Here are some of most frequently asked questions about alpacas and their answers:
What is an alpaca?
Alpacas are rare, exotic animals imported from countries in South America and raised primarily for their fiber. Alpacas produce between three to seven pounds of fine alpaca fiber each year similar in quality to angora and cashmere. Alpaca farms breed alpacas for sale, for their alpaca fiber, for alpaca clothing, and even for pets. They are related to llamas, but they are smaller, and generally produce more and softer fur (called fiber). Alpacas have straight ears, while llamas have very distinctively curved, banana-shaped ears.
Are alpacas friendly? (Do they SPIT?)
Alpacas can learn to be very friendly to humans from close contact and training. They can spit like llamas, but generally do not spit at people. They spit at each other when fussing over shared food.
Why raise alpacas?
An alpaca herd has a bit of the exotic magic and appeal of the Incas and the Peruvian Andes mountains.
We chose not to raise animals for slaughter. And among the fiber animals, alpacas are some of the most profitable to breed. And their fleece is exquisite, comparable to angora and cashmere.
How much do alpacas cost?
Registered, breeding-quality alpacas generally cost from $7,000 to $35,000 dollars each, averaging around $20,000. Remember that their offspring sell for that much, too. That's why breeding them can be so profitable.
How much land do they need to live on?
Alpacas consume much less hay than the same number of horses and cows; they are much smaller. They will be very comfortable with one or two alpacas per acre.
How do you raise an alpaca (raising alpacas)?
Alpacas should be put on a schedule of routine, periodic vaccinations and worming medications. Most alpaca farmers provide a shelter from the winter storms and the summer sun. They need hay year-round that is normally supplemented with a grain and salt minerals. Here is an excellent article on the details of exactly what and how much to feed: What do Alpacas Eat?
There are several books available on all aspects of caring for alpacas from neonatal care to veterinary practices to setting up your farm. There are many informational organizations and Web sites. Check out our page of alpaca breeders resources.
How do you market alpacas?
Alpacas are marketed through bulk mail, through the Internet, through Alpacas' Magazine, state fairs, 4H events, alpaca shows and competitions, and craft shows. The national Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association (AOBA) provides mailing lists, marketing materials, training in marketing, and they market alpacas on national media such as cable television, providing marketing support to the industry as a whole.
For more information, visit our page of informative alpaca articles.
Beckman Consulting LLC doing business as Phantom
Ron and Liz Beckman, Managers
Phone: (719) 784-4544,
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