Today, llamas have many uses.
Their fiber is classified as an exotic fiber. It has a very high insulating properties and is a hair rather than a wool. It is free of lanolin and is reportedly non-allergenic. It does not have the elasticity found in sheep wool and frequently a spinner will blend wool with llama or alpaca fiber to give the yarn memory. The quality and color of fleece varies widely. Alpaca fiber is much more consistent than llama fiber. Some of our llamas have very fine fiber, others have fiber suitable only for stuffing a comforter or donating to the birds in our area for building nests.
Llamas are better suited to guarding livestock than any other guard animal. They may initially be more expensive than guard dogs but end up costing less over their working lifetimes. They are used to guard alpacas, sheep, goats, cattle and poultry. Generally, gelded males which have never been used for breeding are used for guarding. However, we have placed more females as guards than males. While llamas are better than other species in guarding, not all llamas make good guard animals.
Llamas also make excellent pack animals. Many who have gone packing with llamas do not go back to packing with any other animal, because the llamas provide quiet companionship and are not given to complaining. Llamas are more environmentally friendly than other pack animals because they do not have hooves. Their two-toed padded feet make they very sure footed while not tearing up the trail. The best llamas for packing are the lighter wool animals. Depending upon size and condition, a llama can carry up to 100 pounds.
Llamas make good 4-H projects. They are a good choice for children who want to train and show livestock without having to send the animals to slaughter. Llamas have a predisposition towards children. They will frequently run up and greet a child who enters the pasture.
Llamas also make good companion animals. Their quiet disposition is calming to the soul. Their antics at dusk, pronging across your pasture, will leave you laughing. Whenever we need a little more tranquility in our lives we will go out and sit quietly with our llamas.