Getting ready for your Alpacas
Housing: Alpacas need shelter from wind rain snow and hot sun. However they don’t like small enclosures. If it looks like a cozy little warm place to you, it probably looks like a trap to your alpacas. It’s hard to say exactly how much inside space your alpacas need, since personalities are different, but your herd will probably grow bigger than you plan, so make the first shelter you build as large as you can. We have a 10 foot overhangs on 3 sides of our barn and no matter what the weather, that is the favorite place of most alpacas. They can see all around them, but have protection from the weather. Being prey animals, they do not feel comfortable unless they can see around them, and also see an exit path (or two) if they are inside. If you can catch your alpaca easily inside your barn, I bet your alpaca will not like to go in there too often! When new alpacas come to our ranch, I have 5 doors inside the barn that I will open so they feel safe and know that they can escape if they feel threatened by anything.
Pasture: Alpacas love grass. Orchard grass is the best grass for them. They will nibble on lots of other things, but a pasture dense with orchard grass is one of the best things you can provide for them. If you do not have enough irrigation to support pastures everywhere, consider an area that you can irrigate and allow then to eat grass occasionally. Toxic plants and weeds are everywhere. Your local county extension agent can help you identify what is growing in your pastures and you can treat accordingly. WARNING: DO NOT USE any pesticide with 2 4 D in it. It is highly toxic to alpacas! Even if the nice guy at the feed store says it’s OK, DO NOT USE anything with 2 4D on the label. We find pulling weeds is sometimes the only safe way to remove them.
How much pasture do they need? You can graze 5 – 10 per acre, but they always need more room to run. Once you see a group of crias race around at dusk, you will see how important running space is for them.
Supplies: A list of supplies can be found here, but this is for my area, and your needs might be different. This should be enough to get you started. Don’t wait for a crisis to have these things on hand!! The cria kit ordered at Useful Lama items needs a few things to be added: A bottle of Karo Syrup and a shoelace. Trust me if you need these later, you wont have time to run to the store.
For Fun: A dirt hill in the pasture will give your alpacas hours of enjoyment and you will have fun watching them too!
This is a very good article from another website that you might find helpful too: Planning pastures and physical layouts by Fireweed Ranch
Did you just inherit or rescue alpacas? Click here for more helpful information. Click here for consultations.
If you are a Blue Moon Ranch customer please know that you can call me any time if you have any concerns about your alpacas. I also answer email every few hours throughout the day so you can ask me any questions that way too.
Is there something else you’d like to see here? Let me know. 🙂
For fiber testing , we use: Yocum Mccoll