What You Need to Know About Running an Alpaca Farm
Camels have bad tempers, but when it comes to their cousin, the Alpaca, rest assured, these soft-coated animals with doe-like eyes are far more even-tempered. Perhaps that explains why we are seeing more and more Alpaca farms these days. Of course, there’s much more to raising them than the occasional shearing. Here’s what you need to know about running an Alpaca farm.
Why an Alpaca Farm?
It’s true. Alpacas are irresistible as pets, because they’re beautiful, small, and intelligent enough to be trained. They’re also ideal for hobbyist farmers and investors.
- Alpacas are gentle but hardy farm animals. They come in two varieties – Suri and Huacaya. The Suri has smooth, heavy wool. Huacaya fiber is shiny and curly. They’re sheared once a year at springtime and grow over 20 different colors of wool!
- Alpaca fiber is much lighter than sheep’s wool, which is renowned for its heaviness and warmth. Alpaca fiber is just as soft, but it’s 5 times warmer as well!
- Because Alpaca wool is light, warm, and strong, it’s considered a rare specialty fiber. It’s indistinguishable from cashmere, so it has become expensive. As a result, people are investing in Alpaca farms.
Creating A Safe Alpaca Farm
Running an Alpaca farm might seem like it’s low-maintenance, but there are several things to keep in mind, especially shelter.
- Alpacas need shelter when the weather gets hot, rainy, or cold. They don’t do well in extreme heat, so adequate cover is very important. An open-ended 12 x 12 foot corral shelter is both inexpensive and perfectly suitable for an Alpaca farm. If you need something slightly smaller, look at a cedar 8 x 12 double door boathouse shed.
- Alpacas grow to an average height of approximately 3 feet but drink 4 gallons of water per day. Not only do you need a sturdy shelter, you need something that is roomy enough for hay, water, food, and the Alpacas. Run-in sheds come in many different sizes and are also opened at both ends, allowing the animals to come and go as they please.
- These animals enjoy the company of their brethren. Regardless of whether your Alpaca farm is an investment, plan on owning at least 3 or more. To accommodate more animals, try a DIY project, and put together a spacious gambrel barn
- If you plan on breeding, purchase an enclosed shed for birthing. There are kits for enclosed sheds that offer 5 foot wide double doors, so an opening is available at other times. A quaint, 12 x 24 foot shed fits the bill. Decorate it with flower boxes or weathervanes to make your Alpacas feel at home.
It’s fun to own an Alpaca as a pet. It’s also fun to enjoy your status as the proud owner of an Alpaca farm. Fortunately, creating a haven for these animals is easy and won’t break the bank.