Other Livestock

Are Alpacas For You?

Are you thinking about raising alpacas as pets? These basic questions and answers might help you decide if raising exotic farm animals will work for you.

Question: How much room does an alpaca need?

Answer: One acre will keep five alpacas healthy and happy.

Question: What kind of fencing and shelter are needed for an alpaca?

Answer: Alpacas will not challenge a fence. A fence is needed to keep predators out, especially the neighborhood dog. It must be a fence that an alpaca cannot stick its head through and get stuck. 2 x 4 no climb fencing works well. Be sure a dog cannot dig under the fence or gate. A three-sided shelter is plenty in most climates, in extremely cold areas you may want a barn.

Question: What does an alpaca eat?

Answer: Primarily hay, but they may also need some feed supplements.

Question: Are children safe around alpacas?

Answer: You always need to be careful when you are around any animal, even gentle ones, but in general alpacas are a good animal for children. They can learn basic skills of caring for a pet with alpacas as they are very gentle creatures. They can, also, use these exotic pets for 4H or FAA activities.

Question: What other expenses are involved in caring for alpacas?

Answer: These farm animals must be sheared once a year. You need to worm them and vaccinate them depending on the area where you live.

Question: Can I own just one?

Answer: Alpacas are herd animals, and you should keep a minimum of two or they may become stressed and unhealthy.

Question: Are alpacas expensive?

Answer: Not if you purchase geldings or pet quality females.

Question: Can alpacas be trained?

Answer: Yes. Alpacas easily learn to lead with a halter on. You can train an alpaca to perform simple tricks if you take time to work with them.

Question: What can you do with a alpaca fleece?

Answer: Alpaca fiber is very fine. It can be spun into yarn for knitting or crocheting. Or you can felt the raw fiber into garments, rugs, and other items.

Question: Besides feeding an alpaca, what other routine care do they need?

Answer: Alpacas toenails need trimming about every two months. You’ll need to shear and worm them as mentioned before.

Question: How large do alpacas get?

Answer: An average adult alpaca weighs from 120-180 pounds.

Question: Do alpacas spit?

Answer: Mostly at each other, but rarely at humans.

Question: What is the best climate for alpacas?

Answer: They are hardy animals and do well in most climates.

Question: Can I show my pet quality alpaca?

Answer: Yes. There are show classes for fiber/pet animals.

Question: Which type is better as a pet, the Huacaya or Suri?

Answer: Huacaya alpacas have crimped fiber that makes the alpaca appear puffy. The Suri has straight fiber that hangs from their body giving it a dreadlock appearance. Suri’s are rare and it may be hard to find a pet quality priced Suri. Either animal would be a great exotic farm animal pet. Alpacas are exotic farm animals that make excellent pets. These very cute farm animals will win your heart and produce fleece so you can make winter hats and scarfs for family and friends.

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