How Much Does a Llama Cost?
If you’re one of the people that just love llamas for some reason, with their very funky haircuts, velvety snouts, and of course, big and soulful eyes, then you might be thinking of getting one as a pet. Nowadays, more and more Americans seem attracted to these amazing creatures and their almost identical brothers, the alpacas. This is why the number of llamas has actually increased quite considerably in the US over the course of just a few decades.
Llamas can easily carry even a third of their whole body weight, which sometimes reaches even 100 pounds, as long as the load is properly balanced. It is also a pack animal, although, unlike other pack animals like horses, donkeys, or even camels, the llama isn’t great when it comes to carrying weight from one place to another, mainly because these animals are stronger and bigger.
Alpacas, on the other hand, are even worse at carrying weight than llamas because their bone structure is not meant for heavy loads. Also, this is an animal that absolutely hates to have things put on its back.
This price guide is intended to give you a helping hand in learning how much llamas cost in general and what you should expect when it comes to the costs related to keeping and raising these animals.
How much does a llama cost?
Expect the usual cost of a llama somewhere between $300 and $6,000. Llamas intended for breeding and weaning will be priced somewhere around $2,000, while those that haven’t been trained properly will be on the lower end, with prices anywhere between $400 and $1,000.
The cost of llamas is usually influenced by factors such as the breeder you’re getting it from, the size of the pet, its history, wool quality, gender, its character, and of course, its age.
Let’s take Llama Nation for example. This is a classified site with over 500 listings, which have prices between $400 and $4,000. Even so, most of the ads you will find on this website will offer llamas for $1,000 or less.
Shangri Llamas, situated in Callaway, Virginia, has several listings up on their site. Most of the llamas, either offered in the past or currently for sale, are in the $600 to $1,800 price range.
What is going to be included in the cost?
As long as the llama you buy comes from a trusted breeder, you are more than likely to get aftercare assistance, shearing and nail cutting help, a medical history of the animal, reworking, updated vaccination, and at least some sort of warranty for the animal. These shouldn’t be charged separately and should be included in the initial price when you pay for the animal.
Can you get one for free?
If spending a few hundred to a few thousand dollars on a quality llama doesn’t seem like a good way of spending your money, then you should know that there is a way of getting one for free, or at least for very cheap. Although it will not be an easy task, it is still doable and if money is a problem for you, then it will surely be worth the effort.
What happens is that most people buying these large animals don’t know what tending to them will involve in terms of time and money. It won’t be as easy as just buying a llama and letting it roam free on your property.
So the process of finding a free llama will involve looking for animal rescue organizations close to you that offer llamas for adoption. Most rescue centers will only charge you an adoption fee.
You can also search on the internet for private individuals that might offer to give a llama away, and this is when you can get the animal for free.
The good part about adopting a llama from a rescue organization is that you are more than likely to find a high-quality specimen, one that has never been abused or neglected. This is because llamas that are picked up by rescue centers are usually brought in very healthy. The animals are most likely to be given up by their owners because they find themselves unable to care for them. And llamas that get to a rescue sick are first brought back to proper health and then offered for adoption.
What are the additional expenses?
Unless a llama is being utilized as a guard animal, they should not be left alone due to their herding impulses. With that being noted, if you wish to purchase a llama, be ready to adopt a minimum of 2 to 3. If you don’t do so, it can lead to some very aggressive habits.
You might also like our articles about the cost of a monkey, an emu bird, and a cheetah.
A barn or three-sided shelter, if you do not have one constructed already, will be required to keep them out of the sun or rain. This shed must be big enough to enable each llama to walk around easily and provide them some space. The majority of the time, llamas will walk around outdoors unless it’s too hot. The biggest issue, as Gala Online points out, will be the summertime when they will try to keep cool. If you have not constructed a shed yet, think about including ridge vents to enable the hot air to escape, or if you are able to, include electrical energy to run a fan.
The shelter is just part of the llama’s living expenses; they will also require appropriate fencing. At a minimum, the fence has to be safe, properly secured, and made from either board or split rail. These animals tend to stay away from fencing so there’s no stress over overaggressive behavior.
When it comes to feeding, things are pretty mixed as owners have different opinions about nutrition and feeding. 2 animals, typically, can cost about $350 annually to feed. This would consist of the pellets and about 6 months’ worth of feeding hay. If allowing them to feed in a pasture, an acre can feed about 3 to 4 llamas.
The majority of the time, llamas will not require medical attention; nevertheless, males with fighting teeth might need to have them cut off to prevent them from becoming damaging to other llamas in the pen. Each month, or every 3 months if you are living in a rockier terrain, the toenails will have to be cut, but this can be done by yourself if you know how it works. Deworming, just like for any other animal, has to be done by a local vet, along with vaccinations such as a rabies shot.
Shipment, if needed, can be an extra expense if you need the seller to do it personally.
List of Llama Care Supplies and Costs
|Food and water bowls||$25|
|Food-pellets & hay||$275|
|Halter & lead||$35|
|On-site health check with a licensed vet||$75|
Monthly costs for a llama?
Expect to spend somewhere between $65 and $160 per month to attend to the needs of a llama.
This price can vary considerably depending on the actual cost of bedding and food that you buy as well as your location. Of course, keeping a llama isn’t as expensive as you might think. As long as you have the bases covered and the animal has enough food and bedding, you should be fine. You should buy a sturdy halter and lead if you plant to take the llama outside of its enclosure.
The average owner will spend roughly $20 to $30 per month on food for their llama.
This means that it isn’t costly at all to keep this animal in pellets and feed it hay each month, especially considering that it isn’t much of an eater anyhow. The larger llamas will only consume about 20 bales of hay per year. This isn’t a lot when broken down into 12 months. The diet of a llama can be supplemented with a special llama and alpaca nutritional supplement worth about $40 per box, if you have the necessary budget for this.
You are likely to spend between $10 and $25 per month in grooming expenses for your llama.
A llama will basically only need regular brushing of the coat to have clean wool when it comes to its grooming. And this becomes even more important if one of the plans for your animal is taking it out in public. Aside from the regular brushing, you will also need to make sure the llama’s nails are clipped and the animal is sheared, especially during the spring.
Environment maintenance should also be taken into account, amounting to about $5 to $15 per month.
If the enclosure is clean, it will be safe and comfortable for the animal. So basically you will have to change the bedding straw that placed in the enclosure regularly. The good news is that straw isn’t all that expensive to buy, especially if you’re able to buy it in bulk and make stocks for longer periods of time. You will have no other environmental maintenance costs to consider when owning a llama, outside of emergency fixes.
Llamas are also pretty healthy animals, so you won’t have to spend more than $0 to $50 per month most of the time.
As long as you only feed your llama with nutritious food, it will have almost no regular health care needs. One thing you should consider is to ask your vet to give it an anti-parasite medication, especially against meningeal worm if you plant to leave the llama outdoors for grazing. This is a common infection in many areas, spread mostly by deer. Aside from this, there are no monthly medical care costs to prepare for.
Its wool coat will have to be sheared every spring to avoid the animal from being affected negatively by the heat of the summer. You can either pay someone to do this, in which case you will spend somewhere around $40, or you can do this yourself as long as you have the tools and knowledge to do it properly. You will only have to clip the nail of the pet when it is needed. This is a job for a professional with experience if you don’t know how to do this yourself. Plan on spending around $25 on nail clipping.
Medications and Vet Visits
Most llamas won’t require more than $10 to $40 every month in vet-related expenses.
You shouldn’t have to worry too much about vet visits and medication aside from having the vet administer your llama anti-parasite medication with the start of every summer. You can also use this visit to ask the vet to cut your llama’s nails, if you don’t want to do this yourself.
The expected price of pet insurance when owning a llama will be somewhere around $20–$40 per month.
When it comes to the needed pet insurance, you should know that llamas are classified under exotic animals. This means that you’ll need pet insurance for exotic animals. This insurance will usually cover things like accidental injury or illness, vet fees, death, or theft. If you also want to sell the wool of your llama or breed it, you should also consider livestock insurance. Although insurance rates are known to vary considerably, you should expect to spend between $20 and $40 per month.
Tips to keep in mind
As long as you keep your llama healthy, it can live 15 to 20 years generally.
Llamas can be available in all shapes, colors, and sizes, however, the typical llama will weigh somewhere between 250 to 425 pounds and reach heights of 4 to 6 feet high.
Llamas can spit; nevertheless, they will just do so to keep other llamas at bay or to develop their territory or to keep a pecking order. A mistreated llama, according to Graustarkllamas, might spit at anything it considers a threat.
Any differences between llamas and alpacas?
First off, the ears. The ears of an alpaca will be much shorter in shape while the ones of llamas will be a lot longer.
Then, the face. If you look very closely at a llama’s face, it will be longer, while an alpaca will have more of a “smashed” face.
Also, their hair. The hair of an alpaca will produce finer fibers than a llama. An alpaca will also produce more fleece in various colors.
The purpose too. Alpacas have actually been known to be reproduced for fiber, and in some countries, even for meat. Llamas, on the other hand, will be mostly utilized as either a pack animal or for meat.
And finally, their size. Alpacas, usually, will weigh as much as 175 pounds, whereas a llama can be much heavier, typically weighing more than 400 pounds. The very same can be noted about the heights, as an alpaca can stand about 36 inches high, while a llama will be 10 inches taller.
How can you save some money?
See if any llama rescue centers can be found in your geographical area. If so, this is an excellent way to adopt a llama that needs a family, for a lot less than buying from a reputable breeder. Also, a regional llama auction, if available, can always net some good offers.
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