Llamas were in North America up to 40 million years ago, but became extinct here during the Ice Age. Llamas migrated to South America and became prominent in the Andean Mountains in Peru. Llamas were domesticated in the highlands of Peru approximately 5,000 years ago, which makes them one of the oldest domesticated animals in the world. They were used as meat and pack animal to haul items through the mountains. For centuries, llama hair has been used to make blankets, clothing, crafts, and rope. Their hides have been used by the Andeans to make sandals.
Llamas were used as pack animals.
Llamas were domesticated in the Andes Mountains in Peru thousands of years ago.
Llamas were imported to North America in the early 1900s so they could be reintroduced to their native territory. At first, they lived on private farms and zoos. Today, there are an estimated 6,000 llamas in Canada.
Llamas come in a variety of colours.
People often mix up alpacas and llamas, so here are some defining differences between these two animals.
In 2016, it was counted that there were about 3,165 llamas and alpacas in Saskatchewan. Today, approximately 14 farms in Saskatchewan have llamas.
Producers are raising them in hopes to build a commercial market for their natural fibres. One group of producers sort the fleece into six classes based on quality. Llama fibre is considered less valuable than alpaca fibre because it is so coarse.
Llama fibre is quite coarse!
Saskatchewan llama producers can choose if and how to sell their products. Some llama farms raise llamas and produce their own llama fibre products such as socks, clothing, yarn, and more!
Who is Who?
Farmers provide their llamas with nutritious food and clean drinking water. There are not many diseases that llamas can get, but they are still vaccinated in case of a disease or a parasite. Llamas are dewormed every six months.
Llama farmers want to keep their llamas happy and healthy!
Llamas live outside all year round. In the summer they should have access to water that they can cool off in. They have a three-sided shelter that can help them hide from the heat and protect them when there is a storm.
Llamas are rugged enough to live outside all year, but need access to water to cool off and shelter from storms.
Like alpaca farmers, llama farmers are finding ways to incorporate technology to help manage their farm and monitor their herds. Drones can be used to check on llamas and pastures and that information can be sent back to the farmer. Farmers use phones and tablets to review the information and look after their herd.
Llama farmers will use devices such as automatic water systems that distribute clean, safe, and fresh water during each season. They might also opt for automatic feeders that can be programmed to dispense feed throughout the day.
Llama farmers can use automatic watering systems to ensure their llamas always have access to water.
Llama Ribeye Steak
Llamas provide us with fibre that can be used to make things. Llamas also provide us with leather and meat.
Llama meat is high in protein and low in fat. In some countries, such as Peru, llama is eaten as a main source of meat.
Llama meat is a healthy choice for protein.