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Measurements of the bodyweight and other physical characteristics of 11 llamas (Lama glama) from birth to weaning
  1. A. Riek, Dr1 and
  2. M. Gerken, Prof, Dr1
  1. 1 Institute of Animal Breeding and Genetics, University of Goettingen, Albrecht-Thaer-Weg 3, 37075 Goettingen, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Dr Riek


The bodyweight (bw), thoracic circumference, length and height of 11 llamas were recorded weekly from birth for 27 weeks. Their mean (sd) birth weight was 11·60 (2·35) kg and their weight increased in curvilinear fashion reaching 61·05 (13·75) kg after 27 weeks. Their average daily gains reached the highest value three weeks after birth and then decreased, reaching the lowest value of 262 g per day at 27 weeks. On a metabolic bw0·83 basis, the growth of the llamas when their dams were at peak lactation was comparable with that of calves, fawns and lambs. All the measurements were significantly affected by the age, but not by the sex of the young or the parity of the dam. The regression models chosen to predict the bodyweight and weight gain of the llamas yielded R2 ranging from 0·97 to 0·99. Correlations between bodyweight and other single body measurements were between r=0·68 and 0·77. Single or combined body measurements were good predictors of bodyweight, but additional body measurements added little to the already good fit provided by a single measurement (R2 ranging from 0·93 to 0·98). The thoracic circumference (R2=0·98) and length (R2=0·96) were good predictors of the bodyweight of the llamas between birth and 27 weeks old.

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