|Llama Owner Information
Sutter's Mill Llama Ranch
Bill & Sandy Chickering
Whether viewed in a pasture or glimpsed in the wild, all Lamas have a striking beauty owing to their elegant wool and graceful posture. Llama and alpaca wool ranges from white to black, with shades of gray, brown, red and roan in between. Markings can be in a variety of patterns from solid to spotted. Little variation is found in guanacos or vicunas, which are light brown with white undersides.
Mature llamas weigh an average of 280-350 pounds., but range from 250-500 pounds. Full body size is reached by the fourth year, and, while there are no obvious differences between the sexes, males tend to be slightly larger. They are long lived, with a normal life span of 15-20 years.
Like cattle, sheep and deer, llamas are multi-stomached ruminants that chew their cud. They have a hard upper gum (no upper teeth in front), grinding upper and lower molars in back, and an ingenious upper lip for grasping forage in unison with the lower incisors. Adult males develop large, sharp upper and lower canines for fighting. You should ask your veterinarian to remove these to prevent injury to males pastured together or to females being bred.
The llamas unique specially adapted foot makes them remarkably sure-footed on a variety of terrains, including sandy soils and snow. It is two-toed with a broad leathery pad on the bottom and curved nails in front. The oblong bare patches on the side of each rear leg are not vestigial toes ("chestnuts" as found on horses), but metatarsal scent glands suspected to be associated with the production of alarm pheromones. An additional scent gland is located between the toes.
How old is your llama? Age can be determined reliably in young animals by checking the larger permanent incisors which erupt to replace the "milk" or deciduous front teeth. The middle pair of incisors comes in between 2 and 2.5 years of age, and the second pair at around three years of age.