lost creek llamas


What's new

About us
Statement of ethics

Llama care, management and resources


Packing with llamas

Driving llamas in harness

Showing llamas

Fiber from llamas
Llamas as guardians

Rescue and rehabilitation

Classic performance llamas

Our llama family
Just for fun
Cria photos

Training consultation
Performance llama analysis

Research Projects

Other llama sites






If you don't rescue ...

Research Projects

Even though llamas have been domesticated for thousands of years and a vital part of a number of native South American cultures, they are relative newcomers to private ownership in North America. As such, they are also newcomers to modern veterinary medicine. Not only are there no drugs approved for use in llamas, but normal diagnostic values have only recently (and tentatively) established, the definition of normal growth is in dispute, and management practices are based on opinion (or economics) rather than fact (or the wellbeing of the animal). Fortunately, many llama breeders were convinced to spend money on important research during the heyday of high-priced llamas. Breeders and owners continue to donate substantial amounts per capita to various research efforts now that llamas are valued primarily as companions.

Organized research at established institutions is the usual means to uncovering knowledge about llamas. However, some dedicated breeders and owners, such as ourselves, also collect data and conduct studies on their own.

We don't have extra money flying around here (it all goes into the llamas, and our human friends were amazed when we actually purchased "real" furniture!), but a lot of vital information can be uncovered without very much money -- particularly if the research is noninvasive (and we could never do invasive or harmful research on any of our friends!). What we've found has changed the way we manage our llamas, and also affected our breeding selections.

Some current research projects

  • Llama research funded by Morris Animal Foundation
  • Llama research at Oregon State University

Research at Lost Creek Llamas

Temperature regulation and heat stress in working llamas


Llama growth and its effects on management practices and decisions

  • Physical maturity of male llamas and the physical effects of castration between the ages of 12 and 30 months -- nearing completion
  • Physical maturity of female llamas and the physical effects of impregnation prior to physical maturity -- completed
  • Eruption of permanent dentition and its correlation to body maturity -- completed
  • Identification of external factors affecting llama growth -- in progress


Identification and inheritance of individual components that result in the classic coat type

  • Identification of quantifiable physical features comprising the classic wool type -- in progress
  • Effects of quantifiable physical features on temperature regulation, other health aspects, comfort, and ease of care -- in progress
  • Identification of separate heritable factors
  • Identifying modes of inheritance for each factor


Applied biomechanics and conformation

  • Identification and effects of conformational and biomechanical variants on llama soundness and performance -- in progress

Return to Lost Creek Llamas home page