Alpaca Facts

  • Alpacas are members of the Camelid family, along with llamas, vicunas, guanacos and camels.
     

  • They are bred primarily for their luxurious fiber, which was once reserved for Incan royalty.
     

  • Two types of alpacas: Huacayas (thick dense crimpy fleece giving them a soft teddy bear like appearance) and Suris (long silky fleece that hangs down in dreadlocks).
     

  • These gentle gregarious animals are native to South America (Andean Mountain range) and are able to adapt to a variety of climates.
     

  • Alpacas were first imported into the United States in 1984.
     

  • Alpacas weigh between 150-200 pounds, and stand approximately 36 inches tall at their withers.
     

  • Alpacas have soft padded feet with two toes, which minimizes their impact on the land.
     

  • Like other ruminants, they lack upper incisor teeth, and chew their cud.
     

  • Females can be bred once they reach 2 years of age, or at least 75% of their body weight. After an 11 month gestation period, they give birth to a single baby, called a cria. (Twins are very rare). An alpacas life span is ~20 years.

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Alpaca Information

Investing in Alpacas ~ a lucrative rewarding lifestyle!

 

The first time people meet an alpaca they are often captivated by their gentle demeanor, curious nature, pleasant humming, warm dark eyes and the touch of their silky soft fleece. Yet beyond their charming nature and ability to evoke a smile from anyone, alpacas offer a chance at a unique and successful lifestyle.

 

Owning alpacas provides many tax benefits, including capital gains and the ability to depreciate your herd each year. With the instability of the  stock market, many investors looking for a more secure way to invest their money, are turning to alpacas.  Investing in alpacas offers people a more serene lifestyle with the potential to generate substantial income. Similar to other small businesses, alpaca farmers can usually write off an array of expenses including internet service, trailer registration, cell phones, snow removal to their barn, veterinary fees, hay delivery, show fees, stud fees, fencing, farm equipmet, marketing costs and much more.  

 

Some city-dwelling buyers opt to agist (board) their alpacas at a farm for a small fee. Many breeders initially invest in a small start up herd consisting of 2-4 females and a male. Other buyers are focused on developing a fiber herd, consisting of several neutered males. Either way, because alpacas are herd animals, they should not be kept alone.

 

Alpacas require minimal effort to raise and care for. Up to ten alpacas can live comfortably on one acre of land. Their diet consists of hay and fresh water, although many owners supplement their alpacas' diet with grain, minerals and vitamins, depending on the alpacas’ individual needs. Secure fencing is imperative (to protect them from predators) and alpacas require a three sided shed for shelter from the wind, rain and sun. Depending on where you live, alpacas may require annual vacinations and routine deworming medicine. As their teeth and toe nails grow, they will need to be trimmed. Alpacas are generally shorn once a year, in the spring.