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Farm Animal Health Articles

Search the summaries below for articles on many aspects of farm animal and livestock care including selecting an animal and providing for its ongoing health and welfare. Click on 'Read more' to view detailed articles.

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Llama Care - Medical and Maintenance

Category:
Farm Animal Health Articles
Author(s):
The Llama Association of Australasia Inc

Llamas evolved in the harsh environment of the Andean Highlands so are generally easy to care for under Australian and New Zealand conditions. They need to be checked regularly and any small difference in behaviour noted. Observation is the key to early detection of illness. An unwell llama is often found away from the rest of the herd and slow to come for the usual feeding. It may kush more than usual or be found laying on its side. It is also advisable to keep a check on the llama's weight, as weight loss is a good indication of a health problem.

Vaccinations

Bi-annual clostridial injections are recommended. These may vary depending on your geographical area. Your vet or local agricultural department may advise on specific requirements. The llama's communal dung pile habit decreases the risk of internal parasites but worming may be necessary.

Feet

The llama has a soft padded foot with two toes. The toe nails may need occasional trimming depending on the ground available to them. The amount of trimming necessary varies between llamas. Nail clippers used for sheep and goats may be used although clippers specifically for llamas are preferable.

Shearing

Although some llamas do not need to be shorn, it is beneficial to the health of long woolled llamas to be shorn every one to two years. They may be shorn completely or barrel cut (shorn around the belly area only). This cut is great for pack llamas, as the fleece will not interfere with the pack. Hand shears or electric clippers may be used with the llama standing if trained or on its side with the legs tied in front and behind. Although this sounds barbaric it is not and is the way alpacas are shorn.
Short woolled llamas do not need to be shorn but like the long woolled animals will benefit from an occasional brushing to keep the coat clean and remove shedding fibre.

Teeth

In the male llama fighting teeth begin to erupt between the ages of two and three years. These are extremely sharp and used in combat. Although these teeth may be left, it is recommended to remove them, especially if males are kept together. Usually this is a job for the vet or experienced breeders. The teeth are not actually removed but instead are sawn off with obstetrical wire.

Temperature

Normal adult temperatures vary from 38.1 - 39.9 degrees C.
Normal cria temperatures vary from 38.7 - 40.1 degrees C
A rectal thermometer is an essential for every llama first aid kit

Transport Llama in a crush

Llamas are easy to transport and require little specialized equipment. They train easily and learn quickly to load into a horse float, van, or covered, wind-proof stock crate. Good ventilation is important in both summer and winter. Llamas normally sit down (kush) once the vehicle is in motion. If given the opportunity to visit the dung pile before the trip and the trip is not longer than three or four hours they usually will wait until they reach their destination before relieving themselves again. It's a good idea to provide them with some hay whilst travelling.

Recommended Reading

  • Llama Care - Medical and Maintenance