5 Critical Resources for Raising Happy and Healthy Alpacas

Alpacas are basically irresistible. They’re precious, low-maintenance, and are sure to be a great addition to your family. You know this if you’ve ever visited alpaca farms in Maryland or elsewhere. But their near perfection aside, there are some things you need to have to give your alpaca the very best. Below is a list for your convenience!

1. Plenty of Room

Alpacas like to run and roam, and certainly enjoy their freedom to move. The best way to ensure you can offer this to your alpacas is to have lots of land. One acre is usually enough for five to ten alpaca, but more is better, especially if you want more alpaca.   You need to make room – you don’t want these sweet animals cramped or nervous for lack of space!  As we noted in an earlier post, also be sure that their pasture includes a sturdy shelter from the elements.

2. A Good Perimeter Fence

This is important for various reasons. First of all, a good fence will help keep predators away from your alpacas; as alpacas are very susceptible to attacks, this is vital. Strong fences with barbed wire are typically ideal.  Make sure the fence is high enough, too.  A good fence for an alpaca pasture should be 4 feet high.  As noted above, it’s important that the land inside the fence is spacious.  This isn’t only because of space requirements for the alpacas’ daily lives, but  because adequate space allows your alpacas to move away from perceived threats beyond the fence.

3. Protection

Even the best fence may not be enough to keep predators away. One common solution is to put your alpacas around other, sturdier animals (such as llamas or similar herd animals). It may also be a good idea to get a couple of good guard dogs to fight off predators and alert you if there’s trouble around. You can never be too cautious when it comes to your alpacas’ safety!

4. Shears or a Shearer

Shearing your alpacas isn’t all about collecting the fiber! Similar to shaving very furry dogs or regularly brushing a cat, shearing your alpacas is necessary to keep them clean and comfortable. Most people prefer to shear them during the spring, which will ensure that they’re cool during summer and warm during winter. Shearing them once a year also keeps their fleece from becoming matted and ugly. If you’re not comfortable doing it yourself, you can hire someone to do it for you for a decent price.

5. Other Alpacas

This is extremely important. The saying goes “no man is an island,” and this is true for alpacas as well. Alpacas are used to living in herds, and raising a social animal all by itself can have a negative impact on its health. We all know how it feels to be left alone for long periods of time; that’s why you should make sure your alpacas don’t have to experience that.  Socialization and companionship with each other is essential to alpacas’ well-being.

We hope you’ve learned something about alpacas, especially if you want some yourself. As long as your put these things into practice, you should be well on your way to raising a happy, healthy herd of lovely alpacas!

If you’d rather visit alpacas instead of raising them yourself, there are plenty of alpaca farms in Maryland for you to visit.  We would love to introduce you to our herd and show you the farm.  Email or call us to schedule a tour!

Caring for Alpacas: 5 Essential Facts

Alpacas are one the most interesting animals in the world. Caring for alpacas is not difficult – in fact, they are easy to keep and even easier to maintain. One of their major advantages is the fact that their fleece makes one of the strongest fibers and is used in many industries.

We have a lot of alpaca farms in MD. Farmers have already discovered that these friendly animals are worth keeping. How do you take care of an alpaca?

1. Build a good shelter for them

Though they have the capability to survive cold and harsh environments, it is advisable to build a good and comfortable shelter if you plan on keeping alpacas. During the summer when the sun is scorching hot, and the temperatures are high, provide a shaded area for them.

If you are grazing them, fence the grazing area to keep them safe from predators. You do not know what’s lurking out there.

Always make sure that the shelter is clean.

2. Provide vet care for them

Alpacas also need medical care just like human beings. You will not spend much on their medical bills, but you must be willing to part with some money.

Familiarize yourself with various alpaca diseases and their symptoms. This will help you to know when an animal is unwell and call a licensed veterinarian for a consultation.

They should also be vaccinated twice every year. The vaccine is the same as that used for sheep.

3. Feed them well

For your alpacas to grow strong and healthy, you will have to feed them well and adequately. Typically, they feed on grass and hay, but they also take specialist concentrated foods. Alpaca food is cheap and easily available, so you don’t have to worry about a thing.

You should ensure that they do not feed on poisonous weeds like ragwort while they are grazing. They should also be regularly supplied with clean water.

Most alpaca farms in MD allow farmers who are interested in keeping them to visit and learn more about them.

4. Carefully breed them

An alpaca is ready for breeding at only 18 months old!  However, you should be very careful when breeding your alpacas, especially if you choose to do it yourself.

A baby alpaca, which is referred to as a cria, should not be hand-reared unless there is no other option. This is because managing them might turn out to be difficult as they grow older.

5. Shear them once a year

Alpacas should be sheared once a year since they produce fiber. Shearing should happen primarily during the spring to enable them to comfortably deal with the humid summers. This greatly enhances their survival chances even under harsh conditions.

An alpaca shearer who is experienced takes at most 7 minutes to shear one animal. Shearing is a critical maintenance task, and it should never be missed.

Successful alpaca farms in MD are enough evidence that caring for alpacas is easy and rewarding. The benefits are also great and farmers enjoy huge profits. If you can keep a sheep or any other domestic animal, you can also keep alpacas. Trust me, you will love them!