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.
|36 " at the withers
|100 - 175 pounds
Babies can often stand and nurse within 30 minutes.
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
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