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Frequently Asked Questions

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What are alpacas used for?
What do they eat?
What is their personality like?
How do they communicate?
Are they registered?
How much do they cost?

Some Fun Facts about Alpacas

  • Alpacas were developed in South America and are members of the camel family.
  • Alpacas were most likely domesticated from a wild animal called a vicunya.
  • Alpacas are raised for their fiber which is a luxury fiber like cashmere and comes in more natural colors than any other fiber animal.
  • Alpacas eat grass or grass hay and are not expensive to keep.
  • Alpacas are herd animals and do not like living alone.
  • Alpacas are shy and their main self defense is to run away if they get scared.
  • Alpacas can live in small pens and tolerate a stocking rate of 10 per acre.
  • Alpacas are sheared once a year.
  • Alpacas live for twenty years or more.
  • Alpacas have one baby per year; gestation is 11 to 11.5 months.
  • Alpacas are great with kids and are a wonderful animal for the small farm.

 What are alpacas used for?

Alpacas are shorn for their valuable fleeces.  Their compact size contributes to easy management and to desirability as a companion animal.  Alpacas easily learn to lead, jump in and out of vehicles, cush (sit down), and obey other simple commands taught all domestic members of the camelid family.  They are popular show animals.  Alpacas can also be seen at fairs and fiber fests throughout North America.  No other animal which produces fiber for textile use has such an enormous variety of colors.  As in ancient days,  alpacas are important to Andean herders, providing luxury fiber and meat.

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What do they eat?

Alpacas are modified ruminants.  They rank high in digestive efficiency and do well on good quality forage and hays.  Occasional supplemental feeds, vitamins, and minerals are provided when required.  An alpaca costs far less to feed than most traditional domestic animals.

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What is their personality like?

Alpacas are alert, curious, calm and predictable.  They need the companionship of other camelids, and will huddle together or move en masse when frightened or wary.

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How do they communicate?

Alpacas express themselves with a soft hum, with other vocalizations, and with body language, such as neck posturing, ear and tail positioning, and head tilt. They have excellent eyesight and hearing, and will alert the herd and their human keepers with a staccato alarm call of perceived danger. Alpacas rarely spit at people unless frightened or abused, but will use this form of communication with each other to register a complaint.

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Are they registered?

About 95% of North American alpacas are registered by The Alpaca Registry. DNA technology verifies lineages.

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How much do they cost?

Costs vary throughout the United States and Canada.  For most of the 1990's the price structure for females ranged between $12,000 to $30,000. Pet quality males generally start at $1,500; top-end herdsires reached $90,000.  As in other markets, alpaca prices are influenced by supply and demand and general economic conditions.  Contact a local breeder for advice and pricing as it applies to your area.

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David Kabbai - 619.890.9297 - 1.877.611.1319