Alpacas have been a large part of our lives for about 15 years. We saw them at the Royal Agricultural Show (one of the last ones) Our daughter fell in love with them and we arranged to visit Fine Alpacas with a view to buying some. Maxine & Peter were great fun and we chose 4 lovely girls. They arrived in September and we’ve never looked back.
Alpacas are incredibly easy to look after. They need to be in a herd (one alpaca is not allowed). They are happy animals. They love to munch the grass and wander around. They do not need much attention although they are curious and will come and have a sniff if you are still, they are not in need of attention like dogs etc.
We feed them with a dry supplement food each day and they need a good quantity of hay each day. Fresh water is also required.
They have the most beautiful fleece. It is hypo allergenic. Their water proofing is not lanolin (which people are often allergic to). Their fibre is flat, like a human hair making it soft and fine. The best fleece is their first fleece as a baby. As they get older their fleece becomes courser and not as valuable. We shear them once a year. Not an easy job and not one that they enjoy but they do like the cool feel once it is removed.
We send our fleece away to be washed, carded and spun and it appears back in beautiful skeins a few months later.
Alpacas have a reputation for spitting. They do indeed spit, but only when they are really frightened. If they are going to spit you can see a large lump coming up the length of their neck, giving plenty of time to retreat!
Female alpacas do not have ‘seasons’ and ovulate when the boy is around. They are pregnant for 11 months. They only give birth when the weather is good and before lunchtime. This give the Cria (baby alpaca) time for the fleece to dry off and find their feet in case of preditors.
We started with 4 gorgeous girls. Party Girl. Cleo. Café and Princess Lea. We now have a lovely herd of 25 girls and boys and are hoping to have babies next year.