Langaton Alpacas

Langaton Alpacas

Alpaca Facts...

What is an alpaca?

Alpacas are members of the Camelid family alongside Camels, Vicuna, Llamas and Guanacos. They are native to the harsh Andean regions of South America where they have been farmed for some 6,000 years.

Alpacas are much smaller than Llamas, weighing betwen 55-90 kilos and standing 30-38 inches at the shoulder. Twenty two different shades of solid colour are recognised.

There are two basic breeds which are classified purely by fleece type, these are the Huacaya which has a sheep-like woolliness and the Suri, whose fleece hangs in spiral locks


Langaton Alpacas - Huacaya
Huacaya

Langaton Alpacas

Temperament

Alpacas are extremely intelligent, - they are amazingly alert and communicate with each other through body posture and a variety of sounds. They have a loveable disposition and are gentle and docile by nature. They are easily trained to lead – they do not butt or bite and do not possess the horns, hooves or claws to do serious damage.

Hardiness

An alpaca will live a long and productive life of around 20 years, they are extremely hardy and easy to manage. Apart from routine shearing, worming, vaccinations and occasional toe-nail clipping, no extraordinary care is required. Alpacas do not suffer from any problems associated with sheep such as fly strike, foot rot, sheep scab.

Why Keep Alpacas?

Alpacas are not bred for human consumption. They are kept mainly for their fine fleeces which are shorn and spun and made into soft, durable and anallergic garments. Also Alpacas make excellent pets and paddocks grazers, without mentioning their use as guarding stock. They are useful guard animals for poultry and sheep, often keeping foxes at bay. Stocking rates are similar to sheep, ie 4 to 5 per acre and they are quite happy to graze with other animals, - they have a padded foot and therefore poaching the ground in the winter months is kept to an absolute minimum.

Fencing and Feeding

Alpacas do not require specialist fencing – it is not in their nature to wriggle or barge through hedges like sheep or push it over like cattle. They do not require housing (their fleece is water-proof), although a field shelter or handling area of some description can be useful for carrying out husbandry tasks or caring for a sick animal.

Alpacas are naturally lean animals and for most of the year grass is all that is required in the form of feeding. Nursing mothers will require some form of hard feed, and many alpacas appreciate hay during the winter months or in spells of excessive wet weather. No harm can be done if you wish to routinely feed your alpacas a tiny amount of hard feed to accustom them to you which may help in the carrying out of husbandry tasks.

Langaton Alpacas

Langaton Alpacas - Suri
Suri

Fleece

Alpacas currently produce a clip weighting between 3-5 kg according to the location, type and age of the animal. Alpacas are generally shorn once a year with the fibre being sold to a number of outlets.

Breeding

Alpacas have one baby a year (very rarely twins) – with the gestation being between 11-12 months and births occurring in the daylight hours (how civilized!!). The babies (known as cria) will stand and suckle within an hour of being born.

Paperwork!

Apart from the basic animal records there are no regulations associated with other forms of agriculture.
 

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