Husbandry & Handling
Alpacas are by nature, quiet and well behaved, they do not require high fencing and will respect normal sheep fencing (about 4 foot high). Stocking rates are 3-4 to the acre. They are happiest in herds of three or more. They usually get on well with horses, donkeys, sheep, goats and cattle although they are likely to need a separate feeding area. They don’t need to be put in at night or in the winter but are very grateful for a field shelter. We recommend that you build a small handling pen in the field from sheep hurdles and feed them in there. This way you can get them into a small area whenever you want to train them or carry out any husbandry tasks.
They have one cria (baby) a year, after a gestation of 11 to 11.5 months. They are good mothers and suckle the babies until they are six months old. Females, youngsters and gelded males can be kept together, but entire males should be kept apart for obvious reasons. We wean baby boys at 6 months old, so it can be useful to have another grazing area out of sight of the mother. They will need to be with at least one another alpaca to keep them company.
Alpacas do not commonly suffer from foot rot, fly strike and routine tasks are easier than for other stock. We are always on hand to offer help and advice and give you the benefit of our extensive experience.
Alpacas eat mainly grass during spring, summer and autumn and hay in the winter. We recommend a top up of a specialist camelid food to ensure that they receive the minerals they require.
Alpacas need to be wormed, we recommend an Ivermectin based injection every three to six months depending on your stocking rates and pasture rotation. They also need to be vaccinated against clostridial disease with Covexin annually. Toenails will need to be trimmed about every two to three months. Youngsters will need injections of vitamins A,D and E in the winter and you should protect against liverfluke if you are on boggy ground.
We will help you will all of these tasks until you feel comfortable with them
Huacaya alpacas will need to be sheared every year, and suris at least every two years. We will help you find an experienced, recommended shearer and will help you with shearing your animals if required. The shearer will also check the teeth of the alpaca at this time and trim them if required.