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"Alpacas"
"Dancers of the Soil"
by Dr Julio Sumar

Aplaca Fibre
Alpaca Fleece
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Alpacas Chile

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Alpacas International Ltd.

Alpaca Breeders and Exporters

Alpacas from South America Chile and Peru to the World

Alpacas Chile
Alpaca Information



 

1. The Alpaca
2. The different types of alpacas
3. The Alpaca Family
4. How big are Alpacas
5. The alpacas temperament
6. The alpacas lifespan
7. Feeding requirements
8. Grazing requirements for alpacas
9. Alpaca hygiene
10. Farming requirements barns/shelter
11. Fencing requirements
12. Breeding
13. Veterinary care
14. Shearing Aplacas
15. Alpaca fibre characteristics
16. Fibre selling
17. Transport
18. Registration and Screening
19. Commitment

1. The Alpaca

Alpacas are members of the Camelid family, along with camels,
llamas, guanacos, and vicuñas. |
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2. The different types of alpacas

There are two types. The Suri has long fibers that form long
strands. The Huacaya has a more fluffy fiber with a lot of
fine crimp. ABQ Alpacas have both Suris and Huacayas for sale in Chile. |
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3. The Alpaca Family

The dam is a Hembra.
The sire is a Macho.
The young are Cria. |
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4. How big are Alpacas

Baby alpacas weigh 5-9 Kgs at birth. In adulthood, they
weigh between 45 -70 Kgs. Adults are about as tall as your hip, or
80-90 cms tall at their shoulder. |
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5. The alpacas temperament

As a general rule alpacas are very placid and social animals each
has a distinct personality. They are gentle and non-aggressive and
will halter train quite easily and can make wonderful pets.They do
spit occasionally, usually when their food or young are threatened. |
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6. The alpacas lifespan

Alpacas live for around 20-25 years. During its life time a female
alpaca can produce 15 or more offspring. |
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7. Feeding requirements

Alpacas are browsers rather than grazers. They thrive on a low
protein high fibre diet.
A maximum of 14% protein in the diet is recommended. They also like
meadow hay and silage. |
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8. Grazing requirements for alpacas

Alpacas can be managed at a stocking rate of 4-6 per acre or 10 to
15 per hectare, depending on the amount of grazing available. Their
feed requirements are rated at 1 alpaca per 1.2 sheep. N.Z. Ministry
of Agriculture figures. |
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9. Alpaca hygiene

Alpacas are very tidy animals. They normally defecate in the one
place sometimes walking a distance to do this. The waste can be
collected and placed in a compost pile where it makes excellent
garden fertilizer or alternatively spread onto the pastures as a
natural fertiliser. |
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10. Farming requirements barns/shelter

Although Alpacas are accustomed to the cold of the Andes,
depending on your location barns or very good natural shelter
may be needed as protection from the severe winter storms.
This is very important for Cria during the week after birth.
Alpacas are accustomed to the cold weather of the Andes
Mountains. Many breeders there have shelter for the new
born cria, especially during the first few days of their
life.
Their fibre provides excellent insulation and protection from
the cold. Some shade protection is also important during the
heat of the mid summer months. |
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11. Fencing requirements

Fences are erected not as much to keep alpacas in (they will
rarely challenge a fence), but more to keep predators out. Straying
dogs are the main concern. A 5 or 6 foot boundary fence of deer
fence is most suitable. Normal sheep type fences are suitable for
internal fencing. |
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12. Breeding

Female alpacas are mature enough to breed around 12 to
16 months old. But in many coutries they are not mated until
approaching 2 years of age. They have no season, or
menstrual cycle, as many other animals do.
Rather, they are induced ovulators, meaning the eggs of the
female are released in response to mating. Gestation is around 340
days.
Remating is best 14 to 18 days after giving birth. Crias are
normally weaned at 6 to 7 months of age. During their life time females
can produce 15 or more Cria. The males are usually sexually mature
at 2 to 2 1/2 years of age sometimes as young as 1 1/2 years. |
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13. Veterinary care

Most of the health care that alpacas require can be done
by the owners if they have had previous livestock experience.
They need an immunization injection once a year,a
normal sheep vaccine of the 5 or 7 in one type provides
sufficient immunity from clostridial infections. The cria shoud be
vaccinated at 6 weeks of age when the immunity given from the mother is no longer effective.
Deworming normally twice a year maybe more depending on the
environment they are running under. Toe nail and teeth
trimming is normally done once a year at shearing. Vaccinating
and worming are also done at this time. |
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14. Shearing Aplacas

Shearing should be done once a year in the spring or early
summer. This also allows them to remain cool during the hot summer
months and regrow sufficient fleece for protcection against the
winter cold.
The fleece from shearing one year's growth will normally weigh
about 5 to 6 pounds per alpaca, some may produce up to 7 pounds.
This is enough to make 6 or 7 sweaters.
Further shearing information from www.totaragrove.com. |
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15. Alpaca fibre characteristics

Alpaca fibre is an incredible fibre. It is soft like cashmere
and strong like mohair. Alpaca fleece is very warm and is an
exceptional insulator, because the fibre is hollow, products
have a very soft feel and are comfortable to wear. |
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16. Fibre selling

There are 2 main outlets for alpaca fibre. Weavers and hand
spinners love to work with alpaca fibre. The price is influenced by
the color and the quality of the fleece with the average price
being US$3 to US$5 per ounce in the USA, less in other countries.
The second and most important outlet is the commercial
clothing manufacturing industry market. Alpaca owners and breeders
around the world are actively promoting alpaca fibre and are
involved with fibre co-operatives assisting breeders to sell their products into these commercial markets.

Today in Europe and the USA there are many examples of alpaca garments selling in exclusive boutiques and clothing shops. Alpaca fibre is also used in many instances to blend with silk and sheep's wool. Some of the poorer quality fibre from the legs of the alpaca is used for making socks where it is blended with lycra.
This poorer quality fibre is also used for duvet fillings. |
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17. Transport

Shipping is by air and in pallets of 15 to 16 alpacas.
Scheduled passenger flights are used for smaller numbers and
charter flights for larger shipments. To Top

18. Registration and Screening

All animals for export are screened and passed by
internationally recognised screeners appointed by the
appropriate alpaca registries. The registration of alpacas is
the purchasers’ option. To Top

19. Commitment

Alpacas International is committed to customer service and
satisfaction. Our mission is always to obtain the best
quality alpacas at the most competitive prices and to provide
ongoing assistance to clients through an experienced selection
team. The company has direct access to some of the world’s
leading alpaca experts who can provide consultancy to Alpacas
International clients as required. To Top

We recommend “The Complete Alpaca Book” to all alpaca breeders
and those interested in developing an alpaca herd. This book
is a most valuable source of information.

Wessex Adronica Supreme Champion at the UK Royal Show 2005
Wessex Adronica Supreme Champion

Alpacas during winter in Peru
Alpacas - winter in Peru

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Female Alpacas in Peru
Alpaca quality fleece

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