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Alpaca Resources

Quick Facts
Water consumption:
1-1.5 gal/day/animal
(about the same as sheep)
Dry matter consumption:
1.8% of body mass (sheep require 2.5%)
(about 3.6lb dry matter or 12lbs grass for a 200lb animal)
Sheltered space requirements:
8 sq ft / animal
Pasture management
8-10 alpacas per acre
Dung piles in about 10% of pasture space

Source: Environmental Impact of Camelids

Alpaca Fleece

Like all livestock, alpacas require care and husbandry to prosper. But alpaca are easy to care for and place less stress on a farm and its environment than do most other livestock.

Alpacas were close to annihilation after the Spanish conquest of the Incas. They survived because of their importance to the Indian people and to the animals' ability to tolerate harsh climatic conditions. Today, alpaca farming is concentrated in the Altiplano--the high altitude regions of Southern Peru, Bolivia and Chile where conditions are often harsh and food is sparse. Alpacas not only battle a harsh climate--burning sun by day, freezing conditions at night, low oxygen throughout --but also receive few of the benefits of modern animal husbandry. Yet, they survive, although in relatively small numbers. In their homeland of South America, Peru has approximately 2.5 million, Bolivia around 500,000 and there are only some 50,000 in Chile and Argentina combined.

In the United States, where conditions are typically easier on the animals, our concerns are for their general health and well being and in enhancing their yield across a greater number of years. Because of their origins, they are easy keepers and don't require extraordinary care or facilities. But conscientious breeders need to provide adequate shelter, food and water and stay abreast of the latest developments and research in alpaca health, genetics, and husbandry.

You and Your Veterinarian

Your veterinarian is an invaluable partner in providing for the health, well-being and productivity of your alpacas. Know when veterinarian care is required, know what is an emergency. Be prepared for your veterinarians visit; have the alpaca stalled, have necessary tack ready. If you are unsure of any situation contact your veterinarian. Do NOT self-diagnose. If you are uncomfortable with any procedures, have your veterinarian show you how.

The information in this section is meant to highlight key issues in alpaca care, but should not be used in isolation and without consulting your vet who knows you, your animals, and your local conditions.