How Much Does a Llama Cost?

Written by: Staff

A llama is a type of animal that is commonly used as a pack animal; however, there are some cultures that may eat the meat.  But in the United States, most are used for livestock purposes.

Llamas are great animals for working because they are capable of carrying about 30 percent of their body weight for up to eight miles.   Although they look really gentle, llamas are also used as a livestock guard.  They can protect sheep from predators such as coyotes and other pests.  Llamas can grow up to six feet tall, weigh 450 pounds and closely resemble a camel and a sheep.

Llamas by Ronnie Macdonald, on Flickr
Llamas” (CC BY 2.0) by  Ronnie Macdonald

How much does a llama cost?

The cost to buy a llama will depend on the age, its temperament, wool quality gender, its history, the size and where it’s purchased.  On average, a llama can cost anywhere from $300 to as much as $5,000.  A llama with no training, for example, can be as little as $400 to $900 while a llama used for breeding or weaning can start at $1,500.

Llama Nation, an online classified website, had 300+ listings at the time of this writing, with prices varying anywhere from $300 to $3,000.  About 70 percent of the listings, however, were less than $750.

Shangrila Llamas, located in Callaway, Virginia, had quite a few listings up on their website.  Most of the llamas, either sold in the past or as today, were in the $600 to $1,500 range.

What is going to be included in the price?

A reputable breeder should include some sort of guarantee, up-to-date vaccinations, a deworming, medical history, nail trimming, sheering and aftercare support if you needed.

What are the extra costs?

Unless a llama is being used as a guard animal, they shouldn’t be left alone due to their herding instincts.  With that being said, if you want to invest in a llama, plan on adopting at least two to three.  Failing to do so can lead to some aggressive behavior.

A barn or three-sided shelter, if you don’t have one built, will be needed to keep them out of the sun or rain.  This shed should be large enough to allow each llama to move around freely and offer them some space.  Most of the time, llamas will roam around outside unless it’s too hot outside.  The biggest problem, at least according to Gala Online, will be the summer months when they are trying to keep cool.  If you haven’t built a shed yet, consider adding ridge vents to allow the hot air to escape, or if you’re able to, add electricity to run a fan.

The shelter is only part of the llama’s living situation; they will need adequate fencing as well.  At a minimum, the fence needs to be safe, secure and made from either boards or split rail.  These animals tend to steer clear of fencing so there’s no worry about aggressive behavior.

As for feed, the results are mixed as people have varying opinions when it comes to the nutrition and feeding.  Two animals, on average, can cost about $350 per year to feed.  This would include the pellets and about six months worth of feeding hay.  If allowing them to feed in a pasture, an acre can feed about three to four llamas.

Most of the time, llamas won’t need medical attention; however, males with fighting teeth may need to have them cut off to avoid becoming destructive to other llamas in the pen.  Every month, but if it could be up to every three months if you live in a rockier terrain, the toenails need to be trimmed, but this can be done on your own you learn how it works.  Deworming, as with any livestock, needs to be done by a local veterinarian, along with vaccinations such as a rabies shot.

Delivery, if needed, can be an additional cost if you need the seller to deliver it personally.

Tips to know:

As long as healthy, a llama can live 15 to 20 years on average.

Llamas can come in all shapes, colors and size, but the average llama will weigh between 250 to 425 pounds and reach heights of four to six feet tall.

Llamas can spit; however, they will only do so to keep other llamas at bay or to establish their territory to keep a pecking order.  An abused llama, according to, may spit at any threat.

What’s the difference between a llama and an alpaca?

Ears.  The ears of an alpaca will be shorter in shape while llamas will be much longer, similar to that of a banana.

Face.  If you pay close attention to a llamas’ face, it will be longer, while an alpaca will have more of a “smashed” face.

Hair.  The hair of an alpaca will produce finer fibers than a llama.  An alpaca will also produce more fleece in different color variations.

Purpose.  Alpacas have been known to be bred for fiber, and in some countries, the meat as well.  Llamas, on the other hand, will be primarily used as either a pack animal or for the meat.

Size.  Alpacas, on average, will weigh up to 175 pounds, whereas a llama can be much heavier, often weighing more than 400 pounds.  The same can be said for heights as an alpaca can stand about 36 inches tall, while a llama will be 10 inches taller.

How can I save money?

See if any llama rescues exist in your area.  If so, this is a great way to adopt a llama that needs a home for a lot less than purchasing from a private breeder.  Also, a local llama auction, if available, can often net some decent deals.

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