Due to our dry climate and high altitude, grass is in short supply. We feed our llamas a high quality grass hay, free choice, year round. During the winter months we supplement with alfalfa hay for extra protein. Our babies have plenty of free choice grain mixture and our older llamas are given the same as a treat a couple of times per week. An abundant supply of clean water is a must. Depending on your area, supplemental minerals might be necessary. Llamas are "nibblers" so they will be very easy on your pastures. A bale of hay will last a llama about a week.
Adult llamas are usually between 300 and 450 pounds and stand about five to six feet tall at the head. The newborns are often between 25 and 35 pounds and would be about 30 inches tall. Provided that the mother has plenty of milk, a baby normally would gain about a pound a day for the first couple of weeks. They reach their full growth somewhere between three and four years of age.
Llamas do well in most climates, but heat can be most detrimental to llamas. Shearing the llama and providing breeze created by fans will help keep a llama cool. Shelter isn't necessary except in extreme cold or heat.
Again, depending on your area, you may need to "worm" your animals frequently to rid your llama of parasites with Ivomec or Panacur. Check with your veterinarian on these and other vaccinations to keep the health of your llama at its best!
Llama fiber is one of the many wonderful gifts that the llama provides us. There two kinds of llama fiber. One is double coated. A double-coated llama has both outer guard hairs and a rich down undercoat. The guard hairs are very course and rough. These thicker straight hairs can be removed when processing llama by pulling them out. The down or undercoat is very soft, shorter, and may have some crimp in it. Some llamas are called single coated because they have very little guard hair in their coat. These llamas produce the most luxurious fiber. Suri fiber locks, made up of high-luster fibers, drape down the sides of the body in a twisted or flat form of various size. Suri fiber has a slick hand and softness with an exquisite luster. Suri fiber is in high demand and consistently brings a premium price in the fiber market.