Ready to learn some great facts about our cute, fluffy alpaca friends? Let's get started!
Most frequent questions and answers about alpacas
Alpacas are members of the camelid family. They are descended from the vicuna.
Alpacas weigh between 110 – 190 pounds. Their average height is about 3 feet at the shoulder.
Alpacas originated from South America.
The average alpaca is pregnant 335 – 365 days.
Alpaca babies are called cria.
Alpacas usually have 1 cria at a time. Twins are very rare.
No. Alpacas are herd animals. You should have at least three alpacas living together. They can die from loneliness.
No. Intact males should be in their own separate pen away from females and cria.
No. The intact male can harm the cria. A male alpaca should be at least 3 years old before it is put in with a herdshire.
Llamas are much taller and heavier than alpacas. Llamas can reach weights of up to 440 pounds.
Yes, a cross between a llama and an alpaca is called a huarizo. Frankie and Abigail on our farm are huarizo. (Frankie is a true huarizo, Abigail is 3/4 alpaca, 1/4 llama).
Yes, they are able to spit. However they usually do not spit at humans.
Our alpacas are shorn once a year, usually in May.
Yes, shearing is very important as they do not shed their fleece. They can suffer heat stress if they are not shorn. Even alpacas that live in sanctuaries need to be shorn regularly.
Absolutely not! Alpacas get haircuts much like we humans do.
Shearing is very similar to someone getting a buzz cut at a barbershop. They are not hurt during the process. We would never let our babies get hurt. Here is a link to the Alpaca Owners Association explaining the importance of humanely shearing the alpacas. http://www.alpacainfo.com/news/5074/open-response-to-peta-claim-alpaca-wool-abuse?fbclid=IwAR37osWJ5JyrQG8WirX14Mv5bhWHgfFVnpIwz9h7bgLFp7aDq39Vfh5Fs0c
You all know how much we love all of our animals. The shearing of our alpacas is totally cruelty free.
The fiber is made into yarn and other finished products. You can view many of them on our website.
The average alpaca shears about 5 pounds of fleece per year.
Alpacas need fresh water and hay daily. They should also receive alpaca pellets every day. They need a fenced in area to keep them safe from predators, a shelter to keep them out of the elements, and their field cleaned daily. If you live in an area with deer, they also need a monthly shot of ivermectin. A vet is needed once a year to give shots such as rabies. They need to be shorn once a year as well as get their toe nails and teeth trimmed as needed.
Alpacas are very friendly, social animals.
The average alpaca lives 14 – 20 years.
Absolutely not. Alpacas are prey to a lot of animals. If you are looking for a livestock guardian, a llama is a much better choice.
Alpacas are amazing animals. On top of using them as fiber producers, here are some things you can do with alpacas.
- Take them for walks
- Teach them colors
- Teach them obstacle courses
- Take them in the shallow water to play
- Therapy animals
Alpacas are amazingly smart. So much that they will ignore you if they do not feel that you realize how smart they are. Give them love and respect and you will see just how amazing these animals are.
No, they will be crushed under weight. They are not bred to carry people.
When we first got alpacas, we did breed them. We kept every last cria born on our farm. They are an amazing part of our family. We stopped breeding two years ago. Any new future alpacas on the farm will be rescues as so many animals are in need of homes.
Disclaimer: All answers given are the opinion of the farmer at Lilymoore Farm who has many years experience with alpacas.