Alpacas origins are traced back to The Andes in South America, across the countries Peru, Chile and Bolivia. In the early 1990's alpacas were successfully imported into the UK.
There are two different alpaca breeds:
As alpacas are still relatively new to the UK, there is not an agreed lifespan, however generally they will live for 18 to 24 years, with some known to live up to 26.
A mature female alpaca typically weighs 50 to 75kg (110 to 165lbs) and a mature male is 65 to 90kg (143 to 198lbs), but both sexes can weigh slightly more. Alpacas stand about 1 metre tall at the withers (the highest part of the animal’s back). Cria normally weigh 6 to 9kg (13 – 20lbs) at birth.
Alpacas do not require any special feed, just a field with normal grass. Hay (or haylage) is given all year round as alpacas will use this to balance out the moisture content in their stomachs. Forage based supplements can be given in the latter stages of pregnancy and during lactation, weaning and winter months. We give an Alpaca Mix daily which contains all the supplements our alpacas will need.
How much land do I need?
A one acre field will keep five to seven alpacas, so anyone with an acre of pasture has enough land to keep alpacas. Higher stocking rates are possible when land rotation is available.
For further information please visit the British Alpaca Society FAQ website.