- Alpacas were a cherished
treasure of the ancient Incan civilization and
played an important role in the Incan culture that was
located on the Andean Plateau and high mountains of
South America (Peru, Chile
- Alpacas produce
and valuable fleece in a multitude of natural
colors. The worldwide fiber market officially recognizes 22 natural colors of alpaca
(they produce more natural colors than any other fiber producing
animal). Alpaca fleece is as soft as cashmere and warmer,
lighter, and much stronger than sheep wool. A single alpaca produces enough fleece each year to create several soft warm
sweaters for its owner's comfort. As a testimony to the quality of alpaca
fleece, clothing made of alpaca fiber was once reserved for
Incan royalty. Now spinners and weavers around the world can now appreciate
the luxurious fibers from the alpaca.
Be sure to read this fabulous article, titled
of the Alpaca Mummies"
from Discover Magazine.
- Today, there are
available to alpaca breeders.
- Raising alpacas is a growing industry and the demand for breeding
stock has been steady. Each animal is blood-typed and registered. As a
result the registry
bloodlines have been kept pure. The current alpaca industry is based on the sale of
quality breeding stock, which demands premium prices. With the small number of alpacas
currently available along with the slow reproduction rate of one baby per year per
animal, the market for these animals will continue many years into the future.
alpacas are actively raised for profit, all the expenses
attributable to this endeavor can be written off against
your income. Tangible property (breeding stock, barns,
fences) can be depreciated. Alpacas can also be
insured against loss. Alpaca breeding allows for tax
deferred wealth building (example: a small owner can
purchase several alpacas and then allow his herd to grow
over time without paying income tax on its increased size
and value). Another bonus that many will
appreciate is that alpacas do not require butchering in
order to be a profitable investment. A very helpful
IRS publication, #225, entitled The
Farmers Tax Guide,
obtained online or from your local IRS office.
- Alpacas are
part of a
They are beautiful, intelligent, gentle, clean, disease
resistant, earth-friendly farm animals. They are small, easy to handle and halter
train. In addition, they make wonderful pets that can be transported easily in the
- Alpacas are
They require little daily maintenance. An acre of land can pasture
5-10 alpacas. Good animal husbandry does require occasional
grooming, trimming of toenails and teeth, vaccinations, as well
as the annual or bi-annual shearing of the fleece.
were first imported in the US in 1984.
are members of the Camelid Family and are cousins to the Llama.
see the taxonomic classification (family tree) of the alpaca.
are two types of alpacas - the Huacaya (which has fiber that is
wooly in appearance) and the Suri (whose fiber hangs long in
silky, pencil sized ringlets).
Alpacas eat grasses
and chew a cud.
Instead of hooves,
alpacas have padded feet with two toes making them gentle on the
Alpacas require no
special fences or barns. Fences should be designed to keep out
dogs and coyotes.
lifespan of an alpaca is about 20-25 years
do not go "into heat". They are induced ovulators and
can be bred year-round.
period of a pregnant female is about 11.5 months; twins are
alpaca is called a cria and only weighs between 15 - 19 pounds at
average weight of an adult alpaca is about 150 pounds.
typical adult alpaca stands about 3 feet tall at the withers.
Alpacas will spit on
one another if sufficiently angered, but will rarely spit on
The Alpaca Registry
Inc. (ARI) has been established to document bloodlines. Alpacas must be blood
typed in order to be registered. Virtually every alpaca in the
U.S. is registered.