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Alpaca Facts

Physical Facts:

Life span:
About 18-20 years; average

Height:
3 feet at the shoulder and 4.5 feet at the head.

Average weight:
Adult, 150-185 lbs. Baby,
16-20 lbs at birth.

Average gestation:
11 months.

Birth:
A baby is normally delivered without human assistance during morning daylight
hours. Twinning is extremely rare. The babies (called crias) are normally up
and nursing within 90 minutes. They are weaned at 6 months.

Reproduction:
Females are first bred when they are about 14-18 months of age and once they reach 90 - 100 pounds in weight. Alpacas are induced ovulators and can be bred at any time of the year.

Color:
Fiber colors range from a true non fading black to brilliant white with roans, pintos, browns, reds, fawns, rose grays, Silver grays, and many others.

Fiber Production:
The average production is about 4 lbs. per year per adult alpaca and sells
(in a clean state) for about $3 to $6 per ounce. Shearing is recommended every 1-2 years depending on climate.

Health:
Alpacas are very hardy, healthy, and easy to care for. In most cases you will only have your Vet out twice a year for shots and other maintenance procedures (depends on your area, ask your Vet).

Frequently Asked Questions

What are they used for?
They are used for breeding stock, fiber producers, pets, light pack animals, therapy, and investments.

Are they intelligent?
Alpacas are intelligent and easy to train. In just 4-5 repetitions they will pick up and retain many skills such as accepting a halter, being led, and loading in and out of a vehicle.

Who do you sell their fiber to?
Handspinners, yarn shops, and weavers are the major market for clean alpaca fiber. They love all the various colors of alpaca.

What and how much do they eat?

Alpacas are ruminants with three compartment stomachs. They chew their cud like cattle and sheep. They are very efficient and only eat 2-3 bales of grass hay per month. In most cases, they require mineral supplements (ask your Vet).

Where can they be raised?

In almost any climate. In very hot climates, yearly shearing is required along with misting or sprinklers and shade. In very cold climates, closed barns are recommended. In most climates, a 3-sided shelter is all that is required.

What is their personality like?
Alpacas are very gentle and curious. They are social animals and can be pleasantly dependent on humans. With a little training they become great pets. Alpacas will occasionally spit at each other when they are competing for food or trying to establish their pecking order. Alpacas will not spit at people unless they have been abused by people.

What sounds do they make?

Alpacas communicate with a series of ear and tail positions and body postures as well as a humming sound and a shrill alarm call when threatened by predators.

How can they be transported?
They can be transported in a small station wagon (Subaru has been used) or Suv's for short trips of an hour or so. They require larger vehicles such as a minivan, full size van, small trailer, horse trailer, or large truck depending on how many and how far you are transporting them.

Updated December 11, 2015