A robust llama can pack 25 to 30 percent of its body weight, or 70 to 95 pounds. Llamas are sure-footed in the most difficult terrain and have a low impact on trails compared to traditional pack animals. They usually obtain adequate food and water from browsing while walking, though harsher environments will require the packer to bring additional food and water. Pack llamas are used by a variety of professions, including hunters, fishermen, government land management, rescue work, trail maintenance crews, and scientists transporting delicate equipment into the field (RMLA, no date). Before packing, take care to understand how the saddle should be used, as well as the balance and weight appropriate for your animal. Llamas under the age of two should not be loaded, and no llama should be fully loaded until it is well-trained and fully matured (usually at four years of age).
Llamas can also be used as guardians for livestock, including cattle, sheep, and poultry. As a herd animal, the llama is particularly attentive to menaces. Llamas are natural guardians due to their inherent wariness of the dog family. An Iowa State University study found that, on average, producers were losing 26 sheep, or 11 percent of their flock to predation, compared to eight sheep, or 1 percent, after obtaining guard llamas. Most guard
llamas are gelded males, and can be kept with anywhere from four to over 2,000 sheep. Many of the llamas in the study adjusted to the livestock within a few hours, and 80 percent were adjusted within a week.