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Alpaca Facts
  • Alpacas are native to South America, a smaller cousin of llamas and camels.
  • There are two different types- Haucaya and Suri.
  • They normally live from 14-22 years; a local alpaca lived to 25 years.
  • They are pregnant for 11 months and usually have one baby called a cria. The crias are usually born unassisted during the daytime hours. The females are ready for breeding again 2-3 weeks after delivery.
  • Weight at birth can range from 8-23 pounds. The adult usually weighs 105-185 pounds.
  • Alpacas are gentle, friendly, calm creatures. They often communicate with humming sounds.
  • They have the most diverse fiber colors of any animal, 22 naturally occurring colors. The fiber is extremely high quality, light weight but very warm.
  • They come from the high mountains of South America. They graze on local Grasses, wild flowers, pine needles, cactus, supplemented with hay.
  • The animals are very clean; they use a community spot for waste products. The manure makes high quality fertilizer and is used for composting.
  • They have foot pads with 2 toes and tread lightly, not destroying the ground cover.
  • Animals are sheared once a year at the end of spring. We have to laugh afterward; they go from being super fluffy to looking very skinny.
  • Fiber is processed to make yarn, knitted goods, felt, woven into rugs.
  • The Alpaca Registry, Inc tracks the genetic patterns with DNA samples from every cria born in the US. The industry is tightly monitored.
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