OK, they look snooty. But for a home business idea, llamas are hard to beat. They have a sweet temperament. They are easy to raise. They live in most climates. They require little care. Virtually NO technology is needed to raise them. And they are just fun!
What’s not to love?
I often see llamas prancing around in the fields nearby, and one day I stopped to talk with one of the owners. Sandra, the owner, absolutely could not praise this creature enough. The llama was gentle with her children. It was playful, and easy to train. She had trained it to pull a small cart so the children could get rides. And it made her a nice income.
I asked Sandra how she got started in the llama business. She told me that a friend raised llamas, and every time she visited that llama ranch she mentioned that she wanted a life like that for herself and her family. She wanted a life that encouraged her children to go outdoors, a life that respected nature and life itself, a life that would allow her to teach her children about giving back to the world. Her llama ranch accomplished all of that, and more.
Jessie, one of Sandra’s children, came by about then. I asked her what she liked best about the llamas. Jessie said that she enjoyed it the most when they took a llama or two to the old people who lived on the hill. It really made the old people smile, and Jessie liked that. She also liked when there was a new baby because they were so cute.
How Do I Make Money With A Cute Llama?
Llamas really have a number of uses. Fortunately, they are not used as food, so you won’t be selling them to a slaughterhouse. But you can raise llamas for:
Fur production. The undercoat is soft and lanolin-free. It produces wool that is perfect for winter blankets, shawls, scarves and coats.
As a beast of burden. This is one of the reasons that llamas were domesticated in the first place. They are sure-footed, gentle animals that carry things like camping gear into wooded areas, or even in mountainous areas. You may sell mature llamas to all manner of outdoor sports organizations.
As a show animal. These are beautiful animals, and there are dozens of shows every year just for llamas. While you likely won’t make a lot of money at the shows themselves, the winning llamas make excellent breeding stock. Even if your llamas are not show stoppers, odds are that you can still sell some of the crias (baby llamas) to other ranchers.
As a livestock guard animal. For the past 30 years or so, llamas have become a favorite guard animal, especially in sheep and goat ranches. A solitary male llama seems to bond well with his herd, and guards them well.
You bet. No matter how you market your llamas, a website will show them off to folks who just can’t come by and see them. Your ranch will be distinguished as a very professional business with a website of its own.
Also, don’t discount the option of promoting llama wool products. I have a poncho of llama wool that I absolutely love. The soft colors and soft-to-the-touch feeling makes this one of my most treasured pieces. There are hats and mittens, and just plain beautiful skeins of wool too. Create a partnership with an artist or two if you are not one, and let those llama items bring your site to life.
What Does It Cost To Start A Home Business With Llamas?
The biggest expense will be the property, if you don’t already own it. While llamas don’t require as much space as some domestic animals, they do need room to roam. They also need a fence to keep them in.
The next biggest expense will be the “starter set”. Llamas are very social creatures, and there must be at least one male and one female on your ranch. A single llama costs around $3000 to $10,000, depending on the calibre of the individual animal, and its purpose. Llamas live for about 30 years, so it is a long term investment.
Llamas breed beginning when they are about three years old. Growing a herd can take several years if you begin with only one pair.
Maintenance costs are minimal: maybe $200 for food per year, a vet once in a while. For a home business, this is an important consideration.
Llamas are truly a great business to grow over time. Begin with one or two pair, learn all about them, then grow the herd so that it becomes a financially secure business. You will enjoy the process of raising these animals, and you will treasure the friendships you make with other llama owners.
References For Llamas As A Home Business:
The llama organization is the best starting point. This is a national organization that can link you up to local resources and provide you will all the information you need to make good choices for your llama ranch.
The other incalculably good source of information is simply meeting other llama farmers. Stop and talk with them, go to llama shows, read magazines. Once you discover the quality of people who are now in the business, I cannot help but believe that llama ranching is the home business that you want to pursue.
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