What is an
How to Start
List of a few things necessary for the care of alpacas.
Land - Alpacas are hardy and adaptive, making
the selection of suitable property relatively easy. In most areas
you can keep about 5-10 alpacas per acre depending on irrigation,
forage, etc. Alpacas are "browsers" and will sample almost anything
that is growing. It is important to be sure that your land is
free of toxic plants.
Shelter - for most climates a three sided loafing
shed will give them protection from strong winds, rain and snow.
Colder climates might need a closed barn. Make sure you provide
shades for those hot summer days. Alpacas always enjoy a wading pool or sprinkler in summer.
Fencing - most alpaca breeders prefer 5 foot
no-climb fence. Since alpacas rarely challenge a fence, its primary
purpose is to keep predators out. Domestic dogs are one of the
largest contributors to lost alpacas.
Feed - grass, hay, grain will do. Each alpaca will consume 1-2 pounds of hay
a day, depending on pasture. Free choice mineral supplements are
necessary in many areas. Prepared feeds are also used by some
alpaca farms. They should have fresh drinking water all times.
Veterinary care - vaccinations, worming and annual
health checks are generally all that is required. Veterinary care
should always be done in conjunction with the advice of a licensed
veterinarian. An experienced alpaca vet is a valuable friend.
Treat them well. Fortunately, most common procedures and first
aide can be done by the alpaca owner. Your worming routine and
medication should be worked out with your vet. Alpacas should
be vaccinated 1-2 times a year, dewormed 2 to 12 times per year depending on your area.
Cleaning - Alpacas have communal dung piles (they
all "go" in the same place) – easy to clean up just by using a rake. Their manure makes
very good fertilizer – better than any other livestock.
Shearing - alpacas are sheared once a year. A
good set of shears - manual or electric - will last a lifetime for the small alpaca farm.
If you prefer, shearers are available to hire.
Grooming - Alpacas will need their toenails trimmed
1-4 times a year depending on the terrain. Their teeth might need to be cut occasionaly. Their fleece should not be brushed.
Scales - Cria scales are a necessity. Scales
to weigh your adult alpacas are a plus.
Books - for general information or health issues,
keep some books around for easy reference. Check out our bookshelf
for recommended books.
How do you get started?
To contact us regarding investments in Alpacas, please feel free to call us at 541-862-9933.