Native come the Andes Mountains, llamas and alpacas flourish at altitudes of 8,000 feet come 16,000 feet in areas of major cold, gale pressure winds, and sparse and also seasonable vegetation. In their aboriginal habitat, llamas room used generally as a resource of fiber, meat and also labor, while alpacas are supplied as a fiber and also food animal.

The genus Lama and Vicugna room a member of the Camelidae family. The Lama and also Vicugna genus are consisted of of 4 different varieties which are jointly known as south American camelids or brand-new World camelids. The llama and alpaca have been domesticated longer than any kind of other varieties of animal, with the feasible exception the dogs.

Llama — Lama glama Alpaca — Vicugna pacos Guanaco — Lama guanicoe Vicuña — Vicugna vicugna

Currently, llamas and alpacas are really popular. Over there are much more than 164,000 animals in the U.S. They are being provided in a range of ways, ranging from:

packing and also transportation of items fiber manufacturing for the textile sector guard pets for sheep and also goat apricot companion animals breeding stock and show/competition pets


Figure 1.

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The Llama (Llama Glama).

Both llamas and also alpacas are virtually odorless, and also easy to treatment for and are simple to train and also work with, due to their usually quiet and docile nature. Castle graze and also browse really efficiently. Farming animals, pregnant or lactating females and breeding males might be supplemented with grain or pelleted rations formulated for camelids.

The complying with are item of info that can be advantageous to the prospective llama owner and breeder.


Figure 2.Llamas and Alpacas are basic to train and also work with.

Some Camelid Data

Llamas and alpacas space pseudo ruminants and have 3 stomachs (cows, sheep and goats — all true ruminants have actually four). every four types have 37 pairs of chromosomes, will certainly cross breed and also produce reproductively viable offspring. Llama males typical 300 pounds come 400 pounds and also females average 230 pounds come 350 pounds. Adult alpacas usually range from 100 pounds 175 pounds. The two types of alpaca space Huacaya and Suri. Huacaya fiber is short, crimped and also springy. Suri fiber is long and also has pencil locks the hang down alongside the body. Females space usually big enough to each other at 15 months to 18 month of age, yet this is dependent top top weight. Males need to not breed until they room 2 1/2 year old. Males reach full sexual maturity in 3 years. Reproductive volume ends at 15 year to 18 years old. Life expectations is twenty years or more. Gestation is 11 ½ months (about 350 work plus or minus 14 days). Camelids room induced ovulators and also must be bred prior to they ovulate, for this reason they perform not show overt indicators of behavioral estrus. Camelids breed v the woman in sternal recumbency, known as the “kushed” place (sitting on her legs v her belly on the ground). breeding requires about 20 minutes on average. Adults are referred to as males and also females. Babies are dubbed “crias” and females usually have only one infant at a time. Llama crias typically weigh 15 pounds come 30 pounds at birth. Alpaca crias normally weigh 8 pounds to 20 pounds in ~ birth. around 90 percent that crias room born between the hours of 7:00 a.m. And 3:00 p.m.— during daylight hours. most crias space born when the mrs stands. Crias are covered v a thin, semitransparent epidermal membrane that dries up and also falls off quickly after birth. Females execute not lick your young, yet are attentive and an excellent mothers. Females may be rebred 14 days come 21 days after birth of a cria. The placenta of the camelid is diffuse and resembles the of the horse. The mrs camelid has 4 teats. Crias, comparable to young ruminants, space dependent on colostrum because that antibody security after they are born. They need to receive 5 percent of your body weight in colostrum within the an initial 6 hrs of birth and 10 percent in ~ the first 12 hrs to 24 hours. Lack of adequate “passive transfer” (antibodies native colostrum) can result in serious illness. There are tests to recognize whether sufficient antibodies have been ingested and took in by the cria. Goat colostrum will suffice if the dam does not have actually milk. Crias have to be sweet as quickly as they room dry and also their load checked daily for growth. Llama crias should obtain ½ lb to 1 pound per day for the very first two weeks, and alpaca crias should get ¼ lb to ¼½ lb per day. Camelids are really stoic and it is complicated to tell if they space sick. Owners should monitor daily feed intake and grazing, along with rectal temperature to identify illness. Camelids require from 1.5 percent come 2 percent of their body weight of feed every day (dry issue basis). Camelids have a split, prehensile upper lip. They carry out not have upper incisors.

Figure 3.Llamas have actually a separation upper lip.

Males have actually “fighting teeth.” There are two uppers and also one reduced on every side. This teeth must be cut off at the gum line at about three years of age, and also again later if they grow out. “Spitting” and also “body charging” space normal herd dominance behavior patterns in males. These actions seldom occur against humans and should not be allowed. Bottle fed masculine crias may build unacceptable actions (“berserk male syndrome”) once they end up being sexually mature. Camelids deserve to suffer from warmth stress. The warm index is the % loved one humidity add to the approximately temperature in degrees F. V a warm index Camelids are basic to care for, not topic to an extremely many diseases, and have few maintenance problems quick of a routine deworming and foot trimming. They do not have actually hooves, rather they have two-toed feet through toenails and also soft foot pads.

Camelid Organizations


Camelid Books

Medicine and also Surgery the Camelids, 3rd edition, 2010, edited by Murray Fowler

Llama and Alpaca Care: Medicine, Surgery, Reproduction, Nutrition, and also Herd Health, 2013, Cebra, Anderson, Tibary, van Saun, Johnson

Alpaca and Llama wellness Management, veterinarian Clinics of north America, Food pet Practice, 2009;25 (2) (552 pages), Anderson, Whitehead, guest editor

Alpaca field Manual, C.

See more: How Many Pints Are In One Litre S Converter, Convert 1 Liter To Pints

Norman Evans, DVM, 3rd Edition, 2009

Melanie Boileau, DVM,MS, DACVIMAssistant Professor, large Animal ServiceOSU Veterinary medical Hospital

Elisabeth J. Giedt, D.V.M., M.B.A.Director of continuing Education, and Community EngagementCenter for Veterinary health and wellness SciencesOklahoma State college