Tom and Barbara Parsons of Animal Acres Llamas in Dousman, Wis., and Dr. Kristy Brown of The Brownderosa llama farm of Sparta, Wis., say they prefer to raise their own hay for several reasons. But neither would consider owning a baler.

Dr. Brown explains, “I know exactly what I’m getting with my own. The type of hay that’s best for the llamas is important. We have a blend here that’s about 30% alfalfa and 70% grass hay. A good mix has 8-10% protein for maintaining adult llamas. We’ll go 14% on our youngsters. So we’ll use our second cutting for nursing moms and the growing animals,” she says.

A neighbor does the hay baling. “I work with them and pay for the soil testing and fertilizer and go halves on the hay.” The same holds true for the Parsons. “Our hay is primarily a mix of Kentucky Bluegrass, some brome grass, some Timothy, teeny bit of alfalfa. We sell some of our hay to horse and cow people and they like that mix, too,” Tom says.

Dr. Brown adds that she would never recommend that a part-time farmer buy a baler. “I think it’s beyond the capability of most people we see getting into camelids. I hear them grumble about $3 hay and then they want to go out and buy a baler and a rake and all of the other stuff and suddenly it’s a mess. I just really discourage it,” she says.