Alpacas are part of the South American Camelid family which includes Guanacos, Llamas and Vicunas. They originate from the Andes in Peru, Bolivia and Chile.
- Alpacas have a Lifespan of 15 to 25 years.
- Alpaca adults weigh an average of 60 to 80kg.
- Alpacas are clean and intelligent.
- Alpacas are extremely hardy and adapt to the extreme weather conditions.
- Alpacas are quiet animals and make soft humming sounds to communicate.
- When alarmed, a staccato tooting is made by one animal, then joined in by the rest of the herd as they focus attention in the direction of potential danger.
- Alpacas get on well with other animals including dogs, horses, goats and sheep.
Huacaya & Suri
"Huacaya" whose fleece grows perpendicular to the body, more like a sheep’s appearance. Alpacas are easy to raise and safe around children. Alpacas are ruminants whose principle diet is grass which can be supplemented if necessary with a course mix and with some other additional minerals and nutrients Alpacas are extremely efficient grazers and can be kept at a stocking density of between 3 to 5 an acre depending on the quality of the grazing Alpacas require annual vaccinations, occasional worming as necessary and toe nail clipping two or three times a year. The shearer can undertake some of these tasks if asked at shearing time.
"Suri" whose fleece grows in streaming locks or ringlets that hang down the body. Alpacas are capable of spitting however, this is a defence mechanism which only occurs if stressed or threatened. Alpacas have one 'Cria' a year following a gestation of 11 months. They usually give birth during daylight hours to enable the Cria to dry off quickly and soon on their feet. Alpacas are shorn annually in a range of 22 natural colours. Their fleece is a premium fiber and in high demand in the fashion industry. It is light-weight, warm, durable, soft and not itchy. Handspinners appreciate its quality, and handcrafters find it easy to work with. The natural hues are highly desirable, yet light colours readily accept dye.