Below is a collection of questions we’ve answered about everything Alpaca. If you have a specific question that is not answered below, send us a message.
What is an alpaca?
Alpacas come from the Camelid family. People seem to get them confused with llamas. The Alpaca is a lot smaller than a camel or llama, and their fleece is superior to the larger camelid’s & wool. It is believed to be hypoallergenic, meaning it won’t irritate your skin like wool. It contains no lanolin.
How long do alpacas live?
The alpaca lifespan is approximately 18-20 years.
Is it okay to have just 1 alpaca?
Alpacas are herd animals, which means they are happier around other alpacas. You should never keep just one- two or three of the same gender is best.
Are they easy to care for?
Definitely. We decided to get into the Alpaca business because of their low maintenance. We feed them twice a day; only a half cup of grain & keep hay available all the time. They have communal dung piles, so it is easier to clean up after them.
Are alpacas dangerous?
Alpacas are very docile animals. They only have teeth on the lower part of their mouth, so they cannot “bite” you. They are very gentle & fascinated with children. They don’t have horns and their feet are soft pads, like a canine with toenails.
How much space is needed to raise alpacas?
It takes approximately an acre of land to raise 2-8 alpacas- however, that all depends on pasture, water, etc. They can be raised on a dry lot & fed only hay, but they love to graze.
Are alpacas clean?
Yes, very! As mentioned earlier, they share communal dung piles, so it is easy to clean up after them. They are much cleaner than most other livestock- they have minimal aroma and don’t tend to attract as many flies in the summer time as other forms of livestock.
What is their preferred climate?
Alpacas prefer spring & fall, like most humans- heat is definitely not their favorite weather. In order to bear the heat, we keep fresh water available & fans going all summer. Additionally, we hose them down with cool water if the temperature reaches 90 degrees or above. They enjoy cold weather, however not rain. To help with the conditions, we furnish shelters for all of the alpacas.
Do alpacas make noise?
Alpacas do an occasional “hum” at each other. They also click at each other too. It is amazing to see new mothers clicking to their young cria babies. They also have an alarm call when they see they perceive to be a danger. When they do that, it is one calling and the rest gather around to watch the dangerous interloper (bunny, fox, etc.).
Do they spit?
Alpacas usually only spit at each other or when food is involved (everyone wants to be the first to be fed!). The males spit at each other during a squabble occasionally. It is not to say that they do not spit at humans, but usually it is crossfire between other alpacas.
Does birthing require human assistance?
Alpacas have been having crias in the wild for centuries, but we like to be on-hand just in case the mother runs into any difficulties. We both have been through “birthing” classes. They usually have them during the daylight hours. It is amazing to watch & see the cria standing within 60-90 minutes after they are born. They also nurse as soon as they can figure out where the food is for usually 4 months after its birth.
What’s the purpose of owning an alpaca?
The most important purpose of raising alpacas is for quality fleece. They are sheared once a year, usually in May, and they grow their fleece before shearing. We skirt (clean) the fleece here on the farm and send it to a mill to be transformed into yarn, battings, rugs, or rug yarn- all of which is for sale at our farm’s store.
What does a “registered” alpaca mean?
When it comes to selling an alpaca, lineage is a heavy determining factor in value. All of our alpacas are nationally registered with their blood line tracing back to their countries of origin, which can be Bolivia, Chile, or Peru.