Alpacas provide an excellent investment opportunity, and are the source of luxurious fiber. Alpaca breeding in the United States started over 20 years ago, and has been growing in popularity ever since. The Alpaca Registry has over 140,000 registered alpacas!
Alpaca textile products are recognized worldwide and U.S. alpaca breeders have been establishing a strong fiber market. The Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association (AOBA) support this livestock industry by providing very strong marketing support and direction to alpaca breeders, the fiber processing industries, and clothing retailers for finished alpaca products.
Who buys alpacas?
Most often alpaca buyers are people looking to use their acreage for livestock that are easy to care for. It is perfect for stay-at-home mothers. Owners are also individuals who are interested in involvement with the lifestyle of alpaca ownership, including competitive shows.
What do you need in order to care for alpacas?
Alpacas survive well on different kinds of low protein hay or grass, providing it has a balanced mineral content. Their diet can be supplemented with hay or grain, similar to horses as needed.
Water - Alpacas need water supplied in an adequate container.
Protection - They also need basic shelter for protection against heat and foul weather. A three sided lean-to, instead of a barn, is sufficient.
Fences - Needed to be designed to keep predators out more than to keep alpacas in since they do not challenge fences.
Health care - Normal care of alpacas requires annual shearing, as well as worming, vaccinations, and toenail clipping on a regular basis.
How much acreage do you need for alpacas?
Four to six animals can be kept per acre depending upon the quality of your pasture, and how much hay will be provided as a diet supplement. Alpaca ownership is ideal for people who have only a few extra acres!
How are alpacas transported?
Alpacas can travel in an animal trailer such as a horse trailer, or in a small mini-van, station wagon or SUV. They are calm animals and like to lie down while traveling.
When are female alpacas ready for breeding?
Females are typically bred after 18 months of age, and once a year thereafter. A female will carry her baby for 11-12 months, and will usually give birth to a single baby called a "cria." Twins are extremely rare. Alpacas are "induced ovulators," which means a female will release her eggs in response to mating.
The average life span of an alpaca runs 20 to 25 years. And females usually have a reproductive life span lasting from 12 to more than 14 years.
What is the alpaca's social behavior like?
One of the most enjoyable things about an alpaca is their personality. They are gentle creatures and a pleasure to be around. They are non-aggressive, and very curious. They do not bite, and are wonderful with children.
Alpacas can be trained to wear a halter, and can be led on walks. Children are fascinated by their gentle personality.
How do people find out further information about alpacas for sale?
There are local and regional shows, and the national show where quality alpacas are exhibited and sold. Alpaca owners promote farm visits or auctions for people who might be interested in the alpaca lifestyle. The alpaca industry has its own specialty magazine and newsletters, and its organizations offer the latest information for owners and interested buyers.