Someone commented recently... "Why llamas... cute... but what good are they".
One word answer: "Coyotes".
We live in Northeastern Kansas, and believe me, it's not flat here. Almost two years ago now, we had some African cross geese we had raised from little goslings. Coyotes got over the 5 foot livestock fence in the pasture and got the male, Timmy. We had already had several call ducks disappear mysteriously, but that was aggravating, to lose a fine young gander.
We called friends who had raised llamas for many years in northwestern Missouri, and a few days later at the weekend, Mama and Tony arrived while we were out doing errands. Beau the Pony and Lacey the mini were not a bit afaid of them, and placidly accepted their presence in the pasture and the horseyard.
Samantha, a particularly calm and affectionate goose, became best friends with Beau, the dear old pony.
They were often found together, pony and goose.
Then, Tim disappeared, and after a day or so, Keith walked around in the pasture, and found his body against the bottom fenceline. It could have been a raccoon, but we believed coyotes, as we heard them all around. The chickens were shut up at night, but the ducks and geese stayed out. The coyotes grew bold enough to come in the pasture.
So... along came Mama, and her year old cria, Tony.
Best coyote control ever.
Llamas will stomp a coyote to death if they can.
We did not lose any more birds to coyotes, though the beauteous Samantha ran afoul of what we thought was probably a possum, as she got a terrible scratch across her breast that became infected.
We lost her.
Thus started our llama keeping, with the wise and wonderful Big Mama Llama.
Tony stuck close to Mama that first summer, and was lonely for someone to play with. He grew fat and sassy, though, and the second year, she presented us with a beautiful little cria with tight crimped wool and a gorgeous cinnamon color.... Yankee.
Then, we bought Inca a year ago, and brought her home, where she was promptly bred by Tony.
In all this time, we never lost another bird to coyotes. The only time they came in the pasture, we heard them in time and ran at them.. and the llamas were butt to butt in defense.
We get lovely wool from them, and next spring it will be cleaned and sent to be spun into thread with a cotton blend, and my sister will make me an afghan from the wool of our own llamas.
Far more than this, they provide us with hours of pleasure watching them play in the pasture.
After we had Tony and Yankee gelded and lost Yankee, Tony was lonely for a playmate. He has one now in our new little cria, who still has no name.
And that is how we got our llamas!