All About Alpaca Farming – Useful Tips for Raising Alpacas
Alpacas are magnificent animals. They are small, very easy to keep and costs are low to maintain. Alpaca farming and breeding can be profitable; their fleece makes strong and valuable fiber and it’s used for various purposes in a wide variety of industries.
Alpacas are gentle animals that are native to South America. They naturally inhabit the high Andes Mountains, and are most commonly raised in countries like Peru, Bolivia and Chile. Alpacas are beautiful animals and Alpaca farming has huge prospects in the United States. However, if you are going to raise alpacas and have not raised livestock before, you should get some education.
You can get some great education right now FREE, by attending the International Online Alpaca Summit while sitting on your couch! Yes, it is that easy. Just click here to get more information and register for this unique opportunity. This should cost you thousands, and it is free! Also, check out the video below about a very cool Alpaca Party going on in the very near future – January, 2016!
Farming and breeding of Alpacas can be a profitable business in the United States, if you can gather enough knowledge about them and develop a business plan before you start your own alpaca farm. Buying, selling, and breeding alpacas, is a profitable business and a great way to generate some extra cash from your own home based farm.
These days, thousands of top alpaca breeders have entered the industry making alpacas more affordable than ever for someone who wants to buy and keep alpacas at home for fun or for companionship. Alpacas are most commonly raised for their luxurious yarn for making clothing, hats, shoes, toys, bags, purses, and so on. Some alpacas are also kept as a source of food, for collecting, for competing, and for trading.
Alpacas are a domesticated species of South American camelid. They resemble somewhat a small llama in appearance. They have similarities with a goat and sheep with Their eating habits and behavior. They are famous for their gorgeous wool and friendly nature that makes them an ideal animal to keep for wool or as a companion.
Types of alpacas
They have longer softer silky fur resembling dreadlocks but without matted fibers. They make up about 20% of the North American alpaca population. The number of suri alpacas has been increasing in the United States due to import and breeding. Their color is also diversified in the United States. The Suri is thought to be rarer, most likely because the breed was reserved for royalty during Incan times.
They are the more common breed of alpacas in the United States and in the continent of South America, and they make up 80% of alpaca population around the world. They produce a dense, soft, sheep-like fiber. These hardy animals are perfect for any climate in the United States.
Alpacas survive on a very few pounds of grasses and forbs in the high Andes Mountains and “Alta planos” (high plain lands) of Peru, Bolivia and Chile. In the rainy seasons, they are able to find lush grass. Although alpacas don’t have a particular breeding season, they will usually breed in the rainy season so that a cria (baby) will have enough milk and food to eat.
For raising alpacas on a farm, you need to analyze your pasture grass and hay to make sure you are supplying a nutritious diet for the alpacas to fulfill their requirements. In the summer and spring, your pasture grasses may be enough, but during the winter, you must provide them with additional feed (normally hay) and supplements.
Young, green grasses are ideal for alpaca diet. You might be able to grow your own microgreen fodder with DIY systems or purchase a feed in a box system. These baby green grasses are high in nutrition vale and have all the necessary ingredients for alpaca growth. They should be fed as additions to a primary pasture or hay diet.
(To learn more about alpaca diet and nutrition, read our blog: An Overview of Alpaca Diet, Nutrition & Care | Sustainable Livestock Nutrition)
Caring for alpacas
Although alpacas have survived several millennia in the harsh cold of the high Andes, they still need a little care during the harsh winter and hot summer to reduce stress and to keep them healthy. You will need to provide added nutrition and supplement, clean source of water, and vet care for them. Monitor your alpacas regularly for health issues; get vaccination, de-worming and health checks done regularly. Make sure not to overcrowd your farm, usually an acre of land is sufficient to support 5-10 alpacas.
If you plan to raise alpacas commercially for your farm and start your alpaca business or want to keep a few alpacas at home for fun, you will need to build a shelter for them during the winter, and provide them with a shaded area during the summer. Usually a three sided shelter is adequate for them.
Check out an excellent housing alternative that can be made from reusable pallets with FREE plans that we can provide to you.
Also provide enough wind breaks with trees and bushes in your pasture. Confine the area where you plan to graze your alpacas with wire fence at least five feet high to keep your animals safe from predators.
Normally alpacas do not incur a huge medical bill for you. Their health can be monitored and maintained with minimal cost. However, consult animal farmers in your area and local authorities to learn about alpaca diseases and the things you need to be aware about alpaca health. You can find more information about alpaca health on one of our previous articles titled: An Overview of Alpaca Diet, Nutrition & Care | Sustainable Livestock Nutrition
Consult a licensed veterinarian for alpaca health issues. Vaccinations, deworming and annual health checks are generally all you will need as special care for alpacas during the winter. Once instructed by a vet, you will be able to perform almost all health care procedures and first aid requirements for alpacas by yourself.
Alpaca breeding can be a profitable business. It can also be a great hobby. Please do a good amount of research before you make any decisions about owning alpacas. You will find websites available on the internet to buy sale or trade alpacas. If you are trying to become an alpaca breeder, visit some of the alpaca breeding sites in your area. Visit Mountain Sky Ranch to find out more about alpaca rearing, breeding and product sales.
We are passionate about how alpacas can be used in sustainable agriculture, but you have to make good decisions about how you might become involved. We would love to talk with you and come to visit us here at the Ranch to get more information. If you would like to read more of the information we regularly provide about alpacas please visit our Mountain Sky Alpaca Site so we can stay in touch. We will not spam you with useless emails.
We have a an elite herd of high quality breeding males and females (even a World Champion – Snowmass Matrix Belvedere), pet animals, babies, fiber animals and more. We offer boarding, tours, education and mentoring. We have worked hard for almost a decade to create an alpaca business we are proud to represent.
We have a very cool book that we have prepared that you can get FREE about “Unleashing the Entrepreneur in You” for any business including with alpacas. Please click here to get this very cool FREE book (you will even get to make some money with it with resale rights).
Source: Sustainable Livestock Nutrition
Related articles and resources:
- Alpaca – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Local Product | Sustainable Livestock Nutrition
- Tips for Starting an Alpaca Farm | Nourish The Planet
- An Overview of Alpaca Diet, Nutrition & Care | Sustainable Livestock Nutrition
- Mountain Sky Ranch
- 5 Alpaca Facts that You Didn’t Know | Sustainable Livestock Nutrition
- You Could Own an Alpaca Farm | Sustainable Livestock Nutrition
- What to Consider Before Buying an Alpaca | Sustainable Livestock Nutrition