Here are the answers to some popular alpaca questions
Are they easy to keep?
A large number of alpaca owners are first time live stock keepers. They usually manage ok with a little help from the supplying breeder. Alpacas are less work than sheep, they birth mostly in day light hours so there is not the up all night checking as with sheep. They are not as prone to fly strike, and are respectful at feed time
How often do you shear?
Once a year we shear May/June time, some breeders shear their Suri every 2 years. Most alpacas produce between 3 and 5kg of usable fleece.
What are the different fleece styles?
There are two fleece styles in alpaca. Most of the UK national herd are the soft, fluffy type called Huacaya, and the more unusual silky dread lock style are called Suri. This makes an appearance much like Wensleydale sheep.
Do they feel the cold?
Their fleece is hollow in construction and works like thermos flask. In Chile and Peru the diurnal cycle of temperature is very wide, with maximum temperatures of 12 to 24 centigrade the minimum of -20 centigrade during the night
There are 22 natural colours of alpacas ranging from whites and fawns, browns through greys and blacks. Mills use white fleece as it can be dyed to get different coloured yarns. In the UK most yarn is produced using natural colours or a blend, without the use of dyes.
What are the Five Freedoms?
The welfare of an animal includes its physical and mental state and we consider that good animal welfare implies both fitness and a sense of well-being. Any animal kept by man, must at least, be protected from unnecessary suffering.
We believe that an animal’s welfare, whether on farm, in transit or at shows should be considered in terms of “Five Freedoms”. These freedoms define ideal states rather than standards for acceptable welfare. They form a logical and comprehensive framework for analysis of welfare within any system together with the steps and compromises necessary to safeguard and improve welfare within the proper constraints of an effective livestock industry.
1. Freedom from Hunger and Thirst – by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour.
2. Freedom from Discomfort – by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
3. Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease – by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
4. Freedom to Express Normal Behaviour – by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind.
5. Freedom from Fear and Distress – by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.