Just the Facts
a member of the camelid family and are close relatives to camels, llamas, vicunas, and guanacos. There are two types of alpacas:
the Huacaya (wa-kai-a) which is the most common type of Alpaca with a dense and highly crimped fleece that stands straight
off of the body much like a sheep and the Suri (sur-ry) which has a longer staple length and has fiber which is straighter
with less crimp and is soft and lustrous.Alpacas are charming, curious, friendly and playful; sometimes goofy and always unique. They need the company
of other alpacas and thrive on routine. The herd shares one or two communal dung piles, so daily clean-up is easy. They communicate
through soft humming and occasional spitting. One or two alpacas usually serve as leaders and will sound an alarm call, very
much like a car alarm, when they sense danger.
Alpacas weigh 140 to 200 pounds with a head height around 5 feet, the perfect height for
hugs and kisses. They have padded feet with toenails so they are earth friendly. They gently clip grass with lower front teeth
against a hard upper palate and they chew cud. Males mature at 24-36 months. Females are ready to breed
at 15-24 months. Gestation is 11½ months with single births. Ovulation is induced at breeding and females are ready
to be re-bred about 18 days after delivery.
Alpaca fiber is luxuriously soft, several times warmer and stronger than wool, and hypo-allergenic.
It comes in 22 natural colors and can easily be dyed. The fleece is shorn once a year, yielding 5 to 10 pounds per animal.
Alpaca fleece is wonderful to work with or can be sold to local spinners, co-ops and mills. Alpaca
is the natural choice for today’s eco-conscious consumer, creating luxurious yarns, scarves, hats, socks, sweaters or
need little space (5 -7 per acre) and minimal shelter from wind and rain. Small feedings of a daily grain supplement, access
to pasture (and/or hay), minerals and fresh water satisfy their nutritional needs. Occasional nail trimming and parasite control
is needed for their basic routine care.