Alpacas: A-D


Alpaca females can become fertile from about 12 months of age, though many females benefit from being left to grow out for up to 18 to 24 months before becoming pregnant. 

Males can start work from between 24 to 40 months and young males need to be separated from females from about 18 months of age. General practice is to leave a male to grow out for a few years to see how well he develops before using him across females. An animal with a good first fleece may not retain these qualities into subsequent years and would not therefore be useful as a herd improver. 

See also 'Ovulation' and 'Gestation'.


Alpacas are easy to care for, but like any animal they do need some attention. The attached guide gives information about Routine Alpaca Care. Download Routine Care for Alpacas Guide


Alpaca colours vary from bright white to black through shades of grey. There is also every shade of fawn and brown.

Alpacas do not change colour as they age. They may have a few more 'grey hairs', but then, which of us doesn't get that!

What colour is your alpaca? The colour is determined by the colour of the fleece right next to the skin where it has not been sun bleached or dirtied by local soil colour. 


Alpaca prices reflect the quality of an alpaca's genetics. Genetics is of vital importance to alpaca breeders, and it is less important for people who want pets or stock guards. 

Alpaca breeders seek to improve the quality of the alpacas in their herd from one generation to the next. Quality is determined by a number of features including conformation, frame, fleece structure and colour. Also, the ability to pass on to the next generation desirable genetics increases the value of an alpaca. For females, their capability as mothers is also important. 

The least expensive alpacas are wethers or stock guards. The most expensive alpacas are stud males with genetics proven to improve the quality of a breeder's herd. Stud males range in price to many thousands or tens of thousands of dollars whereas a stock guard may be just a few hundred dollars.


A cria is a baby alpaca.


Baby alpaca's are called cria's, so the process of giving birth is sometimes called criation! The technical name for it is parturition. 


See 'Nutrition'.


Alpacas are very hardy and relatively disease free. Like all animals, they do benefit from a regular health regime. See 'Health'.


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