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About Alpacas


  • Alpacas are clean and intelligent.

  • They produce fibre that is as fine as cashmere, soft, silky and much warmer and stronger than sheep's wool.

  • Alpacas come in variety of colours, including white, black, brown, grey, fawn and any combination of these colours, the widest assortment of colours of any fibre bearing animal.

  • Alpacas are indigenous to the high Andes of the South American countries of Peru, Bolivia and Chile.

  • Qualify as Livestock and as such may offer tax advantages and incentives.

  • Are ideal for Hobby Farms and small acreages since 1 acre of productive pasture can sustain 5-8 animals.

  • Alpacas are quiet, peaceful animals and make soft humming sounds to communicate.

  • Alpacas are easy to raise, can be handled by anyone and are safe around children.

  • Alpacas are extremely hardy and adaptable to most climates, elevations and conditions.

  • Alpacas get along with goats, sheep, donkeys, horses, cats and family dogs.

  • Alpaca adults weigh an average of 125 to 175 pounds. They live 20 - 25 years.

  • Alpacas require little space. 1/8 of an acre is fine for one alpaca, if rotational grazing is practiced. A 4-foot field fence makes a sufficient enclosure.

  • Are suited to pasture on marginal land.

  • Alpacas eat 2 pounds of hay per day and 0.75 of a pound (around a cup) of a supplement per day.

  • Female alpacas are usually first bred at 18 months of age. Their gestation period averages 11½ months. Males are usually ready to breed between 2 and four years of age.

  • As a rule, alpacas give birth during the day, usually between 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM.

  • Alpacas make cleaning the corral an easy task, as they "go" in only a few spots.

  • Alpaca droppings are practically odourless and are excellent for enriching soil.

  • Alpacas are easily transported in a pick-up, van, or trailer. They usually lie down in transit.

  • Alpaca shows and competitions can promote a single alpaca or an entire herd.

  • Alpacas have a high aesthetic appeal.

  • Alpacas very rarely spit at people - usually only when nervous or overexcited.

Endearing Animals

Alpacas are small endearing animals of the camelid family. They were domesticated over 5,000 years ago, and became a cherished treasure of the ancient Incan civilization. Their fine cashmere-like fleece was reserved solely for royalty. These amazing animals provided the food, fuel and clothing for a civilization that thrived in an otherwise hostile environment.

Alpacas have a life span of 20-25 years. Adults weigh 100-175 lbs and stand 34-36 inches at the withers. Baby alpacas, called cria, generally weigh 14-20 lbs at birth. Gestation is around 11 months.


Alpacas communicate through soft humming noises and unique body language.

Today, in Canada, alpacas are raised for their exquisite fibre, and are enjoyed for their delightful personalities as well as their sound financial returns. Alpacas produce one of the world's finest and most luxurious fibres, known for its fineness, lustre, light weight and insulating quality, which is eight times warmer that of wool! With the exception of mohair, alpacas produce the strongest animal fibre in the world. As alpaca fibre becomes finer, this unique strength does not lessen, thus making it very desirable.

Alpacas have two different fleece types with quite different characteristics - huacaya-fleece and suri-fleece. Often the alpacas are referred to as simply huacaya or suri. The huacaya, the most common, has a crimped or wavy fleece whereas the suri has straight, lustrous, fine fibre. In full fleece, the huacaya has a full, fluffy appearance, while the suri is elegantly draped in long pencil locks.


Alpacas are the only animals in the world that come in so many different colours; there are 22 officially recognised. Prized for its unique silky feel and superb handle, alpaca fibre is highly sought after by the large textile manufacturers of Europe and Asia. Various worsted and woolen mills across Canada offer custom processing of alpaca fibre - carding, blending, dyeing, and processing into many products. Sweaters, blankets, mitts, socks, shawls, hats, and duvets can be purchased through various home based businesses.

Alpaca fleece is at the head of specialty fibre industries worldwide. They are clean, intelligent, peaceful animals that are easily handled and are safe around children; caring for them is not difficult. Fences should be designed to keep out dogs, coyotes, and other predators. A three-sided enclosure or lean-to is adequate for shade, as well as winter wind protection. Alpacas require 2 pounds of low protein hay daily, and fresh water. They require little space; 1/8th of an acre per animal is often sufficient if you can rotate the pasture regularly, making them an ideal small acreage livestock.


They defecate in fixed areas, thus clean-up and parasite control is a relatively easy job. Alpaca droppings are almost odourless, and are high in nitrogen and potassium, making them an excellent fertilizer. Alpacas are easily transported in a pick-up, van, or trailer and usually lie down in transit.


Alpacas are extremely hardy and adaptable to most climates, elevations, and conditions.


Raising Alpacas, a Rewarding Lifestyle

Alpacas offer a lifestyle with benefits and opportunities for the whole family. Relaxation, fun and a source of income are the rewards of raising these endearing animals.

-Alpaca Canada

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