Iron Hill Farm Llamas

You gotta get a llama.  Or two.  Llamas are beautiful, graceful, calming and fun.  They are reasonably easy and inexpensive to keep, generally considerably better than horses (maybe even dogs!) in this regard.  They are generally healthy and robust.

By the way -- llamas are like potato chips -- you won't be able to get just one!

So what do you do with llamas?  Llamas are, much like any animal, what you make of them.  Some people fuss with them and make them almost housepets.  At the other end of the spectrum, some owners prefer to leave them be in their pastures and enjoy their beauty, but not so much their company.  Iron Hill has animals with temperaments to match your desires.  If we don't have one, we can steer you to other reputable breeders who might.

Now, for the folks who need a reason to own a llama, here are a few:

  • Showing -- even here in the hot Southeast, there are a number of llama shows every year.  Llama showing is fun, and the llama people the shows attract are even more so.  Come join us!

  • Guarding livestock -- llamas naturally chase medium-sized canine predators, making many of them ideal guard animals against coyotes for your sheep or calves.

  • Trekking -- a suitable trained animal can lighten your load on the trail considerably.  Their padded feet don't tear up trails like horses' hooves.

  • Carting -- llamas can't carry an adult on their backs, but many can be trained to pull lightweight carts.

  • Neighborliness -- everyone will introduce you from now on as the folks who have llamas!

What you need to keep llamas.  This subject is handled much more completely in the links to the right.  Here are some basics to give you an idea of what it takes.

First, please be aware that like any animal, and maybe even more so, every individual llama is an individual.  Every generalization made here and elsewhere is just that:  it describes most llamas in most circumstances, but not all llamas and not all of the time.  Be aware that these are big (250 to 400 lb, 5 to 6 ft at the eye) animals, and they don't think like humans.  Respect and consideration of safety for you and your animals are paramount.

Llamas require a fenced pasture, of course.  We use both wire fabric and high tensile (5-wire) types.  These animals don't generally test your fence, so tremendously strong ones aren't usually necessary.  Electric fences are usually unneeded, unless you have a particularly eager intact male separated from but right next to a female pasture.  We don't recommend barbed wire.  We do recommend building a "catch pen" -- a small, 6x10' or so area in the pasture within which you can work closely with your animals individually.

Llamas eat grass and hay.  They enjoy llama feed, and feeding them from your hand is a good way to become friends.  A 45-pound bale of orchardgrass or Bermuda feeds a grown llama for a week and a half.  There are a few plants poisonous to any animal that you should watch out for in any pasture, including common ones here in the Southeast.

Llamas need to be able to get out of the heat, so we recommend a small area of shade trees.  A barn to let them get out of the rain, wind and cold is very nice, but a three-sided enclosure with a roof works just fine and maybe better.  You might find that they prefer to stand outside in the rain rather than go into the shed much of the time! 

You will probably need to shear your animals yearly, in the spring, and maybe twice in the deep South or Southwest.  This keeps them cool and prevents heat stress.  Shearing is something you can probably do yourself, and we'll help you learn how, but there are services that come do it for a price.

You need to talk to veterinarians in your area to make sure one will help you with your animals.  Llamas aren't hard to doctor, just a little different.  A good relationship with a competent vet will go a long way toward improving the health of your animals and increasing your self-confidence as a llama owner..

You will need to worm the animals regularly and give them routine shots to prevent particular diseases as recommended by your vet.  Your state may also require some vaccinations.  Many of the links to the right will outline this well.  Worming, in particular, is easier if you have a good relationship with your animals.  Otherwise it can require, er, physical activity.  Why they don't make wormer taste like sweet feed is beyond us!

Do llamas spit? and other stuff. 

  • DO llamas spit?  The short answer is yes.  Almost always, they only spit at each other, to reaffirm a pecking order or to redress some (usually minor!) affront.  Don't get in the way, it's yucky.  Washes off, though.  Once in a while you might give them a reason to spit at you.  One of ours HATED to be shorn.  Another protects her cria (baby) from us fussin' interlopers.  Not often, though.

  • What color are their eggs?  Oh, I don't know, kind of  silvery-transparent . . . no, no, you're thinking emus.  For some reason, it's really hard not to think of emus at the same time as llamas.  Different animals.  (You laugh -- you WILL be asked that question more than once!)

  • How does it take to have a baby?  About a year.  A baby llama is called a cria (KREE-uh), and they're so cute you can't believe it.  Ask your breeder about and read up on having crias before you plan to do it.  It's not hard, but there are some things to watch out for.  Also remember that, like dogs, cats horses, or any other animal, you need to plan what you will do with the offspring when they're grown.

Where can I get some?  Call or e-mail us!

Iron Hill Farm
Ken and Karen Johnson
595 Jeffery Drive
Scottsboro, Alabama 35769

(256) 259-2164

Updated 7/24/2005


DonDe Llamas llama forum

The Llama Question and Answer Page

Dixie Doodle Llamas

Kent Rock Meadows Llamas

Pearson Pond Llamas

Useful Llama Items

The Southern States Llama Association (SSLA)

The Alpaca and Llama Show Association (ALSA)

The International Llama Registry (ILR)

Directions and contact information

Iron Hill Farm Main Page

Iron Hill Cardigan Welsh Corgis