Llamas are not fussy eaters, but their main food is grass (and hay). This means that you need a field of some sort – though it does not have to be excellent pasture, because llamas will eat a wide range of grasses, weeds, bushes and trees. In fact, llamas have been used as ‘débroussailleuses’, clearing rough uncultivated land of brambles, blackthorn and other weeds. Essentially, they are browsers rather than grazers, although their sharp lower teeth do allow them to cut grass very neatly!
The amount of land needed per llama obviously varies depending on the type of vegetation and the climate. Our experience with average quality pasture in the Allier is that about five llamas can be kept year round on 1 hectare (10,000 m²). From about December to March, additional feed in the form of hay is essential. Although grazing is a year round activity, except when there is snow on the ground, the grass grows very slowly when it’s cold and days are short.
When we lived in the Aude, in the far south of France, more land per animal was needed because the grass quality was very poor and the summer weather very dry – no more than three llamas per hectare and occasional supplement with hay was needed in the driest times.