Llama Learning

Minnesota Minis is home to our Airedale Terrier Nikki, our kitty "A" and her five new kittens, chickens, buffalos, horses, 3 miniature donkeys, wild turkey, white tailed deer … and of course small and miniature LLAMAS. We all live harmoniously together - most of the time. Our home is an old farmhouse surrounded by beautiful flowers.  Below is Julie with the Honky Donks

Just a little history... We bought a hobby farm and two days after we took possession, the llamas arrived. Our dream of owning llamas had come true. To own llamas and do it right, we educated ourselves. We want to share some of the special information we learned.


Why Llamas? You don't own a llama, but you want to.

Once you own one, you will not question "why" again. They're intelligent, easy to train, enjoyable to have around, beautiful, curious, gentle and exhibit a lot of common sense. You may have llamas to cart pull, use when hiking, for show, as guard animals, to breed or spin - or perhaps it's simply to enjoy their beauty. These highly social animal need the companionship of other llamas. Sure footed due to their two-toed foot with its leathery bottom pad, llamas won't tear up a trail the way a horse or mule will. Their calm nature and common sense makes it easy for nearly anyone, including children, to work and handle them. Easy to care for and remarkably disease free, hardy, healthy, llamas and their ancestors are especially suited to the harsh environment of their Andean homeland. Llamas do not come "into heat" like other animals, but are induced ovulators, thus can be bred at any time of the year.

What is so special about a miniature llama?

First, their size. According to the American Miniature Llama Association (AMLA), miniatures must measure 38" or under at the withers. When breeding for size, a llama isn't officially considered and registered as a miniature until it is three years old. If a cria is under 18 lbs. at birth, the likelihood increase that it will be a miniature. If the animal is taller than 38" but not more than 40", it may be registered as foundation stock.

Second, most miniatures are bred to have sweet disposition. Their size makes it easier to handle them. These inquisitive animals are very gentle. They also take up less room, eat less food, and because they not as common, they become more valuable.
Compared to a standard-sized llama that might be 45" at the withers and 6 ft. tall or more, the miniatures are easier to work with in every way.























What is the best way to measure a llama?
  This is Bethane next to a regular llama.

For the best accuracy, have the llama stand squarely on a level surface next to a wall. With the llama's head up, take a carpenter's level and lay it 

How are llamas used?

At Minnesota Minis our llamas, both the regular and miniatures, have several uses:
1) Breeding stock
2) Sale
3) Show animals
4) Promotional animals
5) Companion animals
6) Education at local schools, nursing homes and events
7) Pack animals (to carry loads for hikers or work)
8) Guard animals
9) Wool and fiber Many of our animals have been shown at local llama shows. The miniature animals are especially nice when used to go to local schools, clubs and organizations to educate people. The minis are a welcome guest at local nursing homes because they are so gentle, love people and do not become frightened easily. As far as pack animals, we use llamas when we are walking down to our fishing stream. They carry the lunch and our other supplies. Guard animals are used by sheep owners who graze their animals out in the open. They find that having llamas with the sheep herd reduces the number of animals killed by predators. Llamas are very alert and curious, and they will check out an intruder, which will scare the predator away.

Could I own just one llama for fun?

Llamas do not like being alone. In fact, if a llama is not part of a herd, it cannot develop what is considered the true nature of a llama. When you separate llamas and leave one alone, it will develop behavior changes and may even become agitated. The dynamics of a herd changes too when you add or remove a llama.

Advice for someone interested in starting a small llama herd

When I became interested in llamas, I read a lot, visited other farms, asked a lot of questions, attended fairs and shows. Decide why you want to raise llamas (see list above).

Be careful at auctions as inexperienced buyers you might tend to get emotional, and thus get an animal that doesn't fit into your planned use. If you buy direct from a particular llama farm, you should visit them more than once to see the animals, talk to the owners and work with the animals. This farm will become a resource for you after the sale, and you will maintain a relationship with them



Always buy from a reputable farm with registered animals.



Llamas have their own speed of doing things. Learn what that is and adapt to it, versus them adapting to you.



Finally, join organizations. Check out their Web sites for information. Be an educated buyer and llama owner.


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