What are Alpacas bred for?
Alpacas are bred for their abundance of soft, lustrous fleece,
which is used in a variety of textiles. An advantage of alpaca fleece over sheep wool is the range of natural colours ranging
from white to black. Alpaca fibre is highly suited to fashion garments such as men’s and women’s suits, coats,
jumpers, scarves and hats. A single alpaca can produce up to 7 kg of fleece.
What do alpacas eat?
Alpacas are grazing animals and can survive on a wide assortment of grasses.
They can also be sustained on dry crop such as hay, although quality dry crop such as lucerne, clover, etc, is more
palatable for alpacas. They should also have access to a water supply.
How long do alpacas live for?
Alpacas are known to live for, and even
surpass 20 years of age.
What type of climate can alpacas live in?
Alpacas are well suited to the Australian climate.
They can withstand sub-zero temperatures in the winter months and up to 40º
C during the summer, although this is very dependent on their fleece management. Alpacas have been known to die from exposure
to cold weather from being shorn too early. Alpacas are also known to get heat
stress from having their fleece left on over the summer months. Alpacas are ideal for
small properties and are considered to be environmentally friendly as their softly padded feet decreases the chances of damage
to top soil.
Are alpacas aggressive?
generally alpacas are not aggressive towards humans. They are herd animals and will be aggressive towards dogs or fox when
How often do alpacas require shearing?
require shearing once a year. They are usually shorn in mid to late spring. Toe nails also need trimming every 6 to 12 months.
Who can shear an alpaca?
are experienced alpaca shearers who travel around shearing on site. They usually take around 5 to 10 minutes to shear one
alpaca. The alpaca is tied down on their side by their legs. This holds the alpaca still so the shearer can shear with minimal
injury (cuts) to the alpaca.
Are alpacas prone to desease?
are generally disease free with only minimal vaccinations required. They need 5 in 1 and Ivomec vaccinations every six months,
which protect the alpaca from intestinal parasites. Vaccinations vary for different locations so check your local veterinary
for further details.
What is Johne's Disease?
Johne’s Disease (JD) is spread to alpacas via faeces and can infect sheep and cattle as well. The disease is not common but there have been recorded cases
in Australia. The
symptoms of JD are diarrhoea and weight loss, but in some cases the alpaca might
not even show symptoms for a long time after being infected. For more information
about Johne’s Disease refer to National Johne's Disease Program.
Do alpacas make good pets?
make great pets. Alpacas can be halter trained quite easily, and will eat out of your hand. More handling and association
with humans at a younger age will enhance their friendliness in future years. Alpaca pets are always sold as a minimum of
two alpacas as they are herd animals and find wellbeing from having other alpacas for company.
Do alpacas get along with other livestock?
can be successfully run with sheep.
Alpacas as sheep guardians?
are a herd animal, meaning they bond well with sheep or goat and will protect the flock or herd from fox. Alpacas have been
proven in many cases to increase lambing rates substantially.
What age can alpacas start breeding?
alpacas can become sexually active from around 12 months of age with the minimal weight of the female to be 35 kg. Males can
show signs of sexual maturity at a very young age, but they are usually able to “produce the goods” from around
2 years of age. The act of mating will induce ovulation in females, meaning they can be mated at any time of the year providing
the female is receptive. Females can be re-mated between 2 to 3 weeks after giving
What is the gestation period for an alpaca?
gestation period of alpacas is around 340 days, but premature and extended periods are not uncommon. Births usually take place
during the day, with the cria up and walking within an hour. Cria are supported by the mother’s milk until weaned at
approximately 6 months of age.
How much do alpacas weigh?
cria (baby alpaca) weigh approximately 5 to 8kg. The average weight for females is 55 to 65 kg, the average weight of males
is 70 to 80kg, although alpacas can exceed weights of over 100kg. There have been Alpacas that have weighed in at