Alpaca Farms New York

Alpaca Farms New York

New York Alpaca Farm

Alpaca Facts

  • An Alpaca is a member of the camelid family (Vicuņa, Guanaco, Llama and Alpaca).
  • Alpacas are native to the Andes Mountain Range of South America. Primarily found in Peru, Bolivia and Chile.
  • There are two kinds of Alpacas, Huacaya (wah-KI-ya) and Suri (surrey).
  • The main physical difference between the two is their fleece:
  • The Huacaya has a waviness or crimp which gives them the appearance of being very fluffy.
  • Suris have no crimp, but instead their fiber clings to itself and forms pencil locks that hang down the body giving it a silky appearance.
  • The Alpaca stands approx. 36" tall at the withers (top of the shoulders) and weighs between 100-200 lbs.
  • Alpacas are raised and valued for their fleece, which is sheared once a year and turned into yarn, rovings (continuous twisted strand) or felt.
  • The gestation period of an alpaca is 11-12 months, and a baby alpaca is called a cria.
  • Alpacas are herd animals and need at least one companion of the same gender.
  • A herd of 6-10 alpacas can be raised on as little as one acre of pasture, with fresh water supplied daily and additional grains supplemented at the owner's preference.
  • Alpaca owner's have found raising alpacas to be a wonderful and relaxing lifestyle.

    Alpaca FAQ

    What is an alpaca?

    Native of South American Mountains (altiplano region of Peru, Chile and Bolivia) Pseudo ruminant (cud chewer) that primarily eats forages and browses "Sheep Size"... 36 inches tall and weighs about 125-175 lbs. Lives twenty or more years, ready for breeding at two years of age Has one baby (cria) after a nearly year long gestation Distant relative to the camel and cousin to the larger llama Two types: sure ("surry") and huacaya ("wa ki ya") First imported into the USA in 1984.

    Are alpacas hard to raise?

  • Stocking rate of about 15 times horse density per acre
  • Low feed cost... about $250 per year
  • Minimal veterinary needs... yearly shots and occasional worming
  • Inexpensive fencing is the norm as alpacas do not challenge fences
  • Daytime birthing 80-90% of time... 8:00am - 3:00

    Why are alpacas so valuable?

  • Small numbers... about 60,000 in the USA and no more importations allowed
  • Stable prices for more than 25 years
  • DNA verified and low cost registry (ARI)
  • Strong national breeders association (AOBA)
  • Superb fleece as soft as cashmere
  • Alpaca fiber is stronger than wool and several times more insulating
  • World wide sale of alpaca fiber for over 100 years
  • Not an exotic animal... "alpacas are livestock" (IRS section 179)

    What farm management is appropriate for alpacas?

  • One acre of pasture can typically support 6-8 alpacas
  • Good supply of fresh water
  • Appropriate horse type fencing
  • Supply of good quality winter forage
  • Shelter from winter wind
  • Protection from feral dogs
  • Yearly spring shearing

    What is the status of the fiber market?

  • Strong world wide market for alpaca fiber
  • Alpaca fiber has been known for over 2,000 year as a luxury fiber
  • Alpaca fleece is very light, doesn't itch or have "wet sheep" odor
  • Alpaca fiber is not allergenic
  • Processing mills are developing regionally
  • Co-ops and fiber pools are rapidly expanding

    What forages are good for alpacas?

  • Moderate protein (10-12%); 58-62% TDN
  • Late gestation/lactating females can use 15-18% forages
  • Alpacas require moderate dietary copper
  • Mold and plants poisonous to sheep (i.e. rhododendron) can be deadly
  • Blister beetle in alfalfa kills alpacas (like horses)
  • Bermuda grass (south) and orchard grass (north) are superb forages

    Odd facts about Alpacas:

  • Male alpacas "sing" to the female while breeding
  • Steroids, even 1% topical, will cause abortions
  • Alpaca manure is virtually odorless (NPK 1-2-1)
  • Dams are incredibly good mothers
  • Males are very gentle and do not challenge adults or children
  • Crias can gain 0.5-1.0 lb per day
  • 2,4-D can kill Alpacas
  • Alpacas have no front upper teeth (like cows)
  • Males have "fighting teeth" (like pigs)
  • Alpacas love water and enjoy being misted during very hot weather

    For more information visit the Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association (AOBA) website at alpacainfo.com

    Alpaca Fiber

    Alpacas produce a luxurious fleece that is sheared from the animal once a year in the spring. No harm comes to the animal in this process. An average year's growth for an adult alpaca is 2-6 inches in length, resulting in 5-13 pounds of fiber. Alpaca fiber is prized for its fineness, softness, strength, lightness, and lack of "prickle". The fineness of the fleece varies from 14-30 microns (1/25,000 of an inch) in diameter, with the finest fleeced alpacas being sought after by breeders and buyers. Alpacas have a wider range of naturally occurring colors than other fiber-producing animals, with 22 distinct colors being recognized by The Alpaca Registry. Alpaca fiber is spun into specialty yarns that are then knitted and woven into luxurious, warm and long-wearing garments.



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