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About Alpacas


Alpacas, llamas, guanacos and vicunas form the group of South American  camelids, also called the New World camelids. They are related to the Bactrian and Dromedary camels in Asia and Africa.

Alpacas  originate from South America, mainly Peru, Chile and Bolivia, but also Argentina. By now they have been imported into the USA, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, China, and in 2000 into South Africa. Here in South Africa the South African Alpaca Breeders Society was founded with meanwhile 50 breeders joining.
 

Their  size and low maintenance requirement compared to other  livestock makes them ideal for smaller farms and smallholdings. They don’t bite or butt. Spitting is one of their  few defensive abilities. It is usually something that  alpacas do to establish dominance over other alpacas, rather than to humans. Confused or frightened they rather  lie down. They are clean and inquisitive. And offer every year a clip of superb fleece.

In Australia many of the males not used in breeding programmes  are sold as herd protectors. They run with the sheep  and prevent losses from predators such as jackal. This would be a good alternative here in South Af

Height

Around 1 m at the withers

Weight

50 - 90 kg for a fully-grown adult

Life span

15-20  yrs

Gestation

11-12  months. Births normally take place in the morning. Twins are extremely  rare.

Colours

22 natural colours: white through fawn, brown, grey to  black.
Many variations and distinctive markings
12 registered colours in South Africa

Fleece

2  types:
Huacaya (90% of animals worldwide)
Huacaya have fine dense fleece growing straight out from the body giving the animal a more rounded appearance. Their fleece looks similar to Merino sheep.
Suri (10% of animals worldwide) - They are still rare in South Africa.
Suri have a soft silky fleece hanging down in long pencil  locks similar to Angora goats.

Shearing

Once a year, yielding up to 4 kg per head in 5 different  qualities

Use

Fleece: Wool production:
Alpaca fleece from a good-quality alpaca is some of  the finest and lightest in the world. Younger animals produce the finest fleece.
   - Silky soft to touch
   - Warmer and less irritating than wool
   - Shiny and attractive
Guard  animals for sheep
Pets - Castrated males can make good pets.
A pair of gelded males is best if you are not intending to breed

Registration

SA Studbook

Identification

Ear  tag
If the alpaca is registered with Studbook is must be microchipped.

Keeping  Alpacas

Ideal  for Smallholdings, but also farmed on large farms
Grazers & Browsers
No special fencing needed
Easy on  ground as feet are padded

rica, especially with the  new conservation laws coming.

 

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