Newby question, what are the pros and cons in having llamas? I am considering getting two. What did you wish you knew when you got your llamas? Advice please. (I am getting books about llama care.) I want to hear people's opinions and experiences
They are great guard animals if your main predators are coyotes, but you want either females or gelded males. Intact males will try to mate sheep and goats, and because they lay down to mate, they wind up crushing the ewe or doe. I know a couple of people who didn't know this and wound up losing several sheep before realizing what was happening.
If you have whitetail around you HAVE to vaccinate monthly (not even a few days late) or they will die. I can't remember the name of the disease, but it is horrible.
They have definite personalities, some good some bad.
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Meningeal worm is carried by whitetail deer, and they can cause a problem in camelids, such as llamas. There is no vaccine for m-worm, but some people will give their llamas a dewormer monthly. This is a controversial practice as the dewormer used is the same one that is used for intestinal parasites, and dewormer resistance is a proven problem with llamas, goats, and sheep. So, do you use a dewormer monthly to keep your llamas from getting m-worm at the risk of them dying from intestinal worms later because the dewormers no longer kill the intestinal worms? We have lost most of our llamas to m-worm, but we didn't have a problem for the first five years that we had them because we had a great Anatolian shepherd that kept the deer off our property. After he died, we started having problems with m-worm. One very important thing to remember is that m-worm won't be a problem unless you have BOTH whitetail deer (other deer don't carry it) AND snails or slugs because they act as an intermediary host for the worm. More info on m-worm is here: http://www.homegrownandhandmadethebook.com/2013/12/m-worm-nightmare-for-goat-sheep-and.html
Llamas are pretty good fence jumpers. If they don't bond well to your herd or flock they can jump your fencing, and once they're out they can cover a lot of ground fast.
A ranch I worked on had two llamas for 300 cows one calving season and we didnt lose a single one to coyotes. Very effective in that regard. They are really curious animals and I think just the action of running up to new things in the field scared off the coyotes.
However, if they had a mind to it they would run far and they were hard to herd back to the field. 15km in an afternoon the last time. Then they were herded into the corral and taken to town.
They guy I worked for didnt give them time to bond properly with the herd. I think they could be an effective guard animal with enough preperation and oversight.
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