Alpaca Link:

Anropa Farms (shearing)
Dancing Leaf Farm
Serenity Alpacas
Pleasant Springs Farm
Mount Airy Alpaca Co. LLC.


WHAT IS AN ALPACA?

Alpacas are members of the South American Camelid Family.  This family is comprised of the vicuna, guanaco, llama and alpaca.  Unlike the llamas, which were primarily used as pack animals in South America, alpacas were raised for their cashmere-like fiber, once reserved for Incan royalty.  They have been domesticated for over 5,000 years.  Alpacas and llamas are native to the Andean Mountain Range of South American and are primarily found in Bolivia, Chile and Peru.   The number of countries importing alpacas is growing and includes Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.  Alpacas are often raised as an alternative to sheep farming.

There are two types of alpacas, both of which are represented in the United States, the Huacaya and Suri.  The Huacaya's fiber has a wavy or crimped appearance while the Suri's fiber hangs in uniform locks.  

These animals are extremely gentle and calm with an intriguing inner struggle between curiosity and shyness.  It is truly fascinating to watch them interact with each other with their expressive body language and humming.  They have a soothing, serene manner that is positively contagious.  With their soft, luxurious coats and fascinating personalities, alpacas are gaining popularity among those who want an animal that is easy to care for and offers a good investment.

ALPACA DIET AND CARE
Alpacas are grazers and like cattle, they chew their cud.  They have a split upper lip which prevents them from damaging the vegetation's roots.  They require good quality hay (primarily grasses) supplemented with grain and mineral mixes to meet their proper nutritional requirements.

Like llamas, they have communal dung piles, that is, they defecate in fixed areas which makes clean-up easy.  Alpacas will avoid grazing these areas thus keeping parasite infestation low.  They are on strict deworming programs and require annual boosters of certain vaccinations. 

ALPACA FACTS

LIFESPAN 15-25 years
AVERAGE
HEIGHT
36 " at the withers
AVERAGE
WEIGHT
100 - 175 pounds
AVERAGE
GESTATION
335 days
BIRTH 15-19 pounds
Babies can often stand and nurse within 30 minutes.

COLOR

Alpacas usually come in solid colors. There are 22 basic colors with many variations and blends

Alpacas are the source of luxurious fiber.  The fleece, comparable to cashmere is known for its fineness, lightweight, and luster.  Alpaca textiles are recognized worldwide.

Alpacas make excellent companion animals, and are also show animals.  They are easily trained to lead and are gentle enough to be handled by children. 

They are amazingly alert and communicate with each other through body posture, tail and ear movements, and a variety of sounds.  The sound heard most often is a soft humming.

Alpacas are small and easy to maintain.  They should have basic shelter for protection against heat and foul weather.