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  • Why can't I buy just one llama?
    Llamas are herd animals and need to be in a herd of at least two. However, they make great guard animals for sheep, goats, chickens, etc. because they love protecting the herd! If you have other animals that need to be guarded, your may be able to get just one llama.
  • What do llamas eat?
    Llamas are natural scavengers and can eat pretty much any foliage around. They do well regularly eating grass, hay, alfalfa, and livestock treats. In the backcountry, they can be set out to graze in meadows and little to no feed needs to be packed in for them unless you know you'll be camping in an area without any grass.
  • I try to minimize my footprint in the backcountry. Do llamas cause any harm to the natural landscape?
    Llamas cause very little wear and tear on the backcountry. Unlike horses, mules, donkeys, and other large livestock, llamas have a soft pad on their feet and weigh less, meaning they don't erode the soil, meadows, etc. When they eat, they are like a lawn mower, only trimming grass and not pulling it up by the root. Llamas are herd animals, so as long as 2/3 of them are on a picket line, the rest can be set free to graze. Greg always brings his small, trusty rake and flings the piles of poop the llamas make so it can naturally decompose and help fertilize the landscape. This also prevents attracting flies and leaves the area around the camp clean for the next hikers.
  • How much weight do llamas carry?
    Llamas carry about 20-25% of their weight. Typically, we load them up with around 60-70 pounds each. Even if the llama can carry more, we don't want to overwork them and cause unnecessary injury or exhaustion. With a few llamas behind you on the trail, you'd be surprised how much luxury you can pack in with only 65 pounds on each one!
  • Can I ride a llama?
    If you're old enough to be reading this FAQ section, probably not (unless you weigh less than 70 pounds). Llamas can comfortably carry a small child, up to about 70 pounds, and many people do train their llamas to carry their kids on the trail. Greg's daughter rode her trusty llama, Signal, until she was 5 years old. Through some trial and error, Greg found a pony saddle that fit well and kept his daughter comfortable. If you are interested in this, it is very important to acclimate your llama (and kid!) to riding before heading out on the trail. Always have your child wear a helmet and any other protective gear to keep them safe in case they fall off. *Please note, Potato Ranch Llama Packers is not responsible for any accidents that occur and please use common sense and caution when having livestock and small children interact with each other.
  • Do llamas spit? And what is spit?
    Yes! However, they likely won't spit on you unless you are in the middle of a dispute or they haven't been handled well and don't like humans. Llamas spit at each other when they get irritated, don't want to share their food, don't want to be bred, etc. But even though they are mainly spitting at each other, they have terrible aim and if you're standing in the line of fire, you better duck! Spit is regurgitated cud (partially digested food). If a llama has been eating grass, their spit will be a mix of chewed up blades of grass and saliva. If they ate recently, their spit will be relatively fresh and not have too much of a smell. But if they haven't eaten recently, you can expect quite a pungent smell.
  • Do llamas bite?
    Not really. At the front of their mouth, they only have bottom teeth; the top is just gum. When llamas get irritated, they are much more likely to spit than bite. If you are feeding them from your hand, it might tickle when their lips are picking up the food, but it is highly unlikely they will bite your hand.
  • What happens if I get kicked by a llama or it steps on my foot?
    Llamas are pretty safe and gentle animals to be around, but you do need to avoid touching certain areas of their bodies. If a llama kicks you, you'll be fine. It may leave you feeling sore and bruised, depending on where they kick you, but it's unlikely to break a bone or cause real damage. If a llama steps on you, you'll also likely be fine. Because their feet are two padded toes, it will just be an uncomfortable pressure. Here are the areas of llamas' bodies you should avoid touching and behaviors to avoid: -Head, face, and ears -Legs -Letting kids go underneath or run around the llama -Letting unfamiliar dogs run around the llamas *If you are kicked or hurt by a llama, please don't hesitate to see a medical professional. Always use your best judgement, especially if you feel like something is wrong.
  • What is a llama kiss?
    Llamas greet by smelling breath and they will often get really close to your mouth, almost like they are going to kiss you. If a llama is smelling your breath and you want them to continue, just stay still and calm. It's their way of saying high and establishing a connection with you. Keep in mind that every now and then, a llama will get freaked out by sunglasses, hats, etc. and may not want to get close to your face, or even spit on you!
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