ADELL-- About 16 years ago a Wisconsin dairy farmer traded in his last cows for llamas and hasn’t looked back.
Larry Laux, his wife Barb and adult children are now known world-wide as having raised some of the best show llamas in North America. In a room in the barn where the calves were once born, they have setup a trophy room lined wall-to-wall with ribbons and trophies. Some of the prizes are associated with thousands of dollars in prize money.
“As you can see by our pile we haven't had the time or place to put more,” said Laux as he stands admiring his awards. “We need a bigger room I guess.”
Laux said llamas were great for his family because the price of being a dairy farm was on the rise. He said to raise llamas all that was needed was the pasture space.
“[Raising them] is so much fun and you don't have to milk them twice a day,” Laux said. “They're the easiest animals to take care of because they require less feed than a goat does.”
Though Barb will call most of the animals by name and treat them more like pets, Larry looks at the llamas in a more business-like way-- and the business of showing llamas is good.
“We won't even take a best animals with us,” Laux joked. “We would take what I would call our ‘B-team’ and then we would still clean house with our ‘B-team’ at some shows.”
Laux and his family also grow pumpkins on their farm, and run a full harvest festival complete with a corn maze beginning in mid-late September. The llamas are part of the experience.