Llamas are the rage at Ag Expo

August 02, 1999|By GREG SIMMONS

Polly Schofield, of the Silver Storm Farm near Chewsville, exhibited a few of her llamas Monday at the Washington County Ag Expo.

The llamas, led by ropes, jumped over and trotted through obstacles as part of the show.

The 350- to 400-pound animals are much better known for their good behavior than their physical ability, Schofield said.

"It's their personality. They're really good to have around," she said.

Llamas make good pets, not only because of their good nature, but because they are inexpensive to keep around, she said. An average llama may cost $250 a year to feed and house. If the owner has about an acre of good pasture, it won't be necessary to feed the llamas, because they eat only grass.

Even hauling the animals is inexpensive. Other livestock like horses and cows require trailers and large trucks, but llamas can be trained to ride in the back of a station wagon, Schofield said.


Schofield, who takes her llamas to nursing homes and into elementary schools for show and tell, said the animals' popularity is increasing nationwide.

Llamas were first brought to the United States from South America in the 1930s. There are 125,000 registered llamas in the country now, Schofield said.

The Delta Society, based in Washington state, is a nonprofit organization that also brings pets to schools and nursing homes. The society sponsors more than 2,500 pet organizations in 45 states, according to the Delta Society's Web site.

Diane Kidd, 44, of Williamsport, said she never thought of having a llama as a pet, then added, "I guess they're just like every other pet," she said.

Her 5-year-old daughter Kathleen said she'd rather have a dog as a pet because they "don't bite very hard."

Ag Expo will continue through Friday at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center on Sharpsburg Pike, 10 miles south of Hagerstown.

The Herald-Mail Articles