Alpaca FAQs

Are alpacas easy to look after?
Yes. They are small and easy livestock to maintain. Basic shelter is required to provide them with protection from heat in the summer and freezing temperatures and winds in the winter. High fences are a good idea to keep predators out. Alpacas do not challenge fences. To make pen cleanup easy, they have a common dung pile. Yearly vaccinations and de-worming are required.  An adult alpaca requires 2 or 3 small hay bales ( 50#) per month to maintain proper weight, health, and growth requirements.

Are alpacas pack animals?
Alpacas are too small in stature to be an efficient pack animal. They can carry a small child or light back pack. Heavier loads are meant for their larger cousins, the llama.
Do alpacas spit?
Certain alpacas in the herd will occasionally spit if startled or if they feel you are acting in a threatening manner, by directly making eye contact and advancing toward them. They may spit at one another during feeding when they are fighting for territory. Rarely do they spit at people.

What do you call an alpaca?
Baby alpacas are called cria. Weaned cria are called weanlings or tuis. The spanish term for an adult male is ” macho”. Adult femles are called hembras.
Are alpacas smart animals?
Yes, very much so. They are very alert and quick to halter train. They constantly communicate with each other through body posture, tail and ear movements and sounds. The most commonly heard sound is their humming. You may also hear a screeching sound from them, which is their warning call.

How do you transport alpacas?
Alpacas travel very well. They are small enough to be moved in a mini van, station wagon, utility trailer or horse trailer. Once you are moving they lie down which is called cushing. For longer trips it is important to provide good bedding and stops every 3 – 4 hours to allow them to drink and feed, especially if their are cria on board. On trips lasting several days, allowing them out of the trailer occasionally for exercise, is very beneficial for their well being.

What do alpacas eat?
Alpacas are very easy keepers. They eat approximately two square bales of hay per month per animal in areas of the country that experience colder winter climates. During the summer season they graze on grassland. A mineral supplement should be provided on daily basis. It is important that they always have an adequate supply of fresh water.

How much land is required to raise alpacas?
Alpacas are ideal for small acreage’s. Four or five alpacas can be easily grazed on one acre of land. This makes it possible for small acreage owners to own alpacas and enjoy a healthy investment opportunity.

Why do you raise alpacas?
Alpacas make excellent companions and their aesthetic appeal makes them great show animals. They are easily halter trained, and gentle enough to be handled by children. They are simply the most lovable animal on this earth.

What are alpacas used for?
Alpacas provide an excellent investment opportunity and the most luxurious fiber in the world. The fleece, compared to cashmere, is noted for fineness, light weight and luster, and makes the finest garments known. Alpaca textiles are recognized world wide.

At this stage of the alpaca industry, an alpaca price is directly related to its breeding potential and the potential in the quality of its offspring.

A castrated male has no breeding potential, therefore its value may be $500. A high quality breeding male with numerous good quality progeny on the ground has a very high breeding potential and can be worth many thousands of dollars. 

Income is provided by breeding the females and selling the offspring. Female prices are a reflection of quality, age, breeding history and to which herd sire she is presently mated. Breeding plans should allow for the depreciation of the older females by increases in the quality and value of the offspring. Female alpacas can be worth anywhere from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.