Hobby Farms Llamas & Alpacas: Keeping A Small-Scale Camelid Herd, by Sue Weaver
This book is funny. Whether or not you have any intention of owning some llamas or alpacas for various purposes, and I must admit that I don’t, this book is hilarious and filled with commentary from the author and from other people who have experience in their own llama and alpaca farms and who have some idea of what sort of things are useful to do with llamas and related animals and some of the pitfalls that people have when it comes to trying to make business. It is well that the author considers this sort of thing a hobby farm and urges people to remember that they are not going to get wealthy off of raising llamas but they could very well making a living off of it and have an enjoyable time with cute and loving animals that require care but also provide a worthwhile experience. The combination between cute animals and a shrewd and honest approach to raising them and the setting of modest expectations makes this a book that is easy to appreciate and enjoy if you like reading about llamas, and I must admit that I do. If you like reading about llamas too, this is an entertaining and informative book to read and that’s a good mix.
This book is a bit less than 200 pages long and is divided into nine chapters that deal with the raising of llamas in the United States. The book begins with an introduction that discusses why one would want to raise llamas. After that the author urges the reader to meet the llama to better understand its background and quirks (1). This is followed by a chapter that discusses the process by which one buys a llama (or two) and brings it home (2). There is then a discussion of how to handle llamas and alpacas (3), and then how one feeds (4) and houses them (5). These are core elements, of course, in taking care of llamas as a farmer. After these fundamental concerns the author discusses how to deal with llamas in sickness and in health (6), with a lot of discussion of common llama diseases and health woes and how to recognize them. After that comes a discussion of breeding llamas, something which is pretty popular but also pretty difficult to manage given the limits of good llama breeding stock in the United States (7). After that the author discusses more great llama activities besides what one might ordinarily expect that can build the reputation of a llama farmer (8). Finally, the author discusses various ways that one can make money, if not a lot of money, from llamas and alpacas (9), before the book finishes with acknowledgements, a glance at more llama maladies, a glossary, resources, an index, and information about the author.
As someone who has seen hobby farms for llamas and alpacas in quite a few areas, I can tell you that hope springs eternal when it comes to people seeking an income from llamas. And yet llamas offer quite a few different options for those seeking to make an income from them. And the author is quick to note, and it is worthwhile to remember, that one need not own llamas to make a decent income relating to them. One can become a professional llama sitter and, as a result of a good reputation and experience, help llama farmers get a vacation by knowing that someone competent is taking care of their animals for a bit. Additionally, one can make a living as a producer of textiles made from llama fur through building a relationship with nearby llama farmers that can serve as a way of providing additional profit to the farmers as well as profit for oneself as a manufacturer. And these are only some of the means, which demonstrate some creativity in the community of llama farmers in terms of working on ways to earn an income while supporting the farming community around oneself.