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Alpaca Facts


Alpacas are members of the camelid family.

They are native to:

South Americas Andes Mountains – Chile, Peru and Bolivia.


Llamas, Vicunas and Guanacos are the other three camelid family

members that originated from South America.


Alpacas were imported into the United States from late 1983 for about fifteen years.




Alpacas are fiber-producing animals.


Llamas were raised as beasts of burden and used for carrying loads.


One might consider alpacas to be “South American” sheep.


There are two types of alpacas:

The Huacaya (wah-KI-ah): soft, crimpy fiber – teddy bear look!

The Suri (sir-e’): little or no crimp that hangs down in beautiful

pencil locks with luster and shine.


Alpacas are a very intelligent, gentle, docile, curious, yet timid animal.


They can easily be trained to lead and do obstacles.


An Alpaca averages 150-170 lb. and stands about 36” at the withers,

 making them easy to handle.


They live an average of 20 years of age.


Alpacas are herd-oriented animals and can get stressed

or despondent and lonely if alone.


Since the Alpacas are environmentally-friendly, you can put 5-10 on

one acre, contingent on fencing, layout, terrain, etc…


They make a humming noise which is very relaxing to their owners.


Do they spit?

In defense – they can also stomp with their front feet

as a way of defense as well.

Also, when eating at the feed trough they will spit

at one another as they consider it “their food”.


Do they bite?

No! They only have bottom teeth.


Do they kick?

Sometimes! They will when approached or touched from behind – but the soft,

padded feet usually don’t hurt, but it will get your attention!


Clean up is very easy, as they are very clean animals in that

they all go in one spot – a “poop pile”.


Alpaca manure makes a great fertilizer for gardens!


A baby Alpaca is called a cria (cre-a).


The father is called a sire; the mother is called a dam.


The female can be bred at 18-24 months of age and

will carry the baby for 11-12 months.


Females are induced ovulators and will have 12-14 cria in a lifetime

giving birth to a single cria – twins are rare, only 1 in 10,000.


Delivery occurs during daylight hours.


A cria weighs between 15-20 lbs and is standing within the first hour,

and nursing within the second hour.


At about three weeks after giving birth the female can be re-bred


A cria is with their mother for 6 months before it is weaned.


Alpacas can be fully insured for theft and mortality. 


All our alpacas are registered with the Alpaca Registry, so therefore

they are all named, and yes we know all their names!


Each alpaca has a microchip as a means of identification.




Alpaca fiber is one of the world’s very finest and natural materials.


Baby Alpaca is the finest classification of Alpaca fiber.


Thousands of years ago, Alpaca fiber was reserved for Inca royalty.


There are 22 natural color variations of Alpaca fiber, including white,

several shades of fawn, brown and gray, and true black.


Alpacas do not shed their fiber, but does get shorn once a year.


Shearing is done in the spring so they can keep cool in the summer.


They can grow fiber at a rate of up to 6” per year

and yields an average of 4-6 lb per year.


Compared to wool, it is many times warmer, softer and lightweight.


Alpaca can be as fine as cashmere and is similar to mohair in strength.


People who have wool based allergies will not be allergic to Alpaca.


Unlike sheep’s wool, Alpaca fiber does not contain lanolin (oil);

 therefore, it can be spun right off the animal.


Since Alpaca does not contain lanolin found in wool it allows for the

hypoallergenic nature of the fiber.

Lanolin holds dust and microscopic allergens

that create allergies to wool.


A strand of fiber, if looked at under a microscope, has a hollow core

which gives it powerful insulating value.


Since Alpaca fiber is hollow, it can breathe and is

comfortable for any season.


Alpaca fiber is smooth, unlike wool, and therefore feels less

prickly or itchy next to the skin.


Unlike Llama fiber, pure Alpaca fiber is free from coarse guard hairs.


We are members of the New England Alpaca Fiber Pool.

Each year we send a portion of our fleece to the co-op.  

As a member of the co-op we can purchase socks, gloves, scarves

and hats made from the member fiber to be sold in our on-site farm store.

A portion of the 3rds are sent to Texas to be made into sturdy woven rugs.

We also sell raw fleece, roving or yarn here at the farm store.




Alpacas are ruminants.


They have one stomach with three chambers.


Alpacas graze in pastures and are supplemented with orchard grass hay

which we raise here at the farm.


Rather than pulling grass out by the roots when grazing, Alpacas

bite off the tops and leave the roots to grow back again.


Alfalfa is discouraged, as it has a high protein content that

can be unhealthy for the alpacas.


We use a pellet form of food supplement to help them

get there needed vitamins and protein.


We also have a free-choice mineral mix they can choose at anytime.


Fresh, clean water is always important.


Automatic water bowls are great – they always have fresh water and

can be heated in the cold winter months to eliminate freezing.




Alpacas are native to the Andes Mountains at 10,000 – 12,000 feet.


Winter:  Shelter is needed for winter winds.


Summer:  Shelter is needed for shade.


Fans are also used to keep them cool.


Alpacas do not challenge fences.




Every 6-8 weeks – de-worming


As needed – trim toenails


Once a Year – immunization and rabies

- shearing


 Trimming teeth and fighting teeth when necessary.




Alpacas can be transported in a mini van for short distances.


For longer distances, a trailer is nice to have.


When in transit, the alpaca will “cush” (lay down)

when they feel movement.




Updated October 18, 2017