General Information About Alpacas

There are many reasons to choose an alpaca: do you want to breed with it? Are you creative and do you want to get started with your own wool? Do you want to see a nice animal in the morning that doesn't require too much maintenance? Or are you more focused on the fertile manure?

We were looking for a grazing animal to maintain our pastures but also wanted to have company with it at the same time. So a tame animal… We first opted for 2 sheep because this was a very obvious choice in our region.

However, we had not taken into account that every time we came out the door a "bleating concert" started. Not really something that made us happy…

The sheep were allowed to go back to the sheep farmer and shortly afterwards our first pair of alpacas entered the pasture.

Alpacas are - just like the llama - camelids and belong to the "New World Camelid Family". They originate from South America, mainly Chile, Peru and Bolivia. The alpaca lives there at an altitude of more than 3000 meters in the Andes mountains where it is warm during the day and freezing at night. Alpacas are kept for their superior wool quality and to a lesser extent for the meat.

Since the 1980s, alpacas have been kept in other countries such as North America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. In the last 15 years they have been increasingly found in Europe. Mainly in England, gigantic alpaca farms can be found with hundreds of alpacas.

Alpacas come in 2 types, namely the Huacaya Alpaca and the Suri Alpaca.
The Huacaya is best known and looks like a kind of sheep's wool, but much softer and finer.
The suris are the Bentleys among the alpacas thanks to their very soft silky shiny wool that hangs down the body like a kind of dreadlock. The wool is smoother and the fibers are flexible and elastic.

Alpacas are farm animals. They are extremely curious and very interested in people. When chores need to be done in the pasture, there is a good chance that the herd will be looking over your shoulder in no time! That is why they are increasingly popular residents of the children's and care farm.

Their character also has a shy side. They don't feel like intrusive behavior, either from people or from their own kind. If you approach them calmly and respect their own "bubble" they will quickly become good friends.

Congeners who impose themselves will soon be “spit away”. Because of this behavior they are often tarred with the same brush as the llama, but there is a big difference! Alpacas never turn to people, if you get too close and they don't want this, they just leave in the other direction. Llamas go on the "attack" with the so-called spitting.

It's best to stay away when alpacas "discuss" among themselves. Not because they pose a danger, but if you share in the chunks it's no fun. It is not saliva as we know it, but gastric juice with grass and kibble. It stinks incredibly hard and you can't help but wash immediately!


Alpacas have a specific mating ritual. The stallion runs after the mare and tries to get her flat on the ground by jumping on it from behind. The moment the mare lays down (on the belly), the stallion sits on it from behind. The mating ritual can last 20 minutes. The stallion makes a strange kind of neigh.

The female can be mated from 14 months. She then weighs about 45 kilos. A stallion is sexually mature from the age of two. Alpacas are induced ovulators, that is, they do not have a fertility cycle like humans. An alpaca mare ovulates when she is mated. There is therefore no separate rutting season.

Gestation and birth

Alpacas have a gestation period of 11 to 12 months. It depends per alpaca. Only one foal is born at a time (twins are very rare). This always happens during the day, usually in the course of the morning. The reason for this is that their tongues are too short to lick their young dry. Because the alpacas originate from the mountains and it freezes there at night, a cria must have enough time to dry in the sun.