Why buy Alpacas

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The longer we are involved with alpacas the more obvious it is becoming that alpacas are the smart lifestyle choice. A pair of wethers (geldings, castrated males) can be kept on as little as half an acre (.2 hectare) and are capable of thriving on much rougher forage than sheep or cattle – and are much easier to keep contained than goats!

Many people take on the lifestyle dream without realising how much work and expense is involved with growing crops or running livestock. For working people, often the “lifestyle” becomes a “life sentence” as they struggle to juggle their property around their career, and they end up spending all their “time-off” working on the property. Owning easy-care alpacas frees you from the “life-sentence”, bringing quality of life back into the “lifestyle”. You’ll still need to spend some time on your land and alpacas, but alpacas are such delightful animals, you find it fun, not frustrating.

Look at the advantages wether alpacas have over other livestock, and even crops and produce:

Alpacas vs Sheep

  • Don’t Get Footrot
  • Are not prone to  Flystrike
  • Don’t need crutching/dagging (alpacas are naturally clean)
  • Don’t pulverise the ground with sharp hooves
  • Don’t push through fences

Alpacas are

  • Easy to herd, do not require trained herding dogs, or combined family and neighbours to move them from paddock to paddock, or from paddock to pen.
  • Easy on fences
  • Easy care – require little in the way of basic maintenance.
  • Easy on the ground with soft padded feet

Alpacas vs Cattle

  • Don’t get bloat
  • Don’t require expensive yards/restraints
  • Don’t require large amounts of supplementary feed in winter
  • Don’t churn up paddocks in winter with sharp hooves and excessive weight
  • Don’t require gallons of drinking water in Summer (alpacas drink very little)
  • Don’t have dung that is attractive to flies
  • Don’t require lush pasture and high protein foods
  • Don’t need electric fences to keep them confined
  • Not required to be registered with NAIT (National Animal Identification & Tracing), a government tracking system which tracks all cattle from birth to death.

Alpacas are –

  • Small enough to be controlled even by those of small stature
  • Able to thrive on poor quality pasture
  • Not alarming to children and visitors
  • Not subject to governmental controls such as Tb testing and NAIT

Alpacas vs Horses & Ponies (including miniatures)

  • Don’t need an expensive farrier to shoe or trim hooves every 6 weeks
  • Are not “picky” eaters like horses – they do not eat one area of a paddock bare, while leaving other areas messy and overgrown)
  • Don’t require expensive specialist tack
  • Don’t require riding expertise
  • Don’t lean over fences
  • Don’t have dung that is attractive to flies
  • Don’t require large amounts of expensive supplementary feed in winter

Alpacas are –

  • Light and gentle on pasture
  • As easy to halter train and lead as any horse

Alpacas vs Goats

Alpacas –

  • Don’t scatter dung indiscriminately, thus spreading intestinal worm eggs liberally around pasture
  • Don’t require high health care maintenance to keep them free of parasites
  • Are not prone to hypothermia

Alpacas are-

  • Not escape artists – they don’t challenge barriers or climb over fences
  • Easy to herd – often coming when called
  • Not smelly!

Alpacas vs Deer, Emus and Ostriches

Alpacas –

  • Don’t require expensive specialist handling facilities
  • Don’t have specialist fencing requirements
  • Don’t need to be handled in the dark in order keep them controllable
  • Don’t require a market to be “created” – alpaca fleece is already in high demand
  • Not subject to Tb testing and NAIT controls

Alpacas are –

  • Easy to catch, handle and transport
  • Not dangerous or hard to handle in a mating season
  • Not challenging to barriers – normal farm fencing will contain them.
  • Not subject to governmental controls and paperwork

Alpacas vs Crops, Grapes, Olives etc

Alpacas –

  • Don’t require specialist knowledge to take crop through to end product (eg wine)
  • Don’t require large tracts of land to produce a viable crop size
  • Don’t require a huge time commitment to keep them healthy, weed and parasite free
  • Don’t have a limited time frame in which to harvest crops
  • Are unlikely to be affected by adverse weather conditions

Alpacas are –

  • Unaffected by birds and plant pests
  • Can thrive on a huge range of forage types
  • Not subject to a critical time range for shearing
  • Are easy care and low maintenance
  • Require a small time commitment to keep them healthy and well fed.

There can be no question that alpacas are the livestock of choice for small farmers, lifestylers, or the inexperienced. They represent excellent value for money, and are easy to care for with few health problems. (At The Alpaca Place, we offer purchasers free workshops on how to care for their alpaca. Also our post-purchase help and guidance is only as far away as your phone or email). Wether alpacas can be stocked on the smallest blocks of land, they require no special fencing or buildings, and are easy on both land and fences. They are not large and heavy, nor are they strong and unmanageable. They can as easily be handled by women as by men. We have alpacas for sale.  Call us today and make an appointment to visit our farm and find out how alpacas and The Alpaca Place can benefit you!



How to get a return from your wether alpacas:

(and of course, your breeding females can do this too!)

Composting dung and selling as fertiliser – or you can use it on your own garden. Alpacas tend to deposit their dung in communal piles, so collection is easy. Alpaca compost is very fertile, and great for your land and garden! Alpaca dung is not strong smelling, nor is it particularly attractive to flies.

Every year your wether alpacas will produce 2-4kg of fibre that is warmer, lighter and less irritating to the skin than sheep wool. You can utilise this fibre in the following ways:

Personal Use:

1. Card (or have commercially carded) and handspin fibre into yarn, which you can use to knit/weave garments for your family

2. Have your yarn commercially spun and knit your own garments (there are commercial spinners in the North Island that will spin as little as 1kg of  100% alpaca fibre. When you buy from The Alpaca Place, we include contacts for alpaca processing in your information pack.

Commercial Use:

1. Have your fibre commercially carded and sell to handspinners and weavers for their use. (You can contact potential customers through Spinners and Weavers Clubs, or arrange to leave business cards etc at craft shops. You may also be able to sell through some craft stalls). When selling to handspinners you should sell only the best quality fibre – and be aware you can blend alpaca with other fibres such as sheep wool, silk, mohair . Find out from your local craftspeople what they want, and meet the market!

2. Have your fibre spun as in point 2 above, and sell the resulting yarn.

3. Have your fibre spun as in point 3 above and sell the resulting yarn. This quality yarn is often eagerly sought after by retail outlets.

4. Sell your fibre. There are now several wool buyers in New Zealand, and you need to sort your alpaca fibre into grades and colours in order to sell. When you buy from The Alpaca Place, you are welcome to attend one of our shearing days (annually in November) so you can learn how to do this.

Features of alpaca fibre

Alpaca, known by ancient South Americans as “the fibre of the gods”, is far more thermal than sheep wool, and also far less irritant against the skin. Many people who cannot abide the touch of sheep wool garments can snuggle luxuriously into alpaca with no discomfort. Alpaca can be manufactured into fine textiles for the fashion industry, or used to make quality garments by home spinners or knitters. It is available in 11 natural colours, or can be readily died to all the colours of the rainbow. Alpaca fibre is a recognised product internationally, and the market for alpaca fibre is ever expanding, as more and more manufacturers, designers and wearers of alpaca come to appreciate its qualities. Alpaca makes a great insulation material and the “shorts” or coarser underbelly wool can be used to make “batts” of  insulation for your ceiling and walls.  Its insulating qualities are extreme, it is now becoming used in polar regions to protect electronic equipment from the cold – the only natural fibre that is warmer is that of a polar bear: try catching and shearing one of them!  Settle for alpaca!