Did you know that December 9th is Llama Day? Llamas may not be as popular or common as other livestock, but they seem to gain more fans every year, and with good reason. They are actually wonderful animals! A Westminster, MD vet discusses llama care below.
Like many herd animals, llamas are very hierarchical, and take herd pecking orders seriously. They are very sociable, and should not be kept alone. We recommend getting at least two. Llamas generally tend to be very sweet and lovable, as long as they’ve been properly socialized. One common mistake is over-socialization. The issue here is that over-handling young llamas often leads to llamas thinking humans are like other llamas. That may backfire, as it may lead to spitting and kicking.
One good thing about llamas is the fact that they are quite easy to care for. You will need to make sure you have enough room for them. As far as shelter, you’ll need to provide a clean, well-ventilated barn or three-sided shed. Ideally, llamas should have access to pastures with good grass. However, you can feed them hay. Llamas also require salt and mineral blocks, as well as unlimited fresh water. Normally, you shouldn’t need to offer grain, except to pregnant or nursing llamas. However, your vet may recommend feeding corn in winter. Ask for specific advice.
The best way to keep your llama’s coat looking good isn’t actually grooming: it’s making sure your wooly pals are healthy and eating well. That said, you’ll need to keep up with your llama’s grooming needs. These will vary a bit, depending on the type of wool your llamas have. Llamas with suri fiber, for instance, need extra beauty care. Ask your vet for more information. You may find that your hooved buddies love being blow-dried!
Llamas are generally hardy, but, like any other animal, they are susceptible to illness and injury. Some common issues are gastrointestinal trouble, camelid liver, ulcers, and arthritis. Keep a close eye out for signs of illness, such as anorexia or unusual behavior. It’s also important to keep up with wellness care, including exams, screenings, and recommended vaccines and parasite control products. Dental care and hoof care are also very important. Ask your vet for specific advice.
Do you have questions about llama care? Contact us, your Westminster, MD animal clinic, today!