Over seven years ago, we were losing chickens to naughty foxes, so we bought our first herd of alpacas, as they are typically used to protect chicken and lambs. We had intended to buy 3 alpacas, this turned into twelve, including six breeding females and our alpaca journey grew from there. We had to learn very quickly about responsible breeding, alpaca fibre, husbandry and all things alpaca related.
We now keep a herd of around 20 alpacas, some of which we show at competitions. Out best win to date was at The Alpaca National Show with our fabulous Fabio. He was placed 3rd amongst top breeders in 2016 and 2nd in 2017 and 1st in 2018.
All about Alpacas.
Frequently Asked Questions About Alpaca's?
- How long do they live? - Usually about 20 years
- What is the difference between an Alpaca and a Llama? - The llama is roughly twice the size of the alpaca and the llama has a very coarse outer coat over a softer inner coat - as opposed to the alpaca, which has a very fine, single coat. In addition, the llama produces far less fibre per animal than the alpaca, despite its much larger size. The llama has been bred as a pack-carrying animal. The alpaca was domesticated, and bred for over 5000 years as a luxury fibre-producing animal.
- How many colours are there? -There are 22 recognised colours from White to Black, Greys, Fawn's.
- How big do they grow? -Alpaca grow up to one metre high, the babies (known as Cria's) weigh between 6 & 8 Kg at birth.
- Do they spit? - Only usually at each other, or if they disagree with something we are doing to them, maybe foot trimming or husbandry.
- How often are they sheared? - Once a year, usually the end of May?
- What is a baby alpaca called? - A baby alpaca is called a cria, they usually only have one, twins are very rare.
- What do they eat? - Mainly grass and a all year round supply of good quality Hay, plus a winter supplement. You can keep 3 to 5 per acre depending on ground conditions.
- Do they damage the pasture? - No, Alpacas have padded feet so do not churn up the pasture, they also dung in one pile so pasture management is easier.
- Can alpaca be kept on their own? - No, Alpacas are a herd animal, they will become very stressed if separated from the others. Ideally three or more, they can live happily with goats, and sheep.
- How often are they sheared? - Once a year, a good fleece can weigh up to 5 kg.
Alpaca Taster Walking sessions
- On the camp-site we allow the younger alpaca's to be walked , this is done under supervision and must be booked during your stay, suitable foot wear must be worn, no flip flops or open toe shoes.
- We ask for a fee of £3.50 per alpaca per walk towards the winter feed. (2 children can share one alpaca)
- This a quick taster session to allow interaction with our alpaca's whilst you are camping at Longthorns.
- This is weather permitting and a restriction is placed on the number of walks per day for the alpaca's welfare.
- They enjoy the company, our alpaca being born on a camp site are very used to people.