FAQs

Some of the most common questions we're asked at shows and in general conversation are answered here..

Feel free to ask your own question, we'll do our best to answer it for you..

Why Alpacas?

Alpacas have a lifespan of about 20 years.

They are easy to handle and easy on the ground. 

Alpacas are bred for their luxurious fleece, Alpacas aren't farmed for their meat. 

They are very sociable animals and thrive in the company of their own species. They must always be in the company of at least one other Alpaca 

They come in a variety of 22 natural colours. 

They can be stocked at a ratio of 6-8acre.

Alpacas also make great pets, if you have a small paddock adjacent to your house..

As lawnmowers, Alpacas will happily graze away in those hard to reach places like orchards and hilly terrain. 

As therapy animals, Alpacas can offer great rewards to service users in various institutions like nursing homes and special schools. 

Alpacas can be used as flock guards during the lambing season in an attempt to keep foxes at bay.

They can, if the correct conditions are in place and their welfare is to the fore, be used as companion animals for trekking. A walk with an Alpaca is a really nice experience if done properly 

Alpacas are a good investment and offer a sound financial return as well as a great lifestyle. 

Alpacas are ideally suited to small holdings, are easy to stock and easy on the land. 

 

Alpacas are a wonderful addition to a multitude of venues and enterprises. They never fail to bring a smile to people's faces and, being so curious, are a great addition to your farm/business. As with all livestock, choosing the right Alpacas for the right purpose is paramount and a well meaning breeder should be able to offer all the advice necessary to help you get the most suitable package for you and your needs. 

Alpacas... The basics?

Alpacas stand about 1 metre tall at the withers (the highest part of the back). Adult females weigh between 45 and 65kg, while males can be slightly larger.

They have soft padded feet and toe nails that require some maintenance. 

Standard sheep fencing with a stud rail on top is the ideal fencing against Alpacas. Access to a field shelter is essential and a great tool for you to gather your herd for all those tasks required to keep your herd in good health. 

Alpacas require annual shearing which must be done by a professional..

We provide an Alpaca Husbandry calender which provides you with a comprehensive list of all the veterinary care the Alpacas require each year. It outlines, in our opinion, best practice for caring for your Alpacas, what to give them, why you give it, how to administer it and where they get it(orally, subcutaneous, intramuscular etc. 

While we offer a basic husbandry course prior to selling, we also offer a comprehensive after sales support to help you through the initial stages of your Alpaca adventure and beyond.. 

Alpaca Husbandry?

Alpacas originate in a harsh climate and therefore are hardy However, like all livestock they can become unwell and require annual vaccinations, vitamin A,D&E injections in winter and regular worming.

They must be shorn annually, require some maintenance on their toe nails and teeth and a yearly veterinary regime to maintain optimum health. 

A husbandry calendar containing all the relevant information is provided to ensure that the welfare of the Alpacas is maintained once they leave our farm. 

An Alpaca Husbandry induction course is an essential part of the  sales process here at Hushabye Farm Alpacas. It's important for both your confidence and our peace of mind, that you know the basics of how to look after your new purchases before you take them home. 

What about shearing?

Alpacas  need shearing once a year. On average a fleece will weigh about 2.5kg but some alpacas can produce up to 5kg. Alpaca fibre is prized for being extremely soft and strong...

Shearing can be arranged on your farm and can be completed relatively quickly. It's important that shearing is done by a professional Alpaca shearer.. A list of available shearers is available on the AAI WEBSITE or contact us directly. 

Once shorn, the fleece is seperate into two lots. The saddle, which is the primary fleece, has a variety of uses, and the seconds, from the legs and neck, can also be used for a variety of purposes like bedding, felting and insulation. 

Where do Alpacas come from?

Alpacas originated on South America, mainly Peru and were farmed by the Incas for their luxurious fleece known as the "Fibre of the Gods" 

What do Alpacas cost?

Alpacas are like any livestock, cost depends on a variety of things from pedigree to colour, from sex to pregnancy status. Typically, pet males are at the lower end of the price range, approx €600/800. Pregnant females from strong bloodlines will cost alot more,€3k upwards . A pregnant female has huge breeding potential, so as an investment, can offer great rewards over her lifetime. Our goals here are not just to breed for increasing numbers but to establish a herd of really high quality Alpacas that will help establish, not just our own herd, but the National herd too. Our advice to you is to start with the best quality possible. Two quality females is a better start to any breeding programme than 4 average ones. Whatever you start out with, that's what you'll finish up with.

So be careful when choosing your starter herd.

Find someone you feel you can work with, Alpacas you like the look and behavior of and, once you've become comfortable with the whole package, get started on your own Alpaca adventure. 

Can Alpacas be kept on their own?

Absolutely not..!!

Alpacas are very much a herd animal and seek out the company of their own species at all times. We only ever sell them in pairs, though starter groups of three are ideal

What about their diet?

Alpacas love a varied diet. As ruminants, they graze constantly. They are very easy on the grass, eating from the tips downward. They need constant access to hay/haylage as they require alot of roughage in their diet. A supplementary feed is also essential. Camelid feed with all the necessary vitamins and minerals is available to buy here at Hushabye Farm Alpacas. Typically, an adult Alpaca requires 300gms/day added to their diet. Females who are pregnant, lactating or even both may require more. Body condition scoring is essential when assessing the condition of your Alpacas as with all that fleece being there, sometimes they can be losing weight unknowingly due to a multitude of environmental conditions including parasite burden, weather and poor diet.

As a treat, they also love some of the waste we generate in the kitchen.. Apples, carrots, lettuce etc. 

Be sure to grate, dice these as large portions could easily lodge in their throats. 

We're constantly fielding questions about our Alpacas and their care. These are just a few which we've put together for you. We hope it helps answer your query but if not, feel free to make contact and we'll do our best to answer. If we don't know the answer, we'll find out. As we say, "Every day is a school day"