Both these girls have impressive pedigrees. 'Sunshine' (left) was born in April 2007 as GSL Little Miss Sunshine. She has big & beautiful blue eyes.
'Stormy' was born in March 2006 and was registered as GSL Copy Cat. Her prior owners called her 'CC'. We figured since "a little rain must fall" in every pasture (particularly during our drought), we needed a big Stormy to go with our Sunshine.
As far back as the Incan Empire, llamas have been used as beasts of burden in their native South America. They can be fitted with a pack on their back to carry 25% of their body weight. We'll have to go hiking with one of these girls sometime. She can carry a nice picnic lunch to enjoy on one of our remote hiking/horse trails.
Llamas are also excellent livestock guardians, which was the main reason we brought them to QT Farm. Check out Sunshine on Duty on the Livestock page. They arrived on the girls' birthday and they both agreed it was their best present. They are gentle and sweet and our girls like to lead them for a walk around the block. They also like to feed them by holding their bowl of pellets.
The added bonus of these working livestock is that they are also fiber producers. Their fleece weight can be from 3 to 6 lbs with a staple length of 3 to 8 inches. They are dual-coated with a downy undercoat and outer guard hairs. The guard hairs can be removed to make rug yarn, while the undercoat is soft enough for garments or blankets. Llamas and alpacas share the same toilets, which are designated spots were they all 'go'. This makes them easier to clean up after than equine.
These llama mamas are friendly and versatile. They bring guardian, pack, and fiber value to the farm - that's my kind of trifecta!!!
Wild alpacas are called Vicunas and wild llamas are called Guanacos. They are camelids, which means they are part of the Camel family. It's illegal to own a Vicuna in the U.S., but Guanacos are permitted. Guanacos are extremely rare in the U.S, with about 300 in zoos and 200 registered in private herds. Guanaco fiber is considered by some to be second only to the vicuna, and vicuna fiber is considered by all to be the finest in the world. Woven Vicuna fabric can range between $1,800 to $3,000 a yard, with scandalous sport coats over $20,000. Move over Prada, nature creates more luxury than your brand name.
Some speculate the guanaco and vicuna were bred to create the domesticated alpaca. Like alpaca fiber, guanaco is very soft and warm. Unlike alpaca's 22 different colors, most guanacos (and vicunas) are cinnamon colored, with white bellies and fine gray faces. Their undercoat fleece is about 1.5 to 2.5 inches and only about 1 to 2 lbs. The small number of animals and small fiber yields adds to the scarcity and high cost of their luxury fiber. Guanacos can be highly-strung animals and do best when they are not handled often or in the middle of the action. Our guanaco boy is named Grayson and he comes from Royal Fibers in Dixon, CA. He lives with the more gentle and shorter sheep ewes.
Here is Grayson getting the scoop on his pellet ration (while Three rare-breeds at feeding time - Guanaco, CVM sheep &
(Flanders, the Flemish Giant behind him wishes he'd hurry up): Brahma Chicken