Alpacas: M-P

Manure

Alpaca manure is an excellent fertilizer for your garden. It's as good as chook poo! Alpaca manure can be spread on your garden straight from the paddock. It does not burn your plants. You'll be amazed at how your plants thrive with the application of alpaca poo. See also 'Poo Piles'.

Mating

Alpacas mate with the female in the cush (sitting down) position. Each mating can take from about 5 minutes to 30 minutes during which the female waits patiently for the male to finish and stand up.

If a female is already pregnant, she will refuse to cush. See 'Spit Off'.

It is strongly recommended that matings are not carried out so that the subsequent cria arrive during extremes of weather - very cold winter periods or very hot summer periods. See 'Gestation'. 

A female is at her most fertile about 2 to 6 weeks after birth. This is the best time to remate her. The longer a female is left not pregnant, the harder it can be to successfully remate her. Females 'like' to be pregnant. See also 'Breeding'. 

Number

See 'How Many' alpacas.

Nutrition

At it's simplest, alpacas need no more than plenty of grass to eat plus water to remain healthy. They need a higher fibre diet than sheep or cattle, so native grasses are very good for alpacas. Alpacas also benefit from having good quality pasture, especially if they are pregnant or are feeding their young. 

Alpacas also enjoy chaff made from lucerne or oats, but if feeding alpacas with chaff, make sure your animals also get hay or pasture grass. They need the long fibres that only hay or grass provides. 

Take care that alpacas do not get into your garden. They may take more of a liking to your precious plants than you would like, and some garden plants are toxic to them too. 

There are many processed feeds available. Alpacas enjoy these as a supplement to grass, and they are good for them to supply extra protein, vitamins and minerals if required. But do not make these the primary source of food. Pasture grass or hay should always supply the bulk of an alpacas diet. 

Other Animals

Alpacas bond very well with other animals like sheep, goats, and chickens. In fact they will 'adopt' these animals as part of their social group and protect them from predators such as foxes. Alpacas can kill foxes, see 'Foxes'. 

Alpacas learn to live with domestic dogs. They can learn that your pet dog is not a threat, but they will not become friends with your dog. A dog they do not know is treated with suspicion and may be killed if it threatens them or an animal in their social group. If you have a dog, you must train the dog how to behave when near the alpaca. 

Cattle and horses can injure an alpaca if they are run together, so caution needs to be exercised with these combinations of animals. 

Ovulation

Alpaca, like cats and rabbits, are induced ovulators. This means they do not have a fertile breeding season, but can be mated successfully at any time of year. 

See also 'Mating'.

Pets

Alpacas make great pets! Like many pets, the more time you spend with them, the more relaxed they become as they learn to trust you. 

Given time, alpacas will eat out of your hands and can be trained to walk on a halter. They are safe with children and it is great to involve children in everything you do with your alpacas.

Alpacas are not dogs or cats. They become affectionate only rarely, but they are curious intelligent animals that do enjoy interacting with humans. 

Poo Piles

Yes, alpacas (mostly) poo in piles making it easy to collect to keep paddocks clean. Check out our gallery for a photo of this phenomenon!

Processed Food

See 'Nutrition'.

 


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