You’ve heard how people milk all sorts of farm animals, cows, goats, sheep, donkeys, and even camels.
Perhaps you own a llama and wonder: can I milk my llama?
After all, llamas give birth to live young that suckle, why couldn’t you milk them?!
Well, the answer is: yes and not, as we will explain.
Can You Milk A Llama?
Llamas are lactating animals. This means that they produce milk from their mammary glands to feed their young. This technically means that you can milk them. However, llamas have very small teats which makes milking extremely hard.
Another problem with milking llamas is that they give so little milk that there won’t be enough for their crias.
Studies have shown that baby llamas grow the most in the first 1-2 months when consuming milk – they gain about 0.5–1 lb/day (230-455 g/day).
Reducing the among of milk they get might stunt their growth and possibly cause different health issues in older age. That is not something you want to see.
Llamas do not like being milked, which is why we would advise not to milk llamas unless needed.
How Much Milk Do Llamas Produce?
The amount of milk llamas produce depends on the week of lactation. Llamas will give the most milk in the first weeks of giving birth – as time passes, those amounts decrease.
Llamas will give around 67 oz/day (2,000 mL/day).
Llamas do not give all that amount at once, but a few times throughout the day which means that the baby needs to suckle frequently to receive the nutrients it requires.
It will produce a lot of milk in the first 4 to 6 weeks but then that number will slowly decline until the time of weaning.
Is Llama Milk Healthy?
3.5 oz (100 g) of llama milk has around 87 kcal. This is higher than cow (76 kcal per 100 g), goat (74 kcal per 100 g), but less than sheep milk (115 kcal per 100 g). It consists of 87% water, 4.1% protein, and 4.2% fat.
Llama milk is different than the milk of these traditional livestock animals as it has more protein, zinc, and calcium.
Llama’s milk also contains less fat than sheep milk, sodium, potassium, and chloride than other ruminants, which makes it a great substitute for their milk.
Can You Drink Llama Milk?
Llama milk is safe to drink, although it is higher in lactose (6.5%) compared to cattle milk so you might want to be careful with it.
In case you decide to try it, remember that llama milk has a white color, it is sweet and pleasant.
The only way to feel a bad taste with llama milk is if by mistake you drink colostrum milk, which is yellow and slightly salty.
You should know that the Incas did not drink the milk of llamas and alpacas, which they called nuñu, nor did they make cheese of it.
According to the Spanish chronicler Padre Blas Valera, they refused to do so because the animals “only have sufficient to nourish their lambs”.
Read More: Nutrients and health benefits of llama milk
How To Milk A Llama?
To properly milk a llama, you might want to take a small bag and wrap it around your fingers as you would do with a paper fortune teller. Then you’d want to approach the teat carefully, squeeze the top part of the teat and pull it down.
Milking a llama is a challenging task because at best, a thumb and one or two fingers are all that you can use.
The llama’s milk is white and will come out in small quantities.
Here’s a video demonstration on an alpaca; it’s a similar milking process as if it were a llama.
This concludes our article on the topic of “can you milk a llama”.
Llamas are lactating dairy milch animals that can be milked. They usually give small quantities of milk, around 67 oz/day (2,000 mL/day) per day. Most of that should be given to its baby to suckle.
People have been using llama milk as a replacement for camel milk as it is lower in fat and has more protein.
Read more: Can you milk a camel?