Alpacas are easy to take care of…safe, gentle, clean, and quiet.
Alpacas make a charming, soft humming sound that is sure to melt the hardest heart.
A more shrill alarm call is heard on rare occasions if they feel threatened. A male’s love call is known as “orgling.”
They are “earth-friendly” and good for the environment. They have soft feet that are easy on the landscape. Their “by-product” can be used as fertilizer and can go directly on gardens without being composted.
Alpaca bean "tea" is a gardener's delight! For the way it enriches soil, it is called “black gold” by rose enthusiasts and vegetable growers.
Alpacas have survived at altitudes above 15,000 feet for centuries and are efficient grazers. An adult alpaca needs approximately 2.5 pounds of hay per day, or 12 pounds of green grasses.
Alpacas are ruminants with a 3-chambered stomach. There is much cud-chewing, so lots of clean water is important.
7-10 animals can be sustained on one acre of grazing land—but more can be pastured per acre with supplemental feeding.
Alpacas like wide-open spaces instead of being shut in a barn, so a three-sided shelter is all they need.
A good, stout no-climb fence is also necessary. Alpacas do not challenge fences, but it should be able to contain their small, curious babies (aka “cria.”)
It is important that an alpaca has the company of another alpaca. As herd animals they find safety in numbers. In the wild, an alpaca by itself would soon fall prey to mountain lions or coyotes, so it is very important that each alpaca feels the presence of others and is not alone.
An alpaca’s greatest need is for protection. They are virtually defenseless. Many farmers, besides providing the company of other alpacas, use livestock guardian dogs and guard llamas to protect their herds.
Dogs like Anatolians, Great Pyrenees, Komondors, etc., make wonderful companions for children and families as well as alpacas.
Herd guardian dogs are “working” breeds and need a job to do. They are big, friendly, and easy-going, but take their responsibility very seriously. They are guardians, not shepherds…they do not "herd" the alpacas like a sheepdog, but attentively stand guard to defend them with their lives from any predator.
Basic medications are given to prevent parasites like worms, the same as any other livestock, but are much easier to administer to alpacas.
Shearing is done once a year in springtime--around May up here in the mountains.
At lower elevations, summer heat can be a problem that alpacas face, but with plenty of shade, fresh water, and a cooling spray from the hose on the legs once in a while, they will be fine.
Aspen Ridge alpacas enjoy cool, fresh mountain air all summer long and heat-stress is never a concern.
And alpacas love the snow, that's why they grow all that exquisite fiber!