Llama Walk FAQ

Llama Walk FAQ2020-03-13T20:23:29+00:00

Learn more about llamas and what happens during a llama walk!

Llama Walk Kossak Degroot

Sometimes it’s hard to estimate your travel time. Early is better than late! But as a courtesy, if you arrive more than 10 minutes early, please wait in your car so we’ll be ready for you

Llamas, alpacas, guanaco and vicuna are all camelids. The desert camels and other camelids all are descendant from an extinct ancestor that originated in North America.
No. They just have lower incisors and a hard palette to snip grass off with. They have molars to chew. Males have fighting teeth but the llamas have had them cut.
Yes, but just at each other. It’s a hierarchy thing, often means don’t take my food, that’s my fan or shade (in the summer) or no I don’t want to have sex!

They might, so it’s best not to walk too close right behind any large animal. Their peripheral vision is very good, but they do have a small blind spot behind them. They might kick if surprised.

Not really. But, they are willing companions. Llamas have been called “silent brothers” in South America. They have been domesticated and have been carrying people’s stuff for thousands of years. Once you make the effort to earn their trust, they will do most anything you ask.

The most important thing for me is to make sure you feel safe with the llamas, and they with you.  We start with meeting the chickens as an “ice breaker” before entering the llama paddock. This allows the llamas a chance to observe you with me first. Though they have a hierarchy within their herd, I am the “boss” of them and head of the herd as their gatekeeper, the one who looks out for their safety, brings food and comfort. So when you accompany me inside of their domain you will be accepted as a member of the herd too.

I’ll answer your questions, review safety and any other concerns before we set out.

When we first greet the llamas, keep your hands in your pockets or behind your back. Look slightly down at your feet at first, not eye to eye, which to them is a threatening posture.

We move, talk and interact slowly and calmly. We are making them feel safe. If we scare them, we lose trust and have to win it back.

Llamas greet each other by sniffing each other’s breath. Once you have approached or been approached by a llama, blow out softly from your nose or mouth. Your llama may blow back gently with his breath. This is a very good trust building exchange. He may then gently touch noses with you as sort of an Eskimo kiss. It tickles.

Stay calm, remember they don’t bite. You will eventually be able to pet them.

During this greeting, I introduce each llama by name, age, and personality. This is where you choose your partner or they choose you. I am observing the whole time and may make or suggest the matches instead.

A llama’s halter must fit up close to their eyes as they have very little bone or cartilage on their noses. If it fits improperly, they will feel that they might suffocate. For the same reason, they don’t like to be petted on the nose. Most like to be scratched or petted on the side of their neck or under their chin.

After our visitors are paired up, I review walking on a lead and around obstacles, what words they understand, and what to do if you accidentally let go of your lead.

We may do a little brushing or grooming so the llama can get used to the walker’s energy, sound of their voice, scent, and feel of their touch. Then we do trial walks around some cones inside the pasture fence.

When I am confident that our visitors are ready, we leave the fenced area to walk the llamas in the woods.

I find walking silently and getting to know your llama is better than anything. Try to be present and leave all your concerns behind.

All of our llamas know what good manners are. The most annoying behavior for me is when a llama stops for snacks as we walk. If your llama tests you and gets away with a snack once, he may try to do it over and over again. This may start a chain reaction as  the other llamas don’t want to miss out on snacking. I will demonstrate how to discourage this behavior as well as other physical and verbal cues before we hit the trail.

Llamas share a communal manure pile. If one stops to “potty”, it is likely others will join in. I take a small rake as a walking stick to brush their droppings off the path. Llama beans are an awesome soil amendment.

If we encounter horseback riders, we pull over for and direct the llamas look away. Our llamas are familiar with horses, but some horses have not seen a llama before and might be spooked. This is for the safety of the horseback rider.

I am on the lookout for dogs off leash and hail their owner to leash or control them while we pass. This is for the safety of the dog. Most dogs are no problem. Dogs look like a predator to a llama.

We pull over for vehicles. There are some dirt roads in the Colliers Mill WMA. Drivers are usually slow and very considerate.

Sometimes we have to walk over or around a fallen tree or around a big puddle.

Loose llama! Please don’t chase him! He may tangle his legs in the lead rope and get in trouble. Don’t let go unless you have to, but don’t hurt yourself hanging on. Sometimes they may startle from a loud noise or a herd of deer running by. This hardly ever happens. It’s not a big worry. The fastest way to catch a llama is very slowly and quietly. Just get the word to me right away and I’ll retrieve him.

At the end of the walk, we bring the llamas back into the paddock and thank them for their service. I let the walkers pet them and take their leads off.

Every living thing needs to feel safe. If you don’t feel safe, it is very hard to trust, learn, love or get “unstuck” if you are stuck. The most important thing for me is to make sure you feel safe with these llamas, and they with you.

I will help you choose the llama that’s right for you. We do a practice walk inside the fenced pasture before we head out to help build your confidence. Some people may choose not to walk a llama at first or to share one with someone else or take turns. That’s OK.

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This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.