had a sick llama. The only veterinary assistance we have needed were from injuries (rare), an impacted tooth, and one assist in birthing. We are lucky to have all but one death due to old age.
Spit Happens Yes, llamas do spit. if posturing and threats do not get their message across, spit flies. If the spit is fresh from the mouth there is little odor, but if it is brought up from the stomach look out... spit stinks! The good news is that well mannered llamas do not spit at humans. On occasion we have been hit by crossfire.
So... What is a Classic Llama? A classic llama is a 'Breed'. The word itself is defined as: "Breed: a genetically and phenotypically distinct strain within a species developed by man for a specific purpose."
There are some differences among breeders in defining a classic llama. Some describe them as the definitive type of their wool, others on their ability and willingness to work.
Most will agree that a classic is short wooled, has plenty of guard hair,
very little facial or leg hair, and is athletic. Some put great importance
on height, which may help with negotiating obstacles, although we have found
that to be of lesser importance. The llama's heart and head have much more
to do with their ability to work. You can read more about classic llamas
at the Ccara Llama website.
We strive to meet all of the above criteria. Most of our llamas are tall and all have short wool. Again, the llamas receive the Mallon Method of gentling at birth.
Linda and Myron Permann
Email: Idaho Llamas