4 rea­sons Judy thinks lla­mas are bet­ter than al­pacas & sheep

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Feature | Llamas -

They are re­spect­ful

Judy has farmed sheep for al­most 30 years, but has found they aren't re­spect­ful of per­sonal space. That can be a prob­lem if you're a bit more rick­ety than you used to be.

“Ini­tially I bred sheep but they started to beat me up a bit. If a sheep wants to go to a cer­tain part of a pad­dock or a yard and you're in the way, they'll go through you and it hurts.

“A llama has a nat­u­ral per­sonal space of about a me­tre and a half and they will ac­tu­ally go to a great deal of trouble not to in­vade your per­sonal space. They are just so much safer to have around.”

They have 5000 years of good-tem­pered breed­ing be­hind them

In South Amer­ica, a good llama is your best friend. A bad llama is din­ner.

“If they were nasty and un­pleas­ant then they were into the cook­ing pot that very night, so the se­lec­tion for tem­per­a­ment hap­pened with the llama where it didn't to the same de­gree with the al­paca. If I get kicked, it's by one of the al­pacas, not the lla­mas.”

They’re much less work

Lla­mas (and al­pacas) do re­quire in­jec­tions of vi­ta­mins A, D and E be­cause their fi­bre is so thick, it stops the sun get­ting to their skin.

But the bonus is a pure­bred llama is self-shed­ding, and you can comb out its very fine (on av­er­age 18 mi­cron) un­der­coat and use it for spin­ning or felt­ing.

There's also very lit­tle hoof trim­ming needed.

“I have some that I never trim, some I trim once a year, and the odd one or two that need a bit more – gen­er­ally they're the ones with white feet.

“I find them quite train­able, I've trained mine to pick their feet up. That just makes it eas­ier, you don't want to bat­tle with a big an­i­mal.”

They’re very good con­vert­ers of feed

An adult llama is ap­prox­i­mately 1.8 sheep, but even Monte at 180kg is very light on his feet.

“They reckon the im­pres­sion of a llama's hoof on the en­vi­ron­ment is less than the hiker's boot be­cause they've got those soft toes and they don't make a mess.”

Where it starts to be­come a prob­lem is that like goats, they don't gain im­mu­nity to par­a­sites.

“They are evolved to go and have a lit­tle bit of this and a lit­tle bit of that, the odd twig, a va­ri­ety, so when we con­fine them and make them eat around their own ma­nure you have prob­lems and that's where you have to do lots of drench­ing.”

A mother and cria.

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