A Pac of Alpaca Facts:
What is an alpaca?
Alpacas are members of the Camelid family. They are fairly small, averaging between 150 and 170 lbs. as adults with an average height of 36" at the withers. The average lifespan of an alpaca is between 15 and 25 years.
Where do they come from?
First imported from Peru in the mid-80s, alpacas have
become a premier livestock in North America. The national
Alpaca Registry (ARI) was formed to ensure breed purity
and high standards. Importation from South America is now closed.
How do you care for alpacas?
Alpacas are generally easy to care for and require fairly low maintenance as compared to other livestock.
They eat about two and one half pounds of dry matter (pasture grass or hay) per hundred pounds of body weight per day. Orchard grass is the primary and best food source for alpacas they prefer a soft, grassy hay as opposed to a more stemmy hay.
Alpacas require very little in the way of grain, only about 8 to 10 ounces per day. If you have good pastures and hay, you may not need to feed grain at all. Of course you will want to continually monitor and body score your alpacas to help you gauge their nutritional requirements. You don't want to overfeed and have obese alpacas nor underfeed and risk health issues and vet bills.
Alpacas are ruminants, similar to cows, goats and sheep. They digest their food efficiently and produce small pellet sized manure which just happens to be one of the best fertilizers known. You can use it immediately in the garden, on the lawn or your pastures since it requires no composting.
Other Interesting Facts.
Alpacas are docile and quiet, and because they have soft pads and toenails versus hooves, they are earth friendly.
Alpacas are sheared annually, usually in the spring. An adult alpaca will generally product 5 to 8 pounds of high-quality fiber each year.
Alpaca fleece comes in 22 natural colors from whites to black with a range of browns, golds and silver in between. Alpacas are the most color diversified of the fiber animals and the white fleece can be dyed to make an unlimited number of custom colors.
Alpaca fleece contains no lanolin so it is 100% hypoallergenic and is softer than cashmere or angora.
Alpaca fleece has a hollow core that traps air resulting in a high insulating value that keeps you cool and dry in warmer months and warm and dry in colder months. Alpacas have an average gestation period of 340 days. Baby alapcas are called "crias" and they weigh between 14 to 22 lbs at birth.
Painted Sky Alpaca Farm & Fiber Mill | 95 Knight House Lane | Earleville, MD 21919 | 410.275.9423 | Copyright 2012