items -     View Cart

Sandollar Alpacas

Putting "Warm Fuzzies" in Your Life!

Sandollar Alpacas - Logo

About Alpacas

And the Alpaca Industry

ABOUT ALPACAS

The charming alpaca is very rare, and highly prized for its luxurious fleece, which is softer, warmer and stronger than wool or cashmere and typically processed into high end textiles. It also has fire retardant characteristics as well as wonderful moisture wicking elements.  Alpaca fiber is an eco-friendly fiber and a wonderful alternative for people who are allergic to wool as it contains no lanolin.

Alpacas are members of the South American Camelid family which includes the alpaca and its wild ancestor, the vicuna, as well as the llama, and its wild ancestor, the guanaco. There are two types of alpacas. The huacaya alpaca has a fluffy fleece that stands out from the body, looking for all the world like cotton candy. The suri alpaca has long pencil ringlets of highly lustrous fleece that wave gently as the animal walks majestically with head held high.  The Sandollar Alpacas herd includes the rarest of the rare, the suri alpaca, in virtually all 16 natural colors, depending on the time of year and cria crop.

Alpacas are native to the higher elevations of the Andes Mountains, primarily the areas of Peru, Bolivia and Chile.  Alpacas were domesticated nearly 2,000 years ago by the Incas, and the prized alpaca fleece was woven into garments worn originally only by royalty. Today archaeologists are discovering tombs where the garments are still intact, a testament to their long life.

Alpacas are classified as “easy keepers”, requiring only minimum daily care, and with a soft padded foot rather than a hoof, they are easy on pastures. Other than pasture grass, most breeders also offer some alfalfa, grain and mineral supplements, and of course, fresh water daily.

Alpacas are easily trained, and can be handled by children with proper training. Most alpacas actually love water, and come running on warm summer day to have their legs and bellies hosed down. The only care required are annual vaccinations, periodic worming, and a “pedicure” every other month or so for those animals raised on pasture instead of their native rocky ground.

 

 

Alpaca Facts

Average Lifespan: Alpacas were first imported into the United States in 1984, and not much was known about their lifespan. Due to the excellent care they received in their new environment, it appears that they will typically live about 20 years.

Average Height: 36” at the withers (the point where the neck and back meet).

Average Weight: Adults weigh about 120 to 180 pounds, depending on age and gender; although some easily exceed this average if allowed to feed freely on lush pasture.

Average Gestation: (Pregnancy): 335 to 355 days

Baby Alpacas: Female alpacas only give birth to one baby, called a “cria” (CREE-UH), per year. Alpacas rarely birth twins.

Herd Instinct: Alpacas are a very social, herd animal with very distinctive hierarchy mechanisms. Their only defense is flight. Since they feel safest in numbers and have such strong herding instincts, owning more than one alpaca is encouraged. Providing the companionship of at least a second alpaca will help your alpacas to thrive.

Color: There are 16 official colors recognized by the Alpaca Registry. There are more than 22 variations of these colors produced in the natural shades of alpaca fleece.

Fleece:  Alpacas are shorn once a year for their fiber, usually at the beginning of the summer to provide relief from the hot weather. It is cleaned and skirted before being processed into yarn or fiber goods.

Food: Alpacas are not true ruminants, but have a three-compartment stomach, and chew cud, similar to a cow, sheep or deer. They graze pasture, supplemented with hay. Compared to other ruminants, alpacas are able to process and utilize food very efficiently. The cost to feed one alpaca is typically less than the cost to feed an average dog for a year.

Acreage: Alpacas are an ideal livestock for those people who have small farms. Four to six alpacas can comfortably graze on one acre, with appropriate field and pasture rotation, depending on the quality of the pasture to begin with.

Health Care: Alpacas are typically disease-free, requiring only periodic worming for common farm parasites. More and more veterinarians are becoming knowledgeable in the care of alpacas and other camelids.

Transport: Alpacas are small enough to transport safely in a family mini-van or horse/alpaca trailer. They travel easily with minimal stress.

Safety: Alpacas are extremely gentle animals. When handled frequently, they can be safely trained and handled by children. They do not bite or butt, having only a gum palette, not teeth, on their top, front jaw. They have two-toed padded feet rather than hooves or claws. They are intelligent animals and learn quickly.

Spitting: Alpacas spit at each other as a way of establishing their herd hierarchy. They do not spit at people unless provoked.

Visit Sandollar Farms & Alpacas to learn whether or not alpacas and the alpaca lifestyle are for you!  Won’t you contact us today to schedule your free ranch tour? We would love to see you! Call Collins at 509-378-5833 Today!

Updated July 25, 2017