Alpacas are naturally found in South America. The United States started commercially importing alpacas in 1984. Since that time, more and more Americans who are looking for fun and profitable pets raise Alpacas.
If you’ve never heard of, or seen an Alpaca, they are a cousin of the llama. Alpacas are mid-sized animals that stand about 3 feet in height and weigh in between 100 and 200 pounds. They do not have horns or hooves. They have padded feet that sport two toes each. Their most noticeable feature is their long neck.
There are two types of Alpacas, the Huacaya and the Suri. The main difference is the length of their soft fur. The Huacaya has springy fur that stands out instead of hanging down. The Suri, on the other hand, has a long, soft fleece that hangs over its eyes and drags down below its body. Both types are covered from head to toe with a thick wool. Just like cows, Alpacas graze in fields and chew a cud. They have three stomachs compared to a cow’s four chambers.
These woolly social creatures are fun for the whole family to enjoy as pets. Alpacas are never mean, making them suitable companions for children and adults alike. Alpacas emit a soft humming sound when they communicate. In addition to the humming, they also communicate by positioning their head, ears, and tail.
Alpacas are relatively easy pets to keep. They are hearty animals that adapt to their climates. Since they mainly graze on grasses, they can be pastured in a fenced-in area with a supply of water and shelter from the weather. Alpacas usually need their nails or teeth trimmed from time to time. A veterinarian can do that task, along with giving them their annual vaccinations. A veterinarian can also recommend a product to use in order to keep insects and parasites at bay.
As far as being a “profitable pet”, to start out, these animals are rather costly to buy. But, an Alpaca typically lives about two decades. And, they can be bred once a year. The young Alpacas are called “Crias.” So, you can see how easy it is to start out with a few Alpacas and increase a herd in a rather short period of time.
The soft fleece of the Alpaca is stronger and softer than wool. It’s comparable to mohair, which is gathered from Angora goats. The fur of an Alpaca creates warm, lightweight clothing. One Alpaca can produce enough fleece in a year to make approximately seven sweaters, just to give you an example of their output. Alpaca fur is also prized because it’s less costly to process than wool. The fleece also takes longer to grow than wool on other animals. Therefore, an Alpaca’s woolly fur is in high demand and is costly to purchase even though they can be sheared every year. This is a plus for people who raise Alpacas and sell their fleece, though.
If you’re currently a city-dweller, but you’re longing to move your family to a quieter rural area, raising Alpacas can give your family fun, gentle pets plus an income to boot. Since Alpacas only have bottom teeth, they can’t bite you even if they wanted to.
Since Alpacas are relatively easy animals to care for, you and your family can enjoy the experience without hiring outside help. And, people who raise these woolly animals can enjoy the tax benefits that are allowed to farm businesses.
If you’re looking for fun and profitable pets, then raising Alpacas may be in your future.