If you have some open land and an interest in livestock, you may want to consider raising alpacas. These adorable, furry animals are easy to raise and provide many benefits on a farm. Thousands of Americans are now raising alpacas for fun and profit.
Alpacas are native to South America where there are over three million roaming around on different farmlands and pastures. Raising alpacas is common in the Pampas region of South America where a temperate, dry climate provides good grazing for the animals year-round. Alpacas are similar to camels and llamas, but smaller in size and weight, standing about three feet tall and weighing 150 to 200 pounds. Their smaller size and docile behavior gives them an adorable cuteness that’s irresistible to most humans. You’ll see thousands of billboards and television adds that show children and adults hugging alpacas in petting zoos and on farms. Although most of these creatures don’t mind the hugs, they are happy with tasty treats and long back scratches.
Alpacas are easy to raise and easy to handle because of their docile behaviors. Since they are smaller and less forceful than horses and cattle, they don’t challenge boundaries and try to escape through fences. Alpacas can easily be controlled with automatic cattle gates that provide barriers to adjacent farm areas. When building alpaca perimeters, keeping predators like coyotes, wolves, and wild dogs out is more of a concern than keeping the alpacas in. Most alpacas think twice about leaving their safe enclosure and will not try to escape.
Alpacas are also efficient grazers, so they don’t require a lot of land to roam. They can make a good meal out of any grass, hay or grains that are nearby. When raising alpacas, the cost of feed is a minimal expense since they only eat about one to two percent of their body weight each day. The cost of feed works out to approximately 50 cents per day for each alpaca. If there are pregnant females in the flock, you may need to consider nutritional supplements or mineral blocks in addition to regular feed.
Whether you’re raising alpacas for fun or profit, you’ll fall in love with these adorable creatures that require so little.