Your alpacas will need suitable shelter. A three-sided shelter will work if you don’t have a barn. Alpacas can overheat very easily, so you’ll have to use fans, shade, and proper ventilation to help keep them cool in summer. You’ll need to clean up your alpaca’s waste daily. However, this is one area where these big furballs are quite considerate. Alpacas often naturally choose a specific spot as their bathroom. This makes cleaning up after them much easier!
One great thing about alpacas is that they really don’t need much land. You can put up to 8 alpacas on one acre, though we do recommend giving them more room than that. Set up separate areas for males, females, and youngsters. Sturdy fencing is a must! Avoid barbed wire fences, as they really aren’t safe.
Alpacas are grazing animals, so hay and pasturage should make up the bulk of their menu. The amount of hay you need to feed your alpacas will depend on the quality of your pasture. That said, about 1-2 pounds of grass hay per alpaca per day is about average. Alpacas do have somewhat sensitive stomachs, so be sure not to make sudden changes to your alpaca’s diet. Ask your vet for specific advice.
Alpacas don’t like heat very much. We recommend shearing them every spring. You probably don’t want to keep your alpacas in areas with streams or ponds. Alpacas love to soak in hot weather. Unfortunately, their fur doesn’t like water very much, and can actually rot if it’s too moist. It can also ruin their wool for use. Ask your vet for more information on keeping your alpacas cool.
Proper veterinary care is very important! Your alpacas will need parasite control, vaccinations, dental care, and foot trims to stay healthy. Alpacas are typically quite hardy. If kept properly, they often stay free of diseases and illnesses. That said, they can become sick, just like any other animal. Watch for signs of sickness, such as reduced appetite, unusual posture, and strange vocalizations. Contact your vet immediately if you notice anything amiss.
Please contact us, your Cleveland, TN pet clinic, with any questions about your alpaca’s health or care. We are happy to help!