Alpacas

Alpacas

The following are answers to frequently asked questions about raising alpacas:

About Alpacas

What is an alpaca?

The alpaca is a domesticated member of the Camelid family and a cousin to the llama. Alpacas are about thirty-six inches at the withers and weigh about 150 pounds when fully grown. There are two types of alpaca breeds: the Huacaya (pronounced wah-ki-ya) and the Suri (pronounced surrey). The Huacaya has a dense, crimpy fleece giving it a woolly appearance and the Suri has a fine fiber, defined in pencil-like locks. The alpaca provides an excellent investment opportunity and luxurious fiber comparable to cashmere. From this fine fiber, beautiful yarn can be produced, either handspun or by machine and made into exquisite garments.

Alpacas can live up to twenty-five years of age. Because of their manageable size and calm dispositions, they make wonderful companion animals. They are very gentle with children.

Alpacas are intelligent, easily halter trained, and obey simple commands well. Communication between the alpacas is achieved through their body posture, tail and ear movements. They make a variety of sounds most often as a soft humming. They are herd animals and need a companion alpaca with them in order to thrive. A female alpaca normally bears only one cria (pronounced cree-a) after an 11 - 11.5 months gestation period. Twins are extremely rare.

Why do people raise alpacas?

Alpacas are raised for varied reasons:

· Investment Potential
· Full-time Business
· Fiber Production & Sales
· Retirement Option
· Change of Lifestyle
· Love of an Animal


How much land do they require?

Because of their small size and easy care, six to eight alpacas can live comfortably on a single acre. They eat selective pasture grasses and hay, with many breeders supplementing the animals' diet with pellet minerals and vitamins. Their padded feet allow them to walk lightly on the terrain; thereby, presenting no damage to pasture as is found with other livestock. At the Grand Alpaca Company Ranch, hay is grown on our acreage. To insure good quality, we control each hay cutting, the hay's fertilization, and storage of the bales in our large hay barn.

How often do they need to be sheared?

Alpacas are usually shorn once a year for their comfort and to prevent heat stress from their dense fleece. An annual yield of fiber can range from six to ten pounds per alpaca. The first clipping from a young alpaca is very valuable due to the fineness of the alpaca's luxurious fiber.

How much do alpacas cost?

There is a wide range of prices in the animals due mainly to their quality and gender. Prices range from $600 for a pet/companion alpaca to many thousands of dollars for top quality breeding males and females.

What care is needed for an alpaca?

Herd health care consists of occasional grooming, trimming of toenails and teeth, annual shearing, and scheduled routine worming and vaccinations. Access to an open barn is adequate shelter from the weather during adverse conditions. These shelters also provide shade during warmer seasons. Adequate exterior fencing is critical to their survival to keep out predators.

 
Michigan alpacas
Alpacas

 
Michigan alpacas

 

Michigan alpaca breeders

 
huacaya alpacas

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Michigan Alpacas at Grand Alpaca Company

Les Meyette   Grand Alpaca Company   4344 Four Mile Rd. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49544    Ph: 616-784-7765   Em:
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