FAQ

FAQ

What is an Alpaca?

Alpacas are in the Camelid family, so they are cousins to the llama, camel and vicuna. They have been in the U.S. since the mid-1980′s and there are currently about 45,000 alpacas in the United States. Alpacas are bred for their high quality fleece, as show animals and for companionship. They have a range of 22 natural colors and are disease resistant. Alpacas produce one of the world’s most luxurious natural fibers, soft as cashmere and lighter, stronger and four times warmer than wool. It is enjoyed by spinners and weavers and is...

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Where do Alpacas come from?

Alpacas are native to South America, and were first imported into the United States in 1984 from Chile, Bolivia and Peru. They are now being successfully raised and bred here, and importing from South America is prohibited.

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Are Alpacas safe?

Yes, alpacas are safe, as they have no incisors, hoofs, horns or claws. They are very friendly and inquisitive, and like to be near you, but they do not always want to be petted or held. Many children are involved in showing alpacas at fairs and shows.

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What do Alpacas eat?

Alpacas, like cows and deer, are ruminants. This means they chew cud. The eat hay, or pasture grass, and enjoy eating leaves after they have fallen to the ground! Many alpaca owners also supplement with a grain made especially for alpacas, to ensure a proper balance of vitamins and minerals.

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How big are Alpacas?

Alpacas are approximately 36 inches tall at the withers, and on average weigh about 150 pounds. Some owners transport two alpacas in the back of their minivan.

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How long do Alpacas live?

Alpacas live, on average, 15-20 years.

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What kinds of Alpacas are there?

There are two types of alpacas, the Suri (sir-ee), and the Huacaya (wa-kye-ya). They differ in outward appearance, and in the qualities of their fleece. 90% of the alpacas in the world are huacayas, 10% are suris.

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Do Alpacas make noise?

Alpacas communicate by making a soft humming noise.

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How difficult is it to care for an Alpaca?

Alpacas are relatively easy to care for. They are small, rarely overeat, and are generally healthy! We feed our alpacas once in the morning and once in the evening, and make sure they always have fresh water. It will cost about $125-$250 a year, per alpaca, for feed. They also need some type of simple shelter, and fencing. A herd of alpacas consolidates its droppings in one or two spots in the pasture, controlling the spread of parasites and making it easy to collect and compost for fertilizer.

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Do I need a large farm to raise Alpacas?

No. You can raise up to 10 alpacas on one acre of land. You can also agist (board) your animals. The usual cost is $2-$3 per day for excellent daily care and professional vet services.

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Do Alpacas get diseases?

Alpacas are generally healthy animals and rarely need medical intervention other than routine shots and worming.

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What about Alpaca babies?

An alpaca baby is called a cria (cree-ah). They weigh about 15-20 pounds at birth. They generally have little problems delivering, and often deliver during the day. The gestation period is approximately 11.5 months long, and rebreeding can take place within weeks of the cria’s birth. Twins are extremely rare. Female alpacas can first be bred between 12 -18 months old. Males mature at a slower rate, and are not usually fertile until at least 18 months, and some take as long as 3 years. Females have a reproductive life of 15 – 20 year

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Are alpacas insurable?

Yes, alpacas can be fully insured against loss, which protects your investment.

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How much do Alpacas cost?

Many factors affect the price of an alpaca. Age, sex, quantity, color, fleece quality and conformation all will affect the price. Females will generally sell for more than males, although herdsire quality males will demand the highest individual prices. The current range for breeding females is between $10,000 and $40,000. Young, unproven stud prospects will sell for between $7,500 and $25,000. An exceptional alpaca stud recently sold for $226,000. Pet quality animals sell for $500-$1,500.

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Why invest in Alpacas?

Alpacas are considered the world’s finest livestock investment. You are investing in a commodity that has strong current demand and incredible potential demand, is insurable and offers numerous tax advantages. Breeding stock prices have remained relatively stable since the beginning of importation in the mid-1980′s. Because of the scarce supply, marketing efforts have been limited, and we have not even begun to create the potential demand for alpacas and alpaca fiber products. Alpacas are no longer imported from South America, so...

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