Great Tips On Starting An Alpaca Farm

Great Tips On Starting An Alpaca Farm

Alpacas are some of the rarest and most amazing farm animals in America. They prefer colder climates but easily adapt to the warmer summer climates of seasonal areas. They originate from the Andes Mountains but they have dense areas of population an many areas of the world.  They are frequently thought of as mini llamas but are not pack animals like the llama at all and in fact, they make much nicer pets than the llama. Here is a look at some of the tips on starting an alpaca farm:

How much land?

First things first! When starting an alpaca farm, before you even buy the alpaca, you will need to set up a section of land that will accommodate them. Alpaca are pack animals by nature. To accommodate their natural living preferences, you will want to have a decent amount of land. Depending on the farmer and the pack, an acre of land can accommodate from 5-10 alpaca comfortably. In general the larger the area the better you can separate areas for rotational grazing. If you only about an acre, don’t be discouraged. Alpaca aren’t likely to ruin your lawn but if you don’t have the space to rotate, consider supplementing your alpaca with hay or grain.  The one separation that is a must to prevent unwanted breeding is a male pen and a female pen. When you are preparing the land, keep in mind that there are some plants that will be toxic to these animals. Some plants like poppies, buckwheat and acorns are poisonous to alpacas, so you will want to remove them around the land that you have prepared.

Build a barn

Alpacas need a barn so that they have somewhere to eat and sleepWhen you have your land ready, the next thing you will want to do is construct a barn that will act as a shelter for the alpacas. You will not need to worry about the cold winter season, since they have a thick fur that will keep them warm. However, you will still need to construct a barn for extra protection, especially during the summer. The barn will create a shelter that will keep them cool and away from the direct sunlight, which can be uncomfortable for them. Ensure that you choose good material that will be u for the roof of the barn. It should be able to help control the temperature. Avoid using iron sheets as the roofing materials for the barn.

Enclose the land with a fence

You are going to need to put up a fenceYou will also need to ensure that you have secured your land with the right fence. The alpacas will behave like any other animal, whereby, they would walk out of the secluded zone. For that, you will need to erect a fence around the land. The fence should be between 4 and a half to 5 feet tall. You can either use boards or woven wire, which should be no more than 4 inches apart. This will prevent the possibilities of having their head stuck in between the boards. You can use the no-climb fence, along with electric wire that is placed on the outside, bottom and top, for the sake of keeping intruders and predators away.

Find a Reliable veterinarian

When you have mastered starting an alpaca farm, you will want to find a veterinarian that has knowledge about the alpacas. Ensure that the vet is near, for the sake of checkups, emergencies and other routine shots. It is advised to seek professional help, in case you are not capable of delivering such services yourself. For the sake of routine checkups, you can learn from the professional and carry them later on your own. This will help you save up money that you would spend to hire the professional for the services.

Create a business plan

When you have checked that the land is ready, along with the necessary features put into place, you will now be ready to start your business. A business plan will be an important aspect that you will want to consider. When creating the business plan for the alpacas, here are some factors you will want to include;
• The mission. You will want to define what you would achieve from the alpacas, whether you will just keep them as pets, or you will sell them full-time.
• Business service/product. Consider how you would breed the alpacas.
• The marketing plan. Determine how other people, who are interested in the animals, will know about them.
• The competition. Ensure you know who your competitor is and what defines them.
• Risks and opportunities. Specify the things that can go wrong and what are the opportunities that you would capture.
• The capital requirements. Specify the number of alpacas that you will need to start an alpaca farm, in relation to the cost of each alpaca. Calculate the cost of fencing and other supplies. You should also include the calculation of the promotion and advertising as well as the creation of a website. A website will be quite vital, since you will market your alpacas easier.
• The Projected gross farm income. Here, you will include the expenses and revenue of the first, through the fourth year. This will help you determine if you are making profits or losses.
• The herd plan. Here, you will need to categorize the herd of alpacas that you have, in relation to the female and male breeds. Ensure that you categorize the alpaca that sells most, whether male or female. This will help you know what to invest in most. You should also indicate the alpacas that require more attention, in terms of care and medication. This should be presented and compared in the first, through the fourth year.
• The cash flow and break even analysis. This will be very vital to determine when you started making profits and if the cash flow is reliable enough.

Advice when raring alpacas

Typically, the alpacas tend to be tolerant animals, meaning that they can bear any health condition or discomfort for a long time, without you even realizing. This implies that if they have any disease, they will endure it and it would be too late once you notice symptoms. For that reason, it is highly advised to always perform routine checkups on the alpacas, to ensure that their health is good. This will help you save your alpacas and avoid any possible deaths, which will be a negative effect on the business.

Learning the Health Benefits of Shearing Alpacas and How To Find a Good Shearer

Shearing Alpacas and How To Find a Good Shearer


Introduction


Since the beginning of time, alpacas have been a valuable investment for farmers, investors and animal lovers. These animals are treasured for their soft fleece which is a very valuable raw material in the textile industry.  Alpaca clothing is made as an option for high-end designer outfits, which are popular today. This silky natural fiber can either be light or heavy in weight, depending on how it’s spun. Although the material you get from shearing alpacas is similar to wool that is obtained from sheep, it is much warmer, smoother and has no lanolin, causing consumers to have fewer allergic reactions than other animal materials. Also, the fleece is naturally water-repellent. Because of these qualities, this material is highly valuable and dealing in it can be a lucrative investment for everyone.


”Shearing Alpacas”: Health Benefits for Your Animals


Cutting off all that extra hair1) Shearing Makes It Easier To Detect Diseases or Any Other Problem Early Enough

Shearing provides an easier way for you to assess your animals’ body condition. Most farmers don’t think about this, but when your alpacas have all of their fleece on, it is very hard to visibly inspect their body condition. Shearing allows for easier inspection with just a visible check and this enables you to detect any problem any one of your animals may have before it turns into something very severe.

2) Shearing Makes It Easier for the Animals to See Properly

Cutting shorter the topknot of alpacas makes it easier for the animals to see well. If left unchecked, this fur may grow over the eyes to the point where you are forced to cut it back with perhaps scissors on your own. A shearer is able to cut the top knot back and make it easier for your animals to see where they are going

3) Removal of the Heavy ‘Coat’ which Rests On the Backs of Alpacas.

Alpacas generally grow a massive fur coat. This coat, just like a jacket or sweater keeps them warm during cold season. Come hot season, we are able to take off our sweaters but alpacas can’t remove their heavy coats on their own and they don’t even shed the coat like other animals do. Shearing them removes the heavy coat and prepares them for the warmer spring and summer months.

4) Shearing Makes Alpacas Feel Much More Comfortable

Shearing alpacas takes off any fiber that may have been irritating to the animals. By having your flock sheared, you will remove the tufts of fleece that have been bugging them. Removing these mats will provide welcome relief to the alpaca. In other words, shearing alpacas just makes them more comfortable!


How to Obtain the Fleece: “Shearing Alpacas”


Looking good after thier fresh new haircutAlpaca Shearing is an annual event for those who keep these harmless mammals and several shearing techniques have been developed over time. Like sheep, alpacas need to be shorn to keep them healthy as you have seen. As mentioned before, the alpaca’s “wool” is a valuable commodity and good cutting is vital for being able to market your fleece as the highest quality. While the procedure may look simple, it is actually not.

There are people who specialize in ”shearing alpacas’’; and hiring them to do the job is usually quite helpful. A good shearer will shear your flock the way you want, do a great job, be dependable and quote a competitive price. You can expect them to do the following:

  • Not ask for additional tips but instead let you decide whether or not to give this depending on how satisfactory their work is.
  • Inform you early enough if they are going to be late. Sometimes a previous shearing job may take longer than expected. If so, a good professional should be polite enough to notify you in time so you don’t spend the better part of your day, worrying that they are not going to show up.
  • Be extremely careful not to infect your healthy flock with diseases from other farms.
  • Avoid serious cuts, especially on the delicate areas such as penis, ears, and so on.
  • Handle your stock safely, especially pregnant females.

If a professional doesn’t live up to your expectations, make a note not to rehire them. However, most shearers are good professionals and work hard.


Tips for Finding a Shearer


  • Finding someone who knows how to shear well can be quite daunting. This calls for planning beforehand so as to avoid last minute disappointments. Be sure to contact one early enough to get on their schedule.
  • Bear in mind that some professionals only work in certain seasons whereas others shear all seasons. Some will travel from one place to another to offer their services whereas others will not agree to go beyond their hometown. Because of this, it is imperative that you contact as many professionals as possible to find the right one for your needs.
  • If you keep a small number of animals,the cost of shearing will be high. It may be higher if you have uncontrollable animals, a mixture of breeds or inadequate facilities. When setting a budget,do not forget to consider these factors in order to avoid last minute disappointment.Once the job is done, ensure they are fully compensated for set-up times, travel costs as well as any inconvenience so that they will come back next time.

Control of your animals is essential while shearing because this provides efficiency and safety for them and the person who is shearing them. The more familiar they are with human interaction, the less likely they are to be scared and fight the process so be sure to train them to get used to human beings.

  • Coordinate with other farmers near you to get a professional in your area.
  • Be flexible. For instance,are you able to spare a day in your routine for shearing? Will you not be inconvenienced if the shearer shows up earlier than expected? Provide your shearer with several options.

Our Alpaca Clothing For Kids

Our Alpaca Clothing For KidsHer at Alpaca Valley Farms, we sell all sorts of Alpaca clothing for kids and adults. Alpaca Clothing is warm, durable, and so soft that you won’t even believe it. This makes the material perfect for making clothing that children will love to wear.

Alpacas are social herd animals that have been raised in mountainous regions of South America for thousands of years. The wool that they produce is cheered once a year and then spun into yarn. That yard is turned into all sorts of products that you can find everywhere.

The fiber that Alpacas produce is five times warmer than wool but not itchy like those socks your mom made you wear in the winder! Statistically speaking, Alpaca fiber is the softest luxury fiber available. That means that is even softer than silk and cashmere.

What makes Alpaca clothing for kids so popular is that the clothing is naturally hypoallergenic. Alpacas do not produce lanolin, so they naturally do not contain allergens. With allergies at an all time high and on the rise, a warm type of clothing that does not itch or cause allergic reactions is great news.

We sell all sorts of Alpaca clothing for kids in our store below. We have socks, sweaters, shawls and a wide verity of other clothing items. Take a look around and make sure to keep us in mind for all of your Alpaca Clothing needs in the future.

More On Alpacas

More On AlpacasAlpacas are social herd animals, meaning that they need to be kept together in groups. They do not do well alone with no social interaction at all.

They are classified as prey animals in the scientific world, meaning that they are at the bottom of the food chain. While they have plenty of predators, they do not kill anything besides the grass they eat. While they do spit, their go to defense move is outrun whatever is chasing them.

Most of the Alpaca clothing for children that you will see sold is imported from Peru. They are the leading exporter of Alpaca fiber and products in the world. We do not provide enough Alpaca fiber in The United States to warrant a large scale production of Alpaca products. Most of what we do here is done with “mom and pop shops” in the cottage industry.

Larger conglomerates have had trouble producing Alpaca fiber on a large scale in The United States because they only produce one offspring a year. This makes it hard for someone to start producing on a large scale in a fast manner. Most fiber used for producing Alpaca clothing for kids comes from small owner operated farms.

This lack of supply and huge demand is the reason for the high prices that you will see. Since the fiber is mainly produced outside of The United Sates, you have to pay extra for the shipping, taxes, and fees to get it from South America to your closet.

Alpaca Facts and FAQ

Is An Alpaca A Good Pet?
What do Alpacas Eat?
Do Alpacas Need to Be Fenced In??
Do Alpacas Need Shelter?
How Much Room Does An Alpaca Need?
How Much Do Alpacas Weigh?
How Much Does An Alpaca Cost?
Do Alpacas Spit?

Is An Alpaca A Good Pet?

It depends on your definition of a pet. If you are looking for an animal that hangs out in the backyard without needing much care other than a feeding twice a day, than yes. They will be perfectly happy with you feeding them, going to work, and then feeding them again when you get home.

If you are looking for a pet that is going to come running to be pet when you pull in the driveway, then you don’t want an Alpaca. Alpacas are prey animals and are used to running away from anything that is not an Alpaca. They may get used to you enough that you can get a quick stroke in, but they will not come up and brush against you seeking attention. Read over our Alpaca Facts and then you can decide that answer for yourself.

What do Alpacas Eat?

What do Alpacas Eat?Alpacas are ruminants, or mammals that are able to acquire nutrients from plant-based food. They eat vegetation all day and then regurgitate it so that it can be chewed again. This allows them to be very efficient digesters since they eat vegetation with very low protein and mineral count.

They are best fed with pasture grown grasses and whatever else they find. They will mow the grass for you without ripping up the roots, allowing the grass to grow back if you rotate pastures. They are best suited for low protein grasses and high protein foods will disrupt fiber production.

During winter months, and in areas without pastures, the answer to “what do Alpaca’s eat” is a little different. They will need to be fed with hay purchased from your local farming store. Second cut hay is almost always best for an Alpaca and supplemental grain may need to be added to balance the diet.

Do Alpacas Need Shelter?

Yes, Alpacas need shelter to shed them from natural elements and protect them from overheating. It is also a good idea to shelter them so that they can stay out of the rain and keep their fleece protected.

Depending on where you live, you might just need a run in shelter, or maybe a full blown barn. A run in shelter is perfect for areas that do not get too cold in the winter. Keep in mind that Alpaca are native to cold environments, but Antarctica might be a little much for them!

Do Alpacas Need to Be Fenced In?

If you have a large enough pasture area, a fence may not be absolutely necessary but it is always a good idea. Half of the reason for a fence is to keep your animals in but the other half is keep predators out. A good fence will keep the Coyotes, or whatever local predators you encounter, out of your farm.

Check with local farms to see what size fence is common in your area. They will be able to give you some good insight on what you need to be able to protect yourself so that you know what kind of fencing to purchase. We also have other great Alpaca facts on this page for your to check out.

How Much Room Does An Alpaca Need?

How Much Room Does An Alpaca Need?This depends largely on what you are trying to achieve. If you are trying to keep your costs low and feed strictly on pasture foods, then you will need to stay below 5-6 Alpacas per acre of land. If you are ok with purchasing hay and feeding them that way, then you can safely fit 15-20 Alpaca on a single acre of land.

Alpaca do not need much room and will mostly stick in a group with the rest of the heard. They need enough room to walk around and that’s just about it. As long as they can get away from each other if a fight erupts, then you should be all set.

How Much Do Alpacas Weigh?

A full grown Alpaca can range between 130 and 170 pounds. Full grown males will be on the high end of that range, while females are on the low end. They are large animals, but about half the size of a llama.

How Much Does An Alpaca Cost?

Alpaca prices vary greatly in price. If you are just looking for a pet or fiber producing Alpaca that is not going to breed or expand your farm, then you are looking to spend about $400 an animal. If you are looking to purchase animals that will breed and grow your farm, then you are going to spend a whole lot more.

Alpaca that are Proven (have breed successfully) are worth more money because they are known to have had a live birth and provide properly for their young. If they are unproven, they are still going to be higher in price than a pet, but you are taking a chance on whether or not they will breed.

Most people looking to start their own heard will purchase the best quality females that they can afford. The farm that sells them to you will typically get them pregnant for you as well. This way you are really purchasing 6 Alpaca instead of the 3 that you are bringing home. That farm will also help you get on your feet by providing answers to simple questions like “what to Alpacas eat” and “do Alpacas spit”.

Once you have read all of our Alpaca facts, head over to how much does an Alpaca costs for more great information on this topic.

Do Alpacas Spit?

Yes, Alpacas do spit when they feel threatened. Unlike Llamas though, Alpacas are not like to spit on humans unless you really make them mad. If you get spit on, you most likely got caught in the crossfire between two Alpacas that are arguing.

Thanks for Reading our list of Alpaca Facts, we hope to see you again sometime soon!

Are You Looking For An Alpaca Shawl?

Are You Looking For An Alpaca Shawl?Alpaca Shawls are one of the new statements in the fashion world. An accessory that is made from all natural renewable materials is also guaranteed to gain in popularity in the coming years. An Alpaca Shawl can keep your neck warm while also make you look great in the process. Check out the shawls that we have for sale below.

Super Soft Baby Alpaca Wool Reversible Shawl

This luxurious reversible Alpaca shawl is sure to make you look like a movie star. It is made from 100% baby Alpaca fiber to ensure that they are as soft as possible. The silky smooth texture is made to last while ensuring that you are no bothering by itchiness while you wear it.

They are available in a few amazing colors and are stocked at Amazon so that you don’t have to wait for them to be imported. This particular piece measures at inches wide and 90 inches long.

Handmade Alpaca Shawl Wrap

This Alpaca Shawl is hand knitted to be 31 inches wide and 65 inches long without counting the fringes. They are designed to provide you with softness, luster, lightness, and durability at a great price. This is the perfect shawl if you are looking to splurge and spoil yourself for a change.

More About Alpacas

More about AlpacaAlpacas produce some of the softest fiber on the planet. The fiber they produce is softer than cashmere, yet it is warmer than wool. They have been raised for their fiber and meat in South America for thousands of years and The United States is just starting to catch on.

These animals are pack animals, meaning they are social and need to be kept with other Alpaca to stay happy. Traditionally, all of the females and castrated males would be kept in a large herd while the breeding males are kept in a different area out of site of the females. They are only brought in when they are needed to breed with another female.

Most of the fiber and product in The United States now is imported from Peru where the fiber is produced in massive quantities. We have no reached this level yet in the states because Alpaca only reproduce one baby a year, making it very difficult to scale a farm quickly.

The low supply and high demand brings extremely high prices to the market. Even the raw fiber is sold for a high premium, which makes the price of the finished product that much higher.

How Alpaca Clothing is Made

As you may or may not know, a super soft Alpaca shawl does not fall off the animal every day for the breeder to go collect. It is a tedious process to get from the hair on an Alpacas back to the product that you see sold in stores.

The first step in this process is to sheer the Alpaca once a year to collect all of the fiber. The fiber collected from different parts of the animal is rated differently, the back of the animal being the mail piece. A single Alpaca will produce $500 or more in fiber a year to be sold or used to produce goods.

Most breeders sell the fiber there and move on with their life, but other farms do produce their own goods. The next step for those farms, or the production mills, is to “skirt” the fiber to remove all debris or unwanted fiber. They lay it out on a table and remove and vegetable matter and check for quality.

Wash and dry

Once the fiber is clean and all close to the same length, they will gently wash and dry it. They must do this in a very precise manner so that they don’t felt the fiber and ruin the product. Once it is clean, they will let it dry on drying racks until all moisture is removed.

Picking

The next step is to “pick” the fiber so that it is not clumped together when they attempt to spin it. This is done either by hand or with a picking machine if large quantities. This process will prepare the fiber for the next step.

Carding

Before the fiber can be turned into a nice Alpaca Shawl it needs to be carded and then spun. Carding is the name of the process where the fiber is stretched and separated so that it is ready to be spun. The end result is a roll of material that can be fed into the spinner and turned into yarn

Spinning

This is the last step in the process of turning the fiber into an end product. The spinner will take the carded fiber and feed it slowly into the spinning wheel that turns the product into yarn. That yarn is then knitted into the end products that you see above.

Alpaca Socks That Will Keep You Warm

Alpaca Socks That Will Keep You WarmIf you are a fan of warm and comfortable socks, then you should be a fan of Alpaca socks. They are the perfect material for socks that are going to keep your feet warm while skiing or sitting at the bar in the lodge.

They Are As Soft As An Alpaca

These socks are made from Alpaca fiber, one of the softest materials on the planet. The material is often compared to wool, but it is not even comparable when it comes to softness. The younger the Alpaca, the softer the fiber produced will be in most cases. Some of the most successful Alpaca breeders have been able to breed Alpacas that produce baby quality fiber well into their teen years.

As Light As A Feather

Alpaca Fiber is warmer and more durable than wool, yet it is much lighter. This allows you Alpaca socks lo be lightweight so that you can wear them with just about any shoes. They are not the socks to buy if you are looking to stuff your shoe and wear a larger shoe size!

They Are Oder free

Unlike Wool and Other smelly materials, Alpaca fur does not contain lanolin. This means that it is naturally non-smelly and greasy. In fact, Alpacas don’t even attract flies like most other farm animals. The fiber can be shaved and spun without having to go through the hassle of cleaning like you do with wool.

It’s Even Hypoallergenic

Because the fiber does not contain lanolin, Alpaca socks are naturally hypoallergenic. You will not have to worry about allergies or itchiness when you are wearing this great product.


 Check out our Alpaca Sock store below. We also have listed reviews on our recommendations at the bottom of this page.



Extreme Alpaca Socks

These Alpaca wool socks feature the largest percentage of Alpaca out of any production Alpaca socks. They are 75% Alpaca with a blend of other materials to help keep shape and size. These socks are way more comfortable than the wool socks your mom used to make you wear, yet they are 5 times warmer.

Many companies have tried to imitate these extreme Alpaca socks, but not one can produce the same quality. These socks are worn by US troops in Afghanistan and by hikers all over the world.

Warrior Alpaca Socks – Men’s Argyle Baby Alpaca Socks

If you are looking for ultimate comfort, then you need these socks. They are made from baby Alpaca, or Alpaca fiber from the first sheering of the animal. This fiber is the softest it will ever be and still have the same warmth and durability as adult fiber.

This product is warm, comfortable, and so thin that you can wear them with any type of shoe imaginable. They are perfect for your everyday worker bee that likes to have warm feet!

Geometric Floral Patterned Crew Alpaca Socks Premium Quality – AndeanSun

If you are looking for a fashionable crew sock, then this is what you need. Made from 50% alpaca fiber, blended with other materials to maintain size and shape. These crew socks make it possible to where luxury socks at any occasion.

 More About Alpacas

Alpaca are herd animals that are native to the mountainous regions of South America. They have been bred and raised there for thousands of years for their fiber and meat. Here in The United States, we raise them primarily for the fiber that they produce.

That fiber is three to five times warmer than wool, depending on who you ask. It is also one of the softest materials on earth, being softer that cashmere. As if that was not good enough, the fiber is also extremely durable. So durable that they actually use it to make rugs as well as Alpaca wool socks and other items that need to be as soft as possible.

The Alpaca are social herd animals, meaning that they need to live in packs of at least a few to remain happy. Most of the products on the market are produce in Peru because there is not enough fiber production in The United States to mass produce the clothing that the market requires.

How To Care For An Alpaca Cria

How To Care For An Alpaca Cria

A Cria is a baby Alpaca or an Alpaca that is less than one year old. If you have ever had an Alpaca Cria on your farm, you will know how much care they need. From wondering away from the pack to getting stuck in places that the large Alpacas wouldn’t even think about going.

Your Cria will typically arrive early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Mothers do not want to welcome their young by dropping them into the hottest part of the day. If your Alpaca Cria arrives outside of that window, it tends to point to a complication. That is not a rule, just an observance we have made in our experience.

The fun is just beginning when they get out into the scary world. You will need to make sure that they are getting plenty of food and developing as they should. It is a good idea to check on them at least twice a day to see how they are doing.

Feeding Your New Cria

so many to chose fromCria’s should feed off of milk from the mother, but some may not know to do that. Your Alpaca Cria should be drinking mother’s milk within 4 hours of birth at the most. If they are not drinking within 5 hours then you should call a doctor immediately.

This can be a sign of a few things that a Cria might run into. Some don’t know how to get the milk from their mother or are scared of their surroundings. Put them in their own pen or enclosure so that the newborn feels more secure.

This can also mean that there is something going on with the mother. Young mothers may not know that they should make the new Cria drink milk right away and may need a quick lesson. They could also be lacking in the ability to produce enough milk to keep up with what the new Cria needs.

Behavior of Your New Alpaca Cria

Your new Cria should be in the kush position and alert within 5 or 10 minutes of entering the world. Within 30 minutes, they should be at least making an attempt to stand up and start exploring. They should be standing safely within about 3 hours of birth.

Keep an eye on the progress and make sure that the mother is helping and encouraging the process. If they are obstructing the process, you may need to step in or even separate them. Some young mothers just don’t want to have anything to do with the new alpaca Cria.

What To Watch Out For

Breeding Alpaca is essentialWhen you get a hold of the new Cria to do a quick checkup, you want to make sure that you see some teeth starting to poke through. It shouldn’t take long for the teeth to start developing. If you don’t see any progress in growing teeth within the first week, contact your vet.

Another sign that something is wrong is if the Alpaca Cria displays an overall lack of energy. They should be a little ball of energy, running in circles around anyone who will watch. If they are laying down in the barn all day then you should notify a vet as soon as possible.

If your Cria is born during a cold part of the year, it is important to make sure that they stay plenty warm. Their internal organs need warmth in order to do what they are meant to do. Cover your Alpaca with a thick blanket and throw some warm water bottles under the blanket as well.

Most people put their Alpaca Cria in a Cria jacket shortly after it is born. This helps them stay warm while also protecting the fleece from all the playing. Keeping a new Cria warm is one of the keys to survival and without this they will not have a great chance of surviving.

When You Can Relax

The first 4 days are the most critical times in the Alpaca Cria’s life. Most Alpaca breeders will check on their newborns hourly during this period. You will need to make sure that they stay warm and that the bond with their mom.

Their mom should keep them warm at night unless they are sick. If the mom senses that the young Cria is a liability when it comes to predators, they will stay away in an attempt to stay alive themselves. If they do not cuddle with the Cria at night, you will need to provide blankets and maybe even cuddle them yourself.

Once the mom takes over and is responsible for the Alpaca Cria, you can spread your checkups out a little more. Still keep a close eye on progress, but you can check a little less often. Once you hit a week, you should be in the clear. Don’t stop checking all together, but you are less likely to run into problems before you have time to react.

 

Picking The Right Alpaca Herdsire

Picking the right Alpaca herdsire for this generation of your herd can make or break the entire generation at your farm. Choosing a champion Alpaca as your main herdsire can take your herd to the next level instantly. On the opposite spectrum, choosing the wrong one can send you in a downward spiral FAST.

What is a Herdsire?

Picking The Right Alpaca HerdsireA Herdsire is a male Alpaca that you keep primarily for Sir’ing your farm. He is meant to be the daddy to as many females as possible to produce high quality Cria’s and expand the herd. Most large farms have a handful of herdsire’s so that they can continually expand without crossing bloodlines. If your herdsire produces quality offspring that other breeders will even pay a stud fee to have your herdsire breed with their females.

A herdsire should be one of, if not the, best quality male you have on your farm. In order to continually improve the quality of your herd, you need two parents with the best genetic qualities possible. If your herdsire has produces top quality fiber, then most of his offspring will produce the same.

Spare no expense when acquiring your herdsire. If you start with a low quality herdsire, you will need to continually find better quality to improve the quality of your herd. Starting with a top of the line herdsire will allow you to skip a lot of that process and start you at the top.

What to look for

so many to chose fromThe most important thing to look for when selecting a herdsire is to be sure that he does not have any conformation faults. Make sure that the legs are as straight as can be and the bones are thick. If you have a crooked legged herdsire, then you are going to end up with a herd of crooked legged Alpaca.

The second most important thing to look for is the quality and quantity of the fiber. Which herdsire you select will vary greatly depending on your preference here. Most high quality Alpaca will either be producers of a large amount of fiber or producers of the highest quality fiber, but rarely both.

If your entire business is centered on your farm producing as much fiber as possible, then you want to start with a herdsire that produces as much fiber as possible. It’s important to look at more than just how much fiber he produced, but how much was produced in his bloodline.

You should also pay attention to how long they produce this amount of fiber as they age. If they produce 10 lbs. of fiber a year for the first 5 years and then drop to 3 lbs. a year, you should probably look for a different herdsire. You don’t want to bet the farm on something that could turn out like that.

Some farms would rather focus their energy on the quality of the fiber produced. Some farms have been known to have adult Alpaca fiber classified as baby Alpaca grade, which fetches a high premium. If you can get your herd to produce fiber of this quality, you will produce more income.

The last thing to look for in a herdsire is overall “proudness”. You want him to walk up on a hill with his head held high looking like he owns that hill. Good posture and overall proudness will help keep the quality of your Alpaca heard strong.

How to Pick The Right One

Good posture and overall proudness are keyDon’t bet your farm on a young boy that may or may not grow up to be a champion. While he may look like he is going to grow up and be one of the best herdsires of the land, he may not even be able to reproduce when it comes time. You want to have as many potential suitors as you can to begin selecting from.

Many breeders use a process of elimination in order to select the perfect herdsire for their Alpaca herd. They will start with a group of Alpaca and eliminate them from the running as they do not make the standards. When they are “eliminated” from the running, they will be castrated so that they can be kept in the large pack with the females.

The first test for most breeders is how much fiber they produce in their first year. The first year fiber is the softest and worth the most money, but it is the hardest to get as well. Most will suggest that an Alpaca herdsire should produce at least 6 lbs. of fiber with its first cut.

The next test for your young potential herdsire is the results of the second year cut. This is where you will start to see how much fiber they are going to produce over the long haul. You are looking to see over 10 lbs. of fiber here if you want to get your herd producing like the best of them.

As the years go by, you want to make sure that they keep producing a large amount of fiber. As we mentioned earlier, they aren’t a good Alpaca herdsire if they produce a quarter of what they are producing now in a Few years. Keep track of this information so that you can showcase the herdsire as a stud to other Alpaca farms that are looking to create their own head Alpacas.

 

The Difference Between Proven and Unproven Alpaca

Breeding Alpaca is essentialThe difference between proven and unproven Alpaca is whether they have carried a baby Alpaca, or a Cria, full term. This is a term is typically how sellers will classify a female Alpaca they are selling. If they can say that she has successfully birthed a young Cria, it will allow the seller to be comfortable that they can breed her.

This is important because some Alpaca have trouble with birthing. Classifying a female as proven or unproven stops breeders from selling a female Alpaca that failed to reproduce and say “you never asked”. Most reliable breeders will give you a guarantee of live birth to ensure you that they are confident in the animal you are buying.

It is important to remember that an unproven Alpaca does not mean that they cannot reproduce, it means they have never been bred. If a female Alpaca has failed to reproduce then they will be considered a “pet” or “fiber” Alpaca. Successfully carrying a Cria full term means that they are consider a “proven Alpaca”.

If you are looking to be a proven Alpaca then you should always ask more questions on the topic. They are considered proven as long as they have a single live birth. That does not mean that they didn’t leave the new Cria in the barn and hoped never to see it again.

Remember that an Alpaca is not considered unproven if the Cria passes away the next day because the mother did not produce any milk. Make sure that you ask about how she did with milk and how were her mothering skills. It doesn’t help to have a proven Alpaca if they do not survive!

How It Affects The Price Of An Alpaca

The Difference Between Proven and Unproven AlpacaPeople that are looking to begin their own Alpaca farm will want to purchase females that they can breed to expand their herd. They are looking for the best female proven Alpaca that they can find so that they produce the best offspring. If the females they purchase cannot reproduce, that is a huge blow to how many Alpaca they will be able to reproduce.

As we mentioned before, most new breeders look for “live birth” clauses in writing when purchasing a proven Alpaca. This is essentially a warrantee saying that the new female will have a live birth and produce a live Cria. If they do not, the selling will buy back the Alpaca or allow for another stud from any male Alpaca free of charge.

If an Alpaca is proven, then it is worth more money because you can say they it will produce more Alpaca. This allows you to charge a higher price for the Alpaca than you could on an unproven Alpaca.

An Unproven Alpaca has not produced a Cria yet, but they have also not tried. This does not mean that the breeder doesn’t believe that they can. Typically it means that the farm they live in is short on space and they are not actively breeding every animal possible.

They are worth less because they cannot be sold with the guarantee that they will reproduce successfully. That makes them less desirable to someone who is looking to start their own breeding program.

Conclusion

If you are looking to start your own Alpaca farm that includes breeding then you will want to pay the extra for a proven Alpaca. There is no promise that an unproven Alpaca is going be able to help you expand like you plan. You will be rolling the dice on them and chancing that they cannot reproduce. The extra cost is almost always better than taking the risk.

 

Stay Warm With Alpaca Sweaters

Stay warm with Alpaca SweatersAlpaca fiber is soft and durable, making it perfect for making just about any type of clothing you can imagine, including Alpaca sweaters. Anything that you have ever seen made out of wool, you should be able to find made from “alpaca wool”. Another great characteristic is that it is five times warmer than wool, yet much lighter.

If you are someone that does not wear sweaters because they are itchy and make you sneeze, Alpaca sweaters are the answer to all of your problems. Alpaca fiber is hypoallergenic, so you are not going to have any type of reaction to the material whatsoever.

Alpaca have been raised for their fiber in South America for thousands of years successfully. They are naturally shy animals that need to be kept in packs because they are very social. They are breed and raised is small farms across The United States and then sheered for the fiber once a year.

The fiber produced is extremely valuable because of its qualities and low supply. Alpaca only reproduce one new baby a year and twins are very rare. The genetic makeup of the animals also makes it hard to clone or genetically alter for better results. This keeps the corporate conglomerates out of the equation and leaves it for the small businesses.

I really like these Alpaca sweaters because they are made from Alpaca and display Alpaca on the sweater itself. They are soft, durable, warm, and very versatile. You won’t find very many other sweaters in the world that are ad comfortable as these alpaca sweaters.

This Alpaca cardigan can be purchased in a wide veriety of colors, both natural and unnatural. They are complete with a zipper and two pockets for extra storage. You can also find them in all sizes!

 

 

If you are looking to purchase some fashionable alpaca clothing but do not want to wear a full sweater, then an Alpaca vest is perfect for you. It will add some extra warmth without turning you into a sweatshop.

I really like the natural colors that they offer with small, medium, and large.

 

 

This blended Alpaca sweater is comfortable yet very fashionable at the same tile. The two-tone sweater is a great buy if you are looking for comfort without sacrificing style. It is available in a wide variety of sizes, so one is sure to fit you!

These hooded Alpaca sweaters are pretty amazing as well. They are knitted from 100% Alpaca wool and made to stay warm and comfortable for years to come. With several different natural colors and patterns to choose from, you can’t go wrong with this sweater.