Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What is an Alpaca like?
Answer: Like all living creatures each one demonstrates characteristics unique to itself. Some love apples, some don't like apples at all. Some are very gentle and almost affectionate. Others don't want to be touched. Some are leaders... some are followers. One of the most interesting aspects of raising Alpacas is that each one has its own personality and temperament.
However, characteristic to most Alpacas is a high level of intelligence. They learn fast and are very adaptable.
Question: Do Alpacas require a lot of care?
Answer: No, they do not. Alpacas are a relatively low maintenance herd animal whose diet consists mostly of grasses, leaves, hay and specially formulated feed and supplements.
Give them a regular "treat" of feed and mineral supplements to ensure proper nutrition. Be sensitive to the heat of summer and ensure they can keep as cool as possible.
Maintain a complete preventive medical plan. It's necessary for you and your local veterinarian to develop a regular schedule of check-ups and preventive medicine application... By doing so, you will have provided the basics for a long and healthy life.
Shearing is done once a year, usually in the Spring. It's a time to gather with friends and fellow Alpaca ranchers and all share in the activities. Regular toenail trimming is also a must.
Question: Alpacas are very expensive aren't they?
Answer: They can be, but not all Alpacas are. If you are considering an Alpaca as a pet you may purchase one for about the same cost as an AKC registered dog. Others, however, may range in price up to many thousands of dollars.
Question: I don't live in the country. Do Alpacas require land?
Answer: Yes, but you don't. An Alpaca requires more space than the backyard of a suburban house or condominium. However, many Alpaca ranchers offer a program that solves that very situation. It's called "agisting" (a term for boarding) and your Alpaca is provided a home away from home. The daily care and needs of your Alpaca is provided for and you are free to visit your animal at any time.
Question: What is a Baby Alpaca?
Answer: The term "baby alpaca" refers to a type of alpaca fiber that is rare. It does NOT mean the fiber was taken from a baby (young) alpaca! Baby alpaca fiber typically comes from the first shearing of an alpaca, giving you the softest, most beautiful fiber the animal may ever produce.
Question: Why is Alpaca fiber valuable?
Answer: Alpaca fiber is classified as a rare specialty fiber. It is five times warmer than sheep wool fiber and more luxurious than cashmere. There are more than 22 natural colors of alpaca fleece. An infinite array of natural colors can be produced by blending these fibers. Alpaca fiber can also be easily worked. Alpaca fiber is strong and resilient and has more thermal capacity than almost any other animal fiber. The fiber actually contains microscopic air pockets that contribute to the creation of lightweight apparel with very high insulation value. Alpaca fiber does not itch as wool often does because it does not contain lanolin and has a smooth cell structure.