The Top 10 Things Needed to Own an Alpaca

Top things needed to properly own an alpaca

Since the 1980s, the demand for alpacas has grown considerably despite the plummeting global economic status. These camelids were first imported into the United States at the beginning of 1984 from Peru, Chile, Bolivia, and Ecuador. All over the globe, people refer to them as “the world’s wealthiest livestock business.”

Indeed, alpacas are beyond adorable. These animals grow to about half the size of a llama and can be brown, white, black, or any other intermediate shade. Alpacas do not butt or bite, and are free of sharp horns, teeth, claws, and hooves. They are easy to work with because they are quite docile. This article will tell you the top ten things needed to own an alpaca if you are interested in purchasing one from the alpaca farms in MD.

1. Enough Fenced Land

At least one acre of land is needed for every five to ten alpacas. The fence needs to be at least four and a half to five feet tall and strong, with openings of about four inches apart to ensure your alpaca does not break it or jump over it. A strong and properly constructed fence will also keep coyotes and wandering dogs from attacking your alpacas when they are out of the security of their farm and herd.

2. Shelter

Alpacas need to have enough protection from the sun, wind, rain, and snow. Also, you should be able to keep your alpaca cool during summer and warm during winter. A three-sided farm structure facing south or east works just fine. You should also consider having a barn where your alpacas will have the choice of staying in or moving out into the adjoining strips or paddocks.

3. Leads and Halters

To avoid fighting your alpaca every time you need to transport it from one place to another, you need snugly fitting leads and halters. The alpaca halter should fit properly with the nose band high on the bridge close to the alpaca’s eyes, and not loose or low as in the case of cows and horses.

4. Alpaca Blankets

Some alpacas get colder than others. Even though you might not use it frequently, it is important to acquire alpaca blankets for the cold seasons. A $60 alpaca blanket is a worthwhile investment.

5. Feeding/Water Containers and Troughs

Alpacas need approximately three inches of feeding area to keep them from feeling overcrowded and in competition for the available feed with other alpacas in the herd. Thus, using large feeding troughs to hold their hay is recommended. If you are using 60-pound bales, purchase or create a feeding box that fits the bale and then put a 4 x 4 hog wire panelling on top to allow the alpacas to easily pick the grass without getting it in their topknots. Furthermore, gallon buckets are needed to refresh your alpaca with good and fresh water daily. It is also vital to clean and scrub the water buckets regularly to prevent bacterial/parasite growth and slime/algae buildup.

6. First Aid Kit

An alpaca first aid kit is necessary for emergencies and for routine care. The first aid kit should contain items like splints, large bandages, a bottle of saline solution, an aspirator bulb, natural tears, alcohol for sterilization, a tube of Terramycin for their eyes, a thermometer, cotton or first-aid tape/gauze, a stethoscope, sterile gloves, lubricants like Vaseline, and much more. Consult your vet to know exactly what to put in your first aid kit.

7. Toe and Teeth Supplies

You need normal garden trimmers to trim the toes of your alpaca. Also, you can get rid of overgrown teeth using an appropriate teeth grinder/clipping tool like Tooth-o-Matic.

8. A Scale

A scale will be required to take the weight of the cria or the pounds of feed needed to satisfy your alpaca in a day.

9. Manure Utilities

You will also need to have appropriate manure tools, for instance, shovels, rakes, and a wheel barrow to muck away the manure to the compost heap.

10. Alpaca Reference Books

Alpaca reference materials like The Alpaca Field Manual and The Alpaca Magazine will help you and your vet determine potential issues when they arise and what to do.

Alpaca products such as wool and fiber have vast benefits including creation of products like pillows, blankets, yarn, mittens, weed-block, and much more. Additionally, you can decide to use your alpaca for breeding or to supply top quality manure to greenhouses. Taking up alpaca farming is simple because these animals have a trouble-free and relatively long reproductive lifespan. What’s more, these animals can be fully insured against any uncertainties. Not everything has to be new to own an alpaca. Being resourceful and creative can help to cut most expenses when starting an alpaca farm.