ALPACA INFO - FAQ

  • What are alpacas?
    Alpacas are members of the camelid family. They are relatives of camels, llamas, guanacos and are descended from vicunas. The vicuna has the finest fiber in the world.

  • How big are alpacas?
    They are a small and relatively easy livestock to maintain. They stand about 36” at the withers and weigh between 100 – 200 lbs. (The llama weighs between 200 – 400 lbs. for comparison)

  • How long do they live?
    Alpaca’s live approximately 20 years. Females can be bred when they approach 14 months old or are over 100 lbs. They have 11.5 month gestation and give birth to one baby alpaca known as a ‘cria’ per year.

  • How often do they have babies and how many at a time?
    Females can be bred when they approach 14 months old or are over 100 lbs. They have 11.5 month gestation and give birth to one baby alpaca known as a ‘cria’ per year.

  • What colors do they come in?
    Alpaca fiber comes in a great variety of natural colors – some 22 distinguishable colors in all! From white, fawn, brown, grey, and black with beautiful shades in between that display a virtual rainbow blend of colors.

  • What do you raise them for?
    The alpaca’s end product is their rare luxurious fleece. It is a renewable fiber that grows 3”-6” annually. It is usually shorn in the spring time and then processed into yarn and finished garments.

  • What is special about their fiber/wool?
    Alpaca fiber is stronger and more resilient than the finest sheep’s wool, and warmer than wool for the same weight. It is prized for its unique silky feel.

  • How hardy are they?
    Alpacas are very hardy and require minimal shelter and protection from heat and foul weather. A three sided shelter with a simple shed roof is sufficient. Fencing with a 4’ high field or ‘no climb’ fence is adequate to keep them penned and protected from most predators such as dogs or coyotes.

  • How much room do they need?
    Alpacas can be raised 5-10 per acre if adequate pasture is available or they can be raised on a ‘dry’ lot and fed grass hay if desired. A single 60 lb. bale of hay will feed approx. 20 alpacas per day! As a comparison, a horse will eat approx. a half bale of hay per day!

  • How much do they eat and how much do they cost to raise?
    Routine alpaca care is simple: Besides hay, alpacas are fed approx. 1 cup of grain each day to provide vitamin supplements, and they need access to water. They need a regular dose of medication to control parasites, 2-3 times a year trimming of toe nails, and an annual shearing of their fiber. They cost about $1.00 each per day to maintain!

  • What are their personalities like?
    Alpacas are gentle, intelligent, and curious social animals that communicate with each other through body posturing of the head, neck, tail etc. They also produce a gentle humming sound.

  • How do you transport them?
    Alpacas are easily transported; they can be easily moved in a Mini-Van for short distances or moved cross country with livestock trailers.

  • How do you keep track of your animals?
    Alpacas are DNA blood tested to insure pedigree and are registered with the Alpaca Registry Inc. They are issued a Registry Certificate that is treated as a Title document for ownership. There is an Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association that exists to support the growth of the alpaca market.