The cost of a llama depends on several factors, including its age, temperament, size, gender, breed, wool quality, training, lineage and purpose.
On average, a llama costs between $500-$5,000 with breeding males, weaning females, along with mature and/or bred females costing the most.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the specifics factors that influence how much a llama costs in more detail, as well as maintenance costs of keeping a llama. Considering that llamas can live up to 15-25 years, these costs can sure add up per year.
What is Included in the Cost of a Llama?
When you buy a llama, up-to-date vaccinations, deworming, shearing, trimming, and an up-to-date medical history should all be included in the price – at least if you buy from a reputable breeder.
How to Get a Llama for Less Money
Obtaining a llama from a rescue can be a great way to save money. All that is required is an adoption fee that can cost somewhere between $250-300. There is no need to worry that you will be getting low-quality llamas that are survivors of neglect or abuse either.
According to Southeast Llama Rescue, 80% of their llamas come in very healthy, perhaps even of show quality, but are given up because their owners are no longer able to care for them. The other 20% are restored to health before being offered for adoption.
While all this sounds very positive – and it definitely is – one thing to keep in mind is that rescues aren’t the place to go to obtain breeding llamas. This is because the rescue typically castrates males before placement, and females are placed under no-breeding contracts. Additionally, rescue personnel or their representatives can check in to make sure that you are properly caring for any llamas you have adopted too.
6 Factors That Influence the Cost of a Llama
The purpose that a llama is going to be used for can have a major influence on the cost.
Pack llamas, for example, that are usually at least four years old and have a couple of thousands of hours of training under their belt, are expensive and can cost anywhere between $1,500 to $5,000. High-quality females and males used for breeding are also inevitably more expensive.
On the other end of the scale, young untrained llamas can cost just a few hundred dollars.
Number of Llamas
Unless you want to buy a llama to protect sheep, goats, hens and other livestock from predators -i.e. a guard llama – you should probably buy at least a couple of llamas because these animals do best when they are together due to their strong herding instincts.
Llamas are no different from any other animal that you have on your farm in the sense that they need to be fed. Feeding llamas to ensure that they get all the nutrients and minerals they need to thrive and stay healthy isn’t necessarily as expensive as it is to feed other animals, but you will still need to spend a few hundred dollars a year.
Fortunately, llamas do not require as much medical attention as some other animals do. Even better is that when you purchase a llama, it should have already received the vaccinations it needs at the time.
Considering that llamas can live up to 25 years, though, you will probably require the services of a vet at least once throughout a llama’s lifespan – and vets usually aren’t cheap.
Due to their size, shearing a llama is more expensive than other animals like sheep and goats. You can expect to pay a professional about $35-40 to shear a llama. This fee usually includes nail trimming too. It’s usually normal for there to be a farm callout charge, which can cost about $80.
Trained vs. Untrained
We always recommend that you only buy trained llamas unless you have experience with llamas and are sure you know what you are doing.
The hassle and headache of dealing with untrained llamas when you have little experience are nowhere near worth the small savings that you will make.
Having said that, you don’t want to buy highly experienced/trained llamas either, as these llamas have usually been overhandled and are burned out.
4 Tips When Buying a Llama
Do Your Research
Before you buy a llama you want to make sure that you do plenty of research. Buy books, search the internet, and visit farms before you commit to buying. Most importantly, don’t be shy about asking lots of questions.
A good, reputable breeder will have no problem and will in fact even be proud of sharing as much as possible about their llamas.
Avoid Mass Breeders
Reputable llama breeders are more concerned with breeding high-quality animals instead of producing as many llamas that they can sell as possible.
A few good indications that you are dealing with a reputable breeder include a breeder that has only a few baby llamas (crias), the llamas look healthy instead of neglected (sheared and well-maintained), the facilities look clean, and the llamas they sell are trained.
Buy Trained Llamas
It’s possible to buy both trained and untrained llamas. While untrained llamas are cheaper, it’s not something that we would recommend, especially if you have limited experience with llamas. Untrained llamas and untrained owners are not a good combination, to say the least.
Buy Well-Conformed Llamas
The best indication of a well-conformed llama is not by taking the breeder’s words as the absolute truth, but by having a pre-purchase exam done by a recognized llama veterinarian or an independent, third party person who has lots of experience with llamas.
If a llama isn’t well-conformed, you may have to deal with costly leg problems, arthritis, and long-term health problems later down the line.