All About Alpacas

We have been breeding Alpacas since 1998 in the beautiful countryside of the Marshwood Vale in West Dorset. As part of our alpaca breeding programme we strive for density, fineness, soft handle and certainty of colour in our crias (baby alpacas). Our alpaca females have been bred to some of the best males in the country and more recently to Champion male, Warrior of Alpaca Stud.

We now have alpacas of various ages and colours for sale:
  • pregnant females
  • empty females
  • males for breeding
  • males for fleece

Please see our  sales page for details.

We welcome visitors, so please give us a call if you would like to come and see us down here in Dorset. Alternatively, you may want to phone us just for a little help and advice – you’re very welcome to.

ALPACA FACT FILE:
Alpacas are part of the Camelid family, i.e. Camels, Llamas (believed to have bred from Guanacos), Guanacos, Alpacas (descended from Vicuna) and Vicunas (only seen in the wild, mostly in Peru). Alpacas are usually bred for their fleece (producing approx. 3kg each) but in their country of origin (Chile, Peru and Bolivia) they are also eaten, and their skins used as rugs etc.

  • There are two breeds of Alpaca, the Huacaya and the Suri. The Huacaya has a dense, fluffy, woolly fleece whilst the Suri has long flowing silky ringlets.
  • Alpacas can be kept at a rate of 5-6 per acre of good grass.
  • Alpacas are very hardy and do not require expensive housing. A three-sided shelter from the worst of the rain, snow or sun is all that is required. They usually prefer to be outside otherwise.
  • Alpacas feed on grass, hay/haylege and some alpaca concentrates in winter. They must, of course, have clean water at all times.
  • Usual husbandry care includes trimming toenails 3 times per year as necessary; vaccinating against clostridial diseases and worming 6-monthly;  shearing annually, and it is wise to inject weak crias or crias born late in the year with Vitamins A,D, & E.
  • One cria per year is usual (i.e. gestation 11.5 months). Crias are usually weaned at about 6 months.
  • Alpacas usually give birth in the daylight hours as in their country of origin the nights are freezing cold and baby alpacas (crias) need to be dried off before nightfall.
  • The mothers don’t lick the young as cattle and sheep do, the cria rolls in the grass to remove the birth sack and then sleeps in the sun to dry off naturally.

Twins have been known but are very rare and usually one or both fail to survive.
Females mature at 12 months, males at 15 months onwards although it is usually two and a half to three years before a male is mature enough to become a full working stud.
The lifespan of an alpaca is 15-20 years we are told although we haven’t had our alpacas long enough to prove this yet!
Alpacas are intelligent animals and can easily be halter-trained for show purposes etc.
Alpacas can be transported easily and usually sit down for the whole journey.

For information on alpacas for sale please click here.

Basic Differences Between Alpacas and Llamas?

  • Llamas are taller, bigger animals being at least 4ft at the shoulder whereas an alpaca is 3ft approximately.
  • Llamas are more angular, having a straight back and tail set high. Whereas alpacas are more rounded cuddly-looking animals. Llamas have large distinctive banana-shaped ears but Alpacas have symmetrical spear shaped ears, which come to a point.
  • Llamas moult in spring or autumn each year. However some moult every two years and some not at all. Llamas can be brushed over this period of moulting and the fibre used for spinning, or else they can be shorn annually as Alpacas are.
  • Llamas are bred as pack animals and can be used for trekking. Alpacas are bred purely for the fleece.

alpaca-llama-silhouette

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