Llamas are herbivores and eat any kind of vegetation they can find including grasses, leaves and plants.
Being native to a very harsh environment, llamas are basically very healthy and resistant to many complaints of sheep, goats, cattle or horses, such as foot rot, bloat and fly strike. Llamas live amicably with other types of livestock and are usually given worming treatments at the same time as their companions. Some recommend a stocking rate of 3 – 4 per acre, however, more is obviously better. Over winter, hay, silage and haylage are all acceptable and a little concentrate desirable particularly for young stock and pregnant females near to term.
Llamas have a three-chambered rather than a four-chambered digestive tract like other ruminant animals.
In ruminants the stomach is categorised into different chambers which are:
1. The Rumen – this is the largest part and holds large amounts of partially digested food. This is where the ‘cud’ comes from. Good bacteria in the Rumen helps soften and digest the food and provides protein for the animal.
The major role of the rumen in camelids is to break down food particles with the help of mechanical digestion and fermentation by using symbiotic microbes. It also plays role in the removal of waste particles.
2. The Reticulum – this part of the stomach is called the ‘hardware’ stomach. The plant material that has been eaten is also softened further in this stomach section and is formed into small wads of cud. Each cud returns to the animals mouth and is chewed 40 – 60 times and then swallowed properly.
3. The Omasum – this part of the stomach is a ‘filter’. It filters through all the food the animal eats. The cud is also pressed and broken down further.
4. The Abomasum – this part of the stomach is like a humans stomach and is connected to the intestines. Here, the food is finally digested by the stomach acid and essential nutrients that the animal needs are passed through the bloodstream.
One part which is not present in the Llamas is known as the omasum.
In Llamas, only 3 ruminant stomach chambers are known to exist, namely rumen, reticulum, and abomasum.
More: Why do Llamas Spit?
Are Llamas related to Camels?
Yes, Llamas are related to camels — they are both members of the “camelid” family.
What are baby Llamas called?
A cria is the name for a juvenile llama, alpaca, vicuña, or guanaco.