Why llamas?

Llamas make great guardians they are naturally wary and will be aggressive towards individual foxes and wild dogs, and can be used as livestock guardians for flocks of sheep or goats.

Llamas make great pets and companions as they are intelligent and easy to train.

Llamas provide a sustainable alternative to conventional livestock. Unlike conventional hooved grazing animals llamas have soft pads instead of hooves, with a low static load weight or approximately 36kPa. In comparison the static weight of a shod horse is 295kPa, even a kangaroo has a static weight of 49kPa*. therefore; they have a comparatively light impact on soil.This reduces soil compaction and reduces the opportunities for erosion to occur.

Llamas use a communal urine and dung pile…” because urine and faeces are deposited in the same pile, the biochemical decomposition and incorporation to the soil of these organic materials is highly efficient; the microfauna activity around the dung piles is remarkable.”¹

Llamas are light grazers utilizing both native and introduced grass species, in addition to herbs, shrubs, and trees. Llamas go “from trees, shrubs and weeds to grasses and legumes in a gradually selective manner… this gradual selectivity has a positive effect in threatened species, and traditionally more palatable species, encouraging their robustness and re-establishment… This type of grazing pattern seems to favour native grasses, perennial grasses and highly palatable weeds.”¹ Unlike cattle they do not ring bark trees. Llamas are adapted to low protein pasture “as camelid digestion is more efficient than that of ruminants such as sheep and cattle, when fed poor quality feed. Camelids consume 20-40 % less feed per unit of metabolic body weight than sheep and goats when on similar diets. On better feed they lose their superiority.”²

With water availability expected to reduce as a response of climate range llamas better suit the drier Australian environment than conventional grazing livestock. An adult llamas requires 7L to 11L of water per day; in comparison a horse requires 40L to 50L per day, and beef cattle 35L to 80L per day.

Llama Manure

Llama manure is great for adding nutrients to your gardens soil and for inproving the soil structure. Compared to otehr commercial grazing animals llama manure has a high level of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

Animal % Nitrogen % Phosphorus % Potassium
Llama 1.7 0.69 0.66
Chicken 1.0 0.8 0.4
Horse 0.7 0.25 0.55
Sheep 0.95 0.35 1.0
Cow 0.6 0.15 0.45
Pig 0.5 0.35 0.4

% of key nutrients in llama manure³

Llama Manure Brew Recipe

  • Fill a bucket with 1/3 llama manure + 2/3 water and cover.
  • Leave the brew to stew and dissolve for 2 weeks.
  • Dilute the brew to 1 part brew + 9 parts water.
  • Apply the diluted brew to your garden plants as an organic fertilizer.
  • Remember to keep topping up your brew bucket to maintain a continuous supply.

Adapted from³

*Charry, A., Kemp, D., & Lawrie, J. (2006, 12 05). Alpacas and Ecosystem Management. AFBM Network – Discussion Papers, and Lawrie, J. (2010). The Benefits of Alpacas in the Australian Environment this Century. Bonnie Vale Alpacas

¹Charry, A., Kemp, D., & Lawrie, J. (2006, 12 05). Alpacas and Ecosystem Management. AFBM Network – Discussion Papers

²Vaughan, J. (2004). Feeding llamas to maximise their reproductive potential.

³ Llama Association of Australasia (2014, Jan). Llama Lines – Summer edition