Communication: Alpacas are shy intelligent animals with enormous round eyes and long lashes. They are naturally curious and docile yet hardy and adapt well to the environment. When handled correctly they can be affectionate. They communicate through body posture – tail and ear positions, and a variety of humming noises. They usually spit only when they feel threatened. As a herd they warn off predators such as foxes.
Feeding & Stocking Levels:
- They are happy in a small paddock with a minimum of 2 alpacas per acre, but it is advisable to keep at least 3 or 4 together as alpacas are herd animals and will not stay happy or healthy on their own.
- Stocking levels are approx. 4-6 per acre however it is necessary to plan for rotation of fields in the winter months as grass becomes depleted. When introducing new animals to a herd it is important to consider buying two alpacas that know each other to help them adjust to the new herd.
- They graze happily with other livestock. They prefer short moist pasture grasses. All pasture should be completely free from – Ragwort, Laurel, Laburnum and Yew.
- Winter – Alpacas will need a vitamin supplement in November and February and possibly during lactation.Alpacas also require access to ad lib hay all year, although the amount that they eat reduces considerably in the summer months.
- Access to clean drinking water should be available at all times.
Feet: Trimming should be done as needed – about 2 -3 times per year depending on individual requirements. Soft padded feet are easy on the ground.
Dung: Is done in communal piles around the field, which makes collection easy plusit is a very good fertilizer as it has a low nitrogen content which means it does not burn the base of plants. Worm infestationisalso at a minimum as they do not tend to eat around the dungpile.
- Is normally carried out twice a year,however some farms have moved to an annual regime. It is advised that you discuss vaccinations with your vet.
Mothers `to be `are also given a vaccination 4-6 weeks prior to birth to cover the newborn cria until their first vaccination approx 30 and 60 days followingbirth.
- Worming:Is normally carried out twice a year subject to faeces worm counts and upon vets advice. Worming can be by injection or liquid drench.If you are advised that liver fluke is found in the area it is also advisable to inject or drench as a precaution.
Teeth: Trim teeth as necessary. Generally once a year at shearing time. Males need to have their fighting teeth removed to avoid an injury to other males.
Shelter: Although they are very hardy and remarkably disease resistant, meaning low vet bills, they should be provided with some minimal shelter e.g. a 3 sided shelter for protection in bad weather,shade in summer and a safe haven in bad weather for any newborn cria. It is preferable to have some form of shelter available for the annual shearing in late Spring/Summer.
Vet: ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR VET IF IN DOUBT ABOUT ANY ASPECT OF YOUR ALPACAS HEALTH