- Alpacas are clean and intelligent. They make outstanding fibre producers, pets and companions.
- Alpacas are beautiful and unusual animals to keep.
- Alpacas are indigenous to the high Andes of the South American countries of Peru, Bolivia and Chile. There are now about 35,000 in the U.K.
- Alpacas are quiet, peaceful animals, and make soft humming sounds to communicate.
- Alpacas come in a variety of colours, including white, black, brown. grey, and any combination of these colours.
- Alpacas are easy to raise, can be handled by anyone and are safe around children.
- Alpacas are extremely hardy and adaptable to most climates, altitudes and conditions.
- Alpacas get along well with goats, sheep, donkeys, horses, cats and family dogs.
- Alpaca adults weigh an average of 125 to 175 lbs. They live 15-25 years.
- Alpacas require little space. Half an acre is fine for 2 or 3 alpacas and a 4 foot field fence makes an adequate enclosure. Shelter is necessary, but good hedges or tree shelter may sometimes be preferable to a field shelter.
- Alpacas eat mainly grass in summer, and hay in winter, plus supplements, depending on the conditions. It is advisable to give a specially formulated vitamin and mineral mix, such as Camelibra, daily.
- Alpacas are usually bred at 18 to 24 months of age. Their gestation period is 11 to 11.5 months. Only one cria is born usually.
- Alpacas make cleaning the paddock easy, as they ‘go’ in only a few spots.
- Alpaca droppings are practically odourless, are low in nitrogen and make excellent manure.
- Alpacas are easily transported in a van or trailer. They usually lie down in transit.
- Alpacas produce fine, light, warm, strong fibre for spinning. Fibre can sell for £1 per 30gm. An alpaca will produce about 2 – 3 kilos of fibre per year.
- Alpacas very rarely spit at people, but they may argue, for example over food, and spit at each other!
- Alpaca prices start at approximately £350 for young males for fibre, and £3,000 for premium females.