I Have My First Alpaca

Quail

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I've named him Job. He and one other Alpaca came through our local Auction barn... and I bought him for almost nothing. I couldn't believe no one was bidding on them.

I would have taken both Alpacas, as I wanted a companion for Job, but my friend was with me and she wanted the second Alpaca.

Anyway, I think he's a handsome fellow. I was super excited to bring him home, and realize I have a lot more to learn. Two years of reading and researching just suddenly "went out the window" as I've been trying to recall everything I've read/heard about them.

Google has become my best friend, so has AlpacaNation. I can't seem to take in enough information, or retain it, as my excitement as taken over all rational thought.

First on the list, find an Alpaca knowledgeable vet in my area. Second on the list, get Job a companion by spring! (as I'm not sure how long it will take me to find a companion!)

Look at this face!




I think he's a Huacaya. He's very very soft, but he's not been worked with much. He seems unsure of us, and I'm not sure if that's just because he's in a new place or because he's been separated from his herd, or a mix of both.

I'm planning to talk to the auction house on Monday (that's when they are open again) and see what information his former owner may have given, if any, and if there is none, I plan to ask them to see if they can either contact his previous owner and get the info, or pass my number to the previous owner.

edited for typo.
 

ksalvagno

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Congratulations on your new alpaca! He is cute. He is a huacaya. I'm sure you will enjoy him. If you are in Ohio, I could probably put you in contact with people who would be willing to practically give away another male. Also, if you are in Ohio and not too far from me, I would be happy for you to come over and learn how to give shots and trim toenails. I'm assuming he isn't gelded. You will want to have that done too. A lot of times when a male hits 3 years old, the testosterone kicks in and they can get aggressive. If he has never bred a female before, you have a better chance of him not being aggressive but it is still better to have them gelded.

I don't know if your friend's alpaca has a buddy but he will really need one as well.
 

Quail

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Yes, I am in Ohio. :) I'm happy to learn anything I possibly can about Alpacas!

I did tell my friend that hers (she named him Simon) will need a companion, too. She put hers in with her goats, is that Ok?

I'm in Jewett, Ohio. Not sure how far that is from you.
 

ksalvagno

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I did a mapquest and you are 2 hours away. If you don't mind traveling the 2 hours, I would be happy to show you how to do those things. Also the people who have the alpacas that would probably sell them cheap are by me too.

I would suggest Eric Shaver of Holmes County Veterinary Service for an alpaca vet. He owns llamas and several alpaca breeders use him. I'm guessing you got the alpacas from the Sugarcreek auction?

Goats can be ok and some people do put their alpacas with goats. The only problems I see are that goats are more prone to parasites which would be passed on to the alpaca and if the goats do a lot of playing and butting, they could injure the alpaca. Goats poop everywhere and alpacas poop in a communal pile. So the alpacas may not like having poop in their sleeping quarters.

I have goats and I keep my alpacas and goats separate.

Karen
 

Quail

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I hope you don't mind, but I pm'ed you.

I knew Alpacas used a communal pile, but didn't think to tell my friend that. I called and left her a message to call me as soon as she can. I think she thought the goats would help keep her Alpaca from being lonely.

What does Alpaca poop look like? I know, that might sound silly to ask, but this morning I noticed a poop in the pasture that looked like deer droppings, just bigger and in a big clump, not scattered like chocolate chips. Would that be my Alpaca poop? Or was something else in the field?
 

ksalvagno

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It probably was the alpaca. With being in a new environment and eating different grass and hay, their stool can get clumpy. It should be pellets. Also if he has parasites it could get clumpy or loose. When they go to the bathroom, they stand in one spot so it wouldn't be scattered anyway.

The alpaca may do ok with the goats but I'm just used to not having alpacas in with anything else. Also, alpacas won't eat grass if there is poop around. So I don't know if goat beans all over will have an affect on him or not. Depending on where he came from, it may not matter to him. She could try him in with the goats and see how it works out. I have always found that animals seem to like having at least one of their own kind.

When I got my first llama, she seemed fine with the alpacas. Never thought she was lonely or anything. But when I brought home that second llama, they immediately started hanging out together and I realized that she while she did just fine with the alpacas, she was actually happier with another llama. You can always find the llamas together hanging out.
 

MrsCountryChick

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ksalvagno said:
If you are in Ohio, I could probably put you in contact with people who would be willing to practically give away another male.
We're just starting out with Llamas & looking towards Alpacas & I was wondering why people would "practically give away a male"? I understand an extra male would be extra & not needed for breeding, but why don't people use them (gelded) for their fiber? I mean even if it's not a greatly high quality coat it'd still be soft compared to other fiber yarns people use to crochet with, like Acrylic store bought yarn.? I myself crochet & can't wait to have fiber for spinning into hats, etc. Personal items, etc for our family & as gifts. Just puzzles me, cuz geldings get along with females, so an extra fence wouldn't even be needed.? Fiber is fiber, you can't tell gender once it's been sheared off the animal.

And besides breeding Alpaca's for selling their cria, aren't they primarily used for their fiber? :idunno

What does the process of gelding an alpaca cost?..... Surely from the purchase cost of an Alpaca it'd be worth it to geld one & keep it for fiber?
 

ksalvagno

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You would be suprised how many people get into alpacas and really don't do anything with their fiber. Gelding costs about $170-$200 in my area. Many people don't have a lot of space too. Personally, I will hang onto my males and sell them to a home where I know they will be well cared for. Some have been around longer than others and some long enough that I have them gelded myself but I always make sure my alpacas are going to homes that they will be well cared for. There are many people who just don't want to put any money into males and take them to the exotic auctions in Ohio where they usually go for meat. This alpaca was very lucky.

Yes, alpacas are primarily used for fiber. Gelded males actually keep their softness longer than animals that are still intact. Depends on the male if they can be kept in with females. If it is an aggressive or very playful gelding, they may hurt or kill crias. I personally don't keep any males in with my females including geldings for that reason. But many people do have geldings in with their females.

Room in the barn and pastures are probably the biggest reason people are now practically giving away males. Plus with the economy the way it is now, people don't want to spend money on the feed and hay for males.

If you are into the fiber, then it is well worth it to get a few gelding males or males that you have to geld and use their fiber. Some people are making good money on selling alpaca products. Not to mention that alpaca products are expensive so if you can make your own at low cost, all the better.
 

MrsCountryChick

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Yea I never thought to of the space issue at all. But to keep the females also leaves a farmer in a dilema due to the offspring being related to thier Sire. (so if the same sire were used on that females later when they're able to be bred it'd be inbreeding). But I guess if males are cheaper they could replace thier heard Sire later when it comes times to breeding the crias later.

How sad they go for meat even. :( :smack Such beautiful creatures. I've heard of horrible stories where alot of horses that are bought at auctions are bought for meat.

That was my thought too ...that due to finances now-a-days that winter feeding would be a reason to downsize any animal herd. Lucky for us a family friend who has been a farmer all his life (sold the Dairy cows) but still remains a hay & straw farmer, so we get a good price for hay & straw.

I've read about the Bezerk (I think it's called) syndrome where when a cria is hand raised or handled too much it gets too human attached & identifies humans as thier own species & can be aggressive & act inapropriately... I've read online where some act so bad they have to be put down. Does that only affect Llamas or does it affect Alpacas too? And Llamas are very intelligent is this true of Alpacas? Llamas can be very aloof to human attension (they don't crave it......I've read online where some people have Llamas that after years of owning still won't come near for any human attension. Luckily mine are indepentent yet friendly (to me atleast, I'm the primary care taker). Is this true of Alpacas? or are they more "people pets" than Llamas.

Do Alpacas have "fighting canine teeth" like Llamas?

My male is very gentle at about 400lbs (which is good thing :) ), but I'd hate to put an alpaca male fenced in alone by himself but I don't want to have an injury to an alpaca due to my male. As camilids would my male want to 'wrestle' with an alpaca like another Llama?

Wow I thought the whole Alpaca raising was primarily for their fibre! Didn't think people would have Alpacas & Not use them for thier fibre. I've read that thier fibre is valued more than cashmere. I'm sure that's from the top of the line coats tho. But Llamas have soft coats, I can only imagine even a medium quality coat from an Alpaca would be soft. I can't wait to spin some Llama yarn in the spring!

How do you shear yours in the spring? I plan to have hubby make a sort of 'chute' & make a closure for the back so after I have the animal enter (to eat of course) I'll close the back. Then with the animal secure I can safely shear. I feel that'll be the safest for both the animal & us humans. But if the animal is used to shearing & entensive human contact it'd probably be an easy job. But with the size of mine I'll take the 'safest' road to shearing. Plus I've read that it's better to shear in the longest cuts so you have the best for spinning.

I was suprised that camilds can't be gelded as like goats like with a bizzaro. To make it quick & less stressful that the whole vet process. If they could then maybe many males would be gelded that way & find homes instead of being sold for meat.... that's sad. We have no prob eating deer meat from hunting, but that's where we draw the line. I know of an auction where some idiot buys ALOT of rabbits each week & literally "tosses" them into cages for transport. Poor souls are probably being used for meat. :hit :(

Sorry for so many questions but I'd like all information I can get to give them the best care. :) :D ....for "whenever" we get any. :) & you seem to be an experienced expert from raising your own. :)
 

ksalvagno

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Berserk male syndrome can happen to llamas or alpacas including females. Most of the time it is from people bottle feeding and loving on them. I have successfully bottle fed males but I was strictly milk and didn't talk to them or pet them or anything. Sometimes intact males will get extremely aggressive. Yes, some do have to be put down. It isn't worth risking injury or death to a human and it is unfair to the animal since they usually end up neglected or abused as a result.

Alpacas are the same as llamas as far as wanting attention from humans. You run into the llama or alpaca every once in a great while that does like human attention but usually not. They like me because I'm the feed person.

The money in alpacas right now is still in the selling of alpacas or their offspring. So that is what a lot of people get into it for. The biggie with alpacas is that they are not normally butchered for meat which most people who get into alpacas don't want to have to make money on selling for meat.

Alpacas do have fighting teeth. Females do have fighting teeth but they usually don't grow like the males. I have only had one female that actually had to have fighting teeth trimmed. Intact males seem to need them trimmed at least once a year. Geldings don't need their teeth trimmed as often and some not at all once they are gelded.

You actually have to watch the alpacas with fighting more so than the llamas. I had a male that beat up my llamas and I actually had to get the llamas out of his area. He was a breeding male though. Llamas and alpacas can do just fine together. I have 2 female llamas with my female alpacas.

Boys will be boys. They do physically play a lot more than females. Geldings usually aren't as bad as intact males. Intact males usually get into some nasty fights when they can smell open females. If all of your boys are gelded, I wouldn't worry about it. There is always the possible problem of personalities not mixing but I don't see that too often.

I have a professional shearer come out every year and shear. We do the rope system that the animal is stretched out on the floor. This past year I did have my llamas sheared by another person who used a chute. With the llamas, it really went very well but took much longer. I actually like the chute better than the ropes with the llamas. I prefer the ropes with the alpacas. Size being the biggest issue.

Yes, I think more people would be interested in keeping males if the gelding was cheaper. The gelded males need less grain than the breeding animals so if you have a lot of pasture, even hay wouldn't be a big issue.

Taking care of llamas or alpacas is really the same thing. Only difference is size. If you have males and don't plan to breed, I would have them gelded if they aren't already. Age 3 seems to be the magic age where even the nicest of males can become aggressive. I think it is just too much testosterone. I always like to take the hormone element out anyway.

I know alpaca people wouldn't like me saying this but after owning both, I think llamas are smarter than alpacas. But llamas were bred to be workers and alpacas were bred for fiber and meat (at least in South America). Not saying that alpacas are dumb though. I have no problems training alpacas. But with llamas you can actually see them thinking about things.

I've owned alpacas for 12 years and I also do birthing for other alpaca farms. Just got into goats and chickens this year.
 
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