How much do llamas cost?
It’s the summer holidays! A time where parents go mad trying to entertain children, commuters enjoy a quieter rush hour getting a rare seat on the train and lots of businesses experience a slow down in work.
This is a great time to wonder what else you could be doing. Running a bar in Mexico? Teaching people to snowboard on mountains around the world?
How about owning lamas?
Ever since watching The Emperor's New Groove Llamas have been awesome. So was Ezma but for now we stick with Llamas. If you’re like me you have wondered just how much they are to begin keeping. So much so that I put the research in and figure if I hadn’t chosen to have children I would have an epic Llama herd by now.
How much do Llamas cost to buy?
Price will depend on the age of your lama. A breeding aged male or female will set you back more than a young lama. A breeding female will be between £3,000 and upwards £10,000 depending on their characteristics, this price includes a confirmed pregnancy, veterinary health certificate and delivery.
A gelding will cost between £500 and £750.
If you’re cash rich then get going with a young pregnant female, off the batt she's producing offspring which down the line can be sold on or kept for future breeding. Add in a male if you have time to play some Marvin Gaye and hope your new pair likes each other. Add some younger Llamas to be able to mix up the genetics if you decide breeding is for you.
How much land do they require?
Llamas are a social creature and prefer to have a buddy. It is ideal to have 4 lamas per acre of land. That doesn't mean though that you can have 2 on a half acre or 1 on a quarter acre. There needs to be enough grazing land.
Llamas are hardy animals and can live outside all year however you can cut your vets bills by providing shelter either trees or more preferable a purpose built shelter. Plus why keep them if you don’t want to pamper them a little bit?
How much will the land cost?
The price of an acre of land will vary widely. You can find land that’s £5,000 per acre and you can find land for £100,000 per acre. If you are only looking to keep lama on the land then you have more chance of hitting the lower scale. If the land has water or electric access then prices can increase.
If you can afford it maybe look for property with enough land attached to create a small holding. But that’s an expensive set up cost whilst a simple field is cheaper. It will need to be made secure with fencing tall enough to make sure they can’t jump it. In 2017 a llama made the guinness world records for jumping a 1.13m jump.
Whilst keeping llamas have a high start price the general running costs can be kept low.
Two llamas to feed per year will be around £250 - £350.
Llamas come under large animals such as cows and horses and will require specialised vets. You can be looking at over £120 for a vets consultation. Don’t forget there are specialist insurances though so price will vary depending on total number of animals owned. So much paperwork!
Llamas as with any animal will need input and taking care of. It is recommended to check on your animals twice a day to avoid unnecessary vets visits. Also why wouldn’t you want to go and see them? Give Kuzco a piece of extra carrot and some words of encouragement to be the best llama he can be
How can my lamas make me money?
Lets just state for your hypothetical animals sake you cannot ride a llama. Imagine trying to give a piggyback to Donald Trump and how that would feel - don’t do that to your new llamas.
But how can you start to earn back that initial input.
There are standard way and imaginative ways.
Lamas will need their fleece shearing. You can get a vet to do this and pay for it or you can learn to do it yourself. A cleaned good quality sheering will weigh between 3 - 6 pounds. 6 pounds is 96 ounces and fleece can sell between £2.50 - £5 per ounce. £240 per fleece if sold at the lowest price. That means one sheering is likely to pay for two animals yearly food.
Days out and experience can be a great business option if you have the time to fulfil demand. This is where you can either get stuck in yourself or get yourself a member of staff depending if you want to keep the money for yourself. A 90 min lama walk can charge around £25 - £35 per person. Arranging for groups depending on the number of lamas you own.
Hen parties, animal handling experiences and other such options are great sources of income.
That sounds so harsh when worded that way but if you still want to sell on some of your llama family then a female breeding llama can produce between 10 and 12 babies in their life. Sell whilst young and you get between £500 and £750. Nurture them and let them grow and you can get back the couple thousand for selling breeding aged or even more for confirmed pregnancies.
How to get imaginative?
Everyone knows Weddings are big business. People also want unique things at their weddings. What gets more unique than having lamas there, perhaps even walking the rings down the aisle? Market yourself as lamas for hire and you could see wedding bookings, parties or corporate gigs coming your way.
If going this route you will need appropriate transport and insurances to consider for pricing.
Llama theatre! Get your sewing machines out and casting directors hat on. All it needs is a camera and determination and in no time...probably a fairly long time….you will be able to recreate the whole of The Emperor's New Groove with a full Llama cast. Why not go wild and have the Llama turn into a human and be the only talking human? Youtube will love this film. Just stay clear of Disney's long reaching arms.
Llama escape room. One group enters and has an hour to escape the room. Fail and you get covered in syrup and hay. Then the Llamas descend for nibble time.
How do the final numbers look
With all that information you may not know if you want llamas or not yet (how have I not convinced you?)
Numbers are based on four starting Llamas. Two adult two young. First year.
Land - £30,000
Llama - £14,000
Feed - £600
Miscellaneous - £10,000
Total - £54,600
Miscellaneous allows for vets bills of the first year if pregnancy occurs, adaptations to the land if needed and a bumper for any unknown events.
Fleece - £700
Llama walks - working 52 Saturdays, one group of 4 people each day - £6,240
One wedding booking - £500
Educational school visits - £400
Total - £7840
Put in more effort and you see that income rise. At this lover level the original cost is covered in 6 years 9 months.
That doesn’t include the sale of any young llamas produced or the increase income from fleece and walking groups that would be experienced.
Not too shabby for some research into what was originally a drunken question of “how much does a llama cost?”
Let us know if you bought yourself some llamas and how close to the mark the costings are.