Why raise alpacas?

CharlotteAlpacas are a good choice for people with a limited amount of land and are interested in a non-slaughter livestock choice. Alpacas are very gentle and easy to handle even by small children. They are quite and produce little offensive odor to bother your neighbors. They make communal dung piles in the pasture, which makes cleanup parasite control easier than with other livestock.Finally, a small herd of alpacas is easy for one person to take care of and their friendly dispositions make them a joy to keep.

What are alpacas?

Alpacas are a domesticated member of the camelid family and are originally from central South America. As such they are related to Llamas and camels. The alpaca fiber was at one time reserved for Inca royalty. Today, luxurious alpaca fleece is much sought after in the fashion industry as well as by artisan spinners and weavers. The fiber is hypoallergenic, finer than cashmere, and comes in twenty-two basic colors.The adult males are called Machos and the females are called Hembras. The babies are called Crias. The females have a gestation period of eleven to twelve months. The lifespan of alpacas is believed to be between sixteen to twenty years.There are two kinds of alpacas, huacaya and suri. The huacaya have crimpy, fluffy fleece while the suri has fleece that is straight and appears to hang in elegant dread locks. Both huacaya and suri adults will weigh between 120to 190lbs.Alpacas are herd animals and would prefer the company of their own kind. A good size herd to start with is three animals. Alpacas are very easy on pastures. Because they have no upper teeth, but a hard upper palate, they will clip grass rather than pull it up by the roots. They also don’t have hoofs that tear up turf, but instead a padded foot with nails similar to a dog.

What do they eat?

Alpacas are browsers. They enjoy eating grass, hay, and some leaves. A small amount of grain and a balanced mineral supplement will keep them quite happy. Because they came from the high Andes in South America, they have become very efficient at digesting their food. They eat less than any other farm animal. Here in Virginia we can keep between seven to ten animals per acre and still have to mow grass in the summer. It costs less to feed an alpaca than it does to feed a medium size dog.

Do they spit?

Yes, alpacas will spit. This is often misunderstood since alpacas generally only spit at other animals as a warning. People who have been spat on have generally been caught in the crossfire meant for another animal. At any rate it will only hurt your pride and it will wash off!

Alpaca information video

To learn more, watch our video by clicking on this link: http://www.impactmovie.com/alpacas_nl/