Originally from South America, alpacas live on the Andes Mountains. They can be found throughout Peru, Chile, Bolivia and Argentina where they are used for their meat, fiber, and leather. However, it is their fiber that has been valued and cherished thousands of years. Home on harsh, high mountain plains alpaca are very hardy and agile. Their dense, heavy fiber makes a perfect coat to protect them from severe weather and long winters.
There are two types of alpacas – the Huacaya (wah-ki-ah) and the Suri (sir-e). The suri’s fiber grows quite long and forms silky, pencil-like locks. The huacaya has a shorter, dense, crimpy fleece, giving it a teddy bear appearance. They average about 36? tall at the withers and weigh about 150 pounds.
Alpacas live for up to 20 years, so they are a long-term investment. They have a long reproductive life and produce fleece for their entire lives. Their gestation period is eleven to thirteen months, and they have a single cria. Rarely there can be twins but seldom will either survive. If either does, it will most likely not be able to reproduce.
Perfect for a family farm, alpaca are gentle and easy to handle. They are safe even for younger children to work with as they do not bite. This is a venture the whole family can partictpate in and enjoy together.
It is our vision that alpaca can become a vital part of the Douglas County economy. Well suited to the land and environment they are also environmentally friendly, protecting the land that we love.
* Alpaca have soft padded feet. This leaves pasture undamaged and usable for years.
* They have no top front teeth, so they are gentle grazers.
* The alpaca does not usually eat or destroy trees.
* The average alpaca only eats four pounds of food a day.
* Although they need a regular fresh water supply, alpaca do not require abundant amounts of water.
* The herd deposits their manure in one or two communal dung piles in the pasture, making clean up easier.
* Alpaca manure is a fantastic fertilizer, considered “black gold” to some!
* One good acre of pasture can support up to ten alpaca.
* Alpaca require minimal fencing as they do not challenge it.
* Adequate fencing is a must to keep them safe from predators.
* They will produce four to eight (or more) pounds of fleece a year.
* Their fleece produces 87 to 95 percent cleaner fiber compared to sheep’s wool and has no lanolin so is much more tolerant to even the most sensitive skin.