Before you buy...
Join the British Llama Society
Ensure the seller is a BLS member and an up-to-date signatory to the BLS Sales Code of Conduct.
Check that the llamas (or guanacos) you are interested in are registered with the BLS. This has a number of important benefits:
It helps ensure and ascertain that the stock you buy is not in-bred (a potential health problem).
It helps you to ensure that any llamas bought for breeding purposes are unrelated. Although, it must be strongly stressed that females should never be kept together in the same paddock as males (even gelded males).
It helps us monitor the whereabouts of the nation's stock (vital for dealing with potential disease or governmental edicts).
It enables breeders to demonstrate the progress of their breeding programmes, which encourages breeding of quality stock.
Only registered llamas can be shown at official shows.
Only registered stock can take advantage of BLS insurance arrangements.
Talk to and visit as many members as possible. Once you have joined you are welcome to call any of our committee members or other listed contacts for a chat.
See as many llamas as you can.
Attend any meetings that are being organised in your area (or beyond) AND ask questions.
Ensure that you have enough land with secure fencing and shelter to keep llamas.
Be prepared to have animals that may live for many years.
Decide what you really want a llama for. Trekking? Showing? For fibre? As a livestock guard or companion? As a field pet? For breeding?
Do not buy an entire male unless you have the right facilities to keep it and gelded males to keep him company.
Consider the health of the animal and any others in the herd from which you are buying. Check vaccination and worm status.
Look carefully and critically at an animal's conformation and the way it moves. Is it sound?
What is its temperament like?
Can you see the parents?
If it is sold as halter-trained can YOU put a halter on it? Can YOU lead it? Will it be loaded into a trailer?
If it is not trained in any way, are you confident that you can do it yourself?
Check whether the animals are registered with the British Llama Society, and, if they are not, obtain as much information as possible about their parentage and grandparents.
Important: Ensure that the llamas you are interested in are not "too friendly"! If a youngster is pushy or overtly friendly then it will have been hand-reared or over-handled. Whilst very tempting when little, such llamas have "imprinted" on humans and will grow up to be, at best, difficult and pushy but at worst, a danger.
Llamas are herd animals and should never be kept on their own. Two or more geldings or females make the best field pets.
Never buy llamas to breed from unless you have the space and facilities to keep the males and females out of sight and smell of each other. Since llamas should never live on their own, you will need other llamas of the same sex for them to live with, until your breeding pair are put together for breeding at the appropriate time and separated again immediately afterwards. Consideration must also be given as to the space needed to split mums and cria up for weaning.