As the region they come from has terrible and limited forage ,some areas such as Peru and Chile have not had rain in over fifty years ,
they are among the most efficient utilizers of food and water on earth ! An adult alpaca will comsume about 2 1/2 pounds of forage a day. Most breeders
in this country will supplement this with a grain and mineral mix. Due to their efficiency their solid waste looks like "rabbit or deer pellets" and is primarily
composed of indigestable fiber. This means , unlike other livestock , they are relatively smell free and their waste can be composted almost immediately
and used as fertilizer.
Caring for alpacas is much like caring for a dog or cat. However , they are livestock and require more knowledge and a little more care. Compared to
horses , cattle , sheep etc... they are easier to care for. The actual time involved in caring for them may only amount to about an hour or two a day ,
but it is "everyday". Typical care might be :
•Hay and supplement feeding - twice a day.
•Fresh , clean water - all the time !
•Pasture and shed cleaning , fence check - weekly.
•Worming and routine body check , including weight - Monthly.
•Trim toenails and check teeth - every couple of months , as needed.
•Shearing fleece - once a year , before hot weather sets in.
•Visit from the Vet - once a year or again as needed.
•If showing - halter and lead training as required (including socializing)
Heat is a big concern for alpacas and you must provide shade and protection from strong heat and humidity. Fans and good air circulation is a must !
Alpacas are relatively helpless when it comes to protecting themselves. Therefore , preditors are another big concern. Make sure your pastures and
fenced areas are sufficient to keep out all other animals , including the neighbor's dogs ! Alpacas will not challenge a fence , it is mostly to keep the
preditors out ! Some farms will actually have a "guard llama" for protection.