- May 5, 2008 at 12:54 pm #246636
Alpaca Canada – Free Canadian Alpaca Guide
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Alpaca 101: Why Alpacas
Alpacas are clean and intelligent.
They produce fibre that is as fine as cashmere, soft, silky and much warmer and stronger than sheep’s wool.
Alpacas come in variety of colours, including white, black, brown, grey, fawn and any combination of these colours, the widest assortment of colours of any fibre bearing animal
Alpacas are indigenous to the High Andes of the South American countries of Peru, Bolivia and Chile.
Qualify as Livestock and as such may offer tax advantages and incentives.
Are ideal for Hobby Farms and small acreages since 1 acre of productive pasture can sustain 5-8 animals.
Alpacas are quiet, peaceful animals and make soft humming sounds to communicate.
Alpacas are easy to raise, can be handled by anyone and are safe around children.
Alpacas are extremely hardy and adaptable to most climates, elevations and conditions.
Alpacas get along with goats, sheep, donkeys, horses, cats and family dogs.
Alpaca adults weigh an average of 125 to 175 pounds. They live 20 – 25 years.
Alpacas require little space. 1/8 of an acre is fine for one alpaca, if rotational grazing is practised. A 4-foot field fence makes a sufficient enclosure.
Are suited to pasture on marginal land.
Alpacas eat 2 pounds of hay per day and 0.75 of a pound (around a cup) of a supplement per day.
Female alpacas are usually first bred at 18 months of age. Their gestation period averages 11½ months. Males are usually ready to breed between 2 and four years of age.
As a rule, give birth during the day, usually between 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM.
Alpacas make cleaning the corral an easy task, as they “go” in only a few spots.
Alpaca droppings are practically odourless and are excellent for enriching soil.
Alpacas are easily transported in a pick-up, van or trailer. They usually lie down in transit.
Alpaca shows and competitions can promote a single alpaca or an entire herd.
Alpacas have a high aesthetic appeal.
Alpacas very rarely spit at people – usually only when nervous or overexcited.
Alpacas are small endearing animals of the camelid family. They were domesticated over 5,000 years ago, and became a cherished treasure of the ancient Incan civilization. Their fine cashmere-like fleece was reserved solely for royalty. These amazing animals provided the food, fuel and clothing for a civilization that thrived in an otherwise hostile environment.
Alpacas have a life span of 20 – 25 years. Adults weigh 100 – 175 lbs and stand 34 – 36 inches at the withers. Baby alpacas, called cria, generally weigh 14 – 20 lbs at birth. Gestation is around 11 months. Alpacas communicate through soft humming noises and unique body language.
Today, in Canada, alpacas are raised for their exquisite fibre, and are enjoyed for their delightful personalities as well as their sound financial returns. Alpacas produce one of the world’s finest and most luxurious fibres, known for its fineness, lustre, light weight and insulating quality, which is eight times that of wool! With the exception of mohair, alpacas produce the strongest animal fibre in the world. As alpaca fibre becomes finer, this unique strength does not lessen, thus making it very desirable.
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