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Alpaca Facts

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What do alpacas eat?
No-cost alpaca marketing Alpacas graze and do well on pasture grass and good quality hay. Here in East Texas, our pastures grow a mixture of bermuda, bahia, orchard, and other native grasses. If you live in a different part of the country, check with your county agricultural extension agent about which pasture grasses are best suited for your ranch. In the winter, we plant a winter rye. Having evolved in incredibly harsh conditions, Alpacas utilize their food more efficiently than other domesticated stock. They have 3 stomachs and so are able to get all the nutrition from what they eat. Typically, an alpaca eats about 1 square bale of hay per week. We also provide them with about 1/4 to 1/2 pound per day of a llama pellet. A 50 lb bag of pellets costs about $12 dollars. So it's very incexpensive to feed alpacas.
Get more information about what alpacas and llamas eat.

What are alpacas and where did they orginate?
Alpacas are rare, gentle, and charming animals that are adaptable to varied habitat, successfully being raised from Australia to Alaska and from 15,000 feet to sea level. Alpacas originated in South America, especially Peru, Chile, and Bolivia, where they have been domesticated for over 5,000 years. In the US, there are about 45,000 alpacas, as compared with about 6 million horses. In Texas, there are only about 1,000 alpacas. Alpacas are clean, safe, quiet, intelligent and disease resistant. They have a charismatic manner, do very well on small acreage, and produce a luxury fiber that is in high demand.

What size is an alpaca?
Measured from the head, an alpaca reaches approximately five feet tall and weights between 110-170 lbs. Measured from the withers, it is 30-38 inches. Its relatively small size makes it very appealing and easy to raise. Alpacas are clean, safe, quiet, intelligent, and disease resistant. Clean up is easy since alpacas deposit droppings in only one or two places -- very tidy! They have a charismatic manner, do very well on small acreage, and produce a luxury fiber that is in high demand.

What's so special about alpaca fiber?
Alpaca fiber is recognized worldwide as one of the most luxurious natural fibers. Coveted by the fashion industry, it fetches high prices in the market. Alpaca fleece is softer than cashmere, warmer than wool, and a stronger fiber than both! Its uses also include household items like blankets, rugs, upholstery, and so forth.

Alpaca fleece has 22 recognized natural colors, ranging from pure white to browns and grays and black. Alpacas can have a uniform color or have a pinto fleece in two or more colors. The fiber is sheered once a year and can give up to 12 pounds of fiber with an exquisite softness and is very warm. Due to selective breeding, American fiber is getting finer and finer. Alpaca fleece has a sheen that is frequently compared to silk.

How many registered mini-llamas in the USA?
Currently (Oct 2008) there are only 685 registered miniature llamas in the USA and Canada. This is a truly rare breed. So if you're interested in getting in at the beginning of an alternative livestock breed, then you should seriously consider miniature llamas.

This page was last updated September 29, 2008.

Able Oaks Ranch 6167 FM1857 S. Rusk TX 75785 | 903-530-1009