Warm Fuzzies Live Here...
- Alpacas are part of the
Camelid Group including Camels, Llamas, Alpacas, Guanacos and
- Alpacas are native to the
Andes Mountains of South America, primarily Peru, Bolivia, and
- They were first imported to
the United States from Bolivia in 1984.
- They have been domesticated
for over 5000 years.
- The finest alpaca fleece was
reserved for the Incan Royalty and has been known as “The Fiber
of the Gods”.
- The ARI, The Alpaca Registry,
Inc., was formed in 1989 and maintains a registry of pedigrees
through DNA testing.
- There are two types of
alpacas: Huacaya, pronounced wah-ki-yah and Suri, pronounced
- Huacaya fiber is dense,
crimpy, and gives a wooly appearance.
- Suri fiber is silky and
resembles pencil-like locks.
- An average life span is 20
- Average weight for an
adult alpaca is 150-170 pounds.
- Average height is 36
inches at the withers.
- They have padded feet
(like a dog) with two toes.
- They have teeth on their
bottom jaw and a hard dental pad on top for grinding their
- They are semi-ruminants,
have three stomach compartments and chew a cud.
- They are alert,
intelligent, and curious.
- They are social animals
and require at least one companion.
- They communicate by
humming and an array of other vocal noises along with body
- They do spit---at each
other---another form of communication, usually at feeding
time to determine position.
- Average gestation is
They have single births—twinning is rare.
- A baby alpaca is
called a cria (cree-ah)
- Females are generally
ready to breed at18-24 months.
- Males are generally
ready to breed at 2-3 years.
- Females are induced
ovulators, which means breeding stimulates ovulation.
- Usually bred for
spring and fall babies
- Females usually give
birth during daylight hours (6am to 3pm).
Care and Maintenance
- Alpacas are easy
keepers, requiring pasture, good grass hay, and
- A three-sided
shelter is enough protection from the elements.
- They need routine
nail trimming, de-worming, and sometimes teeth
- Fencing is more to
keep predators out, not alpacas in, as they do have
a respect for fences. They do, however, love open
- They are shorn
once yearly, usually in the spring or early summer
in our part of the country. They will then be cool
for the summer months and grow back enough fleece by
the time cooler weather returns.
- They use a common
dung pile, which makes clean up easier. The manure
is great fertilizer and does not burn, so can be
used right from the animals to the flowerbed and
An alpaca (Lama pacos) is a South
American member of the camel family, Camelidae (order Artiodactyla),
that is closely related to the llama, guanaco, and vicuña, which are
known collectively as lamoids. The alpaca and the llama were both
apparently domesticated several thousand years ago by the Indians of
the Andes Mountains of South America.