Alpaca Husbandary

You want to raise alpacas but are wondering about how much land you will need? You can have about 8 alpacas per acre (depending on land productivity it can go up to 10 alpacas per acre).

You should protect your alpacas against predators. The alpaca is a prey in the animal world. In Canada, his enemies are the coyotes, wolves and stray dogs and also domestic dogs. Somewhere in my lectures I heard that without the presence of their master, the domestic dogs can be a threat for alpacas. They dig a hole under the fence and go cut young alpaca’s throat. The ancestral instinct resurfaced when they are confronted with their natural prey. It is not any dog that go well with alpacas as shepherd.

It seems that only the Montagne des Pyrénées or the Maremmo are reliable on this matter. If you want  a shepherd dog for your alpacas, we strongly recommend that you do your own research first.

Some breeders use a llama to guard the alpaca herd. The llama is more aggressive than the alpaca and protect them. But some llamas can be difficult. I

If your fences around the perimeter are high and solid enough, you would not need any other measure to protect your alpacas. By the way if your alpacas are anxious about some animal nearby, one of them will shout an alarm cry: It sounds like a pulley that you forgot to grease in years!

The deer could also be a danger for alpacas. Evidently it is not a predator but his feces may contain infected larvae which snails loved and then alpacas ate infected snails, got the Lyme disease and die.There is two solutions to this problem: high enough fences so that deers cannot come into your pasture and a systematic maintenance of the immediate surrounds of your fences.

The surrounds must be clear so that snails would not like to go there because it is not humid.


The nightmare of new breeders. Wath kind of fence do I need?

All depends on your environment. If you have deers or canines nearby, don’t hesitate to install an 8 feet fence (21/2 - 3 meters) for your perimeter (12 feet poles, 3 feet down in the ground).

It is better to avoid treated wood poles because alpacas will probably taste them and they contain contaminants for alpacas.

The link must be resistant with thight knots. The game fence 96 inches (8 feet or 2.5m) with thight knots will do fine. The meshes are finer at the base and larger at the top so that crias cannot have their little head stuck in the fence.

A 2inches by 4 inches mesh is also doing well.

It may be necessary to install outside your perimeter a two feet mesh on the ground (or 6 inches under) to prevent animals to dig a hole under your fence.

A 4 feet (1 ½ meter) fence is enough in the inside. And lots of doors!


You have to know that alpacas like to see each other all the time. If you have a perfect pasture for your weaning crias and they can only see their mummies in a corner, they will be in that corner all the time. If you have the perfect shelter for your males but from there they cannot see the female’s shelter, they won’t go in there.

Here are some type of pens that you may need: a clean birthing pen for new mothers and crias, a quarantine or isolation pen, a newcomers pasture or/and pen, a 6 feet by 8 feet catch pen for the alpaca training, a special area for weaned crias, another for young males, another for adult males, etc.

Think about a trailer access for your alpacas transportation, some shelters in the pastures to protect your alpacas from the sun in summer and from the cold wind in winter.

In the barn, you have to have enough eaters so that all alpacas can have access (18-24 inches per alpaca) including the youngs and those inferiors in the herd’s hierarchy.

The shelter or the barn is useful to protect the crias and their mothers when it is really cold outside. The alpacas will use them in case of ice storm or strong cold winds in winter and to be protected from the sun in summer.

Alpacas must have access to fresh water all the time.


The following is a list of the equipment and material that you will need if you want to breed alpacas:

Drinking stalls: the stalls provided with valves at the bottom, like those used for horses, do not work for alpacas because they do not push with their nostrils in order to drink. So choose stalls that have no valves at the bottom.

Feeders: Plan enough space for hay and for pellets; a space that is 18-24 inches wide is necessary for each alpaca.

Mineral tubs: a little tub that measures about 8 inches and that you can hang on a wall is sufficient.

Individual bowls: even if alpacas have no idea of what “individuality” means, individual bowls may be useful if you have to give one animal a special diet, or for any other reason.

Heating buckets: these buckets have an integrated electric wire at the bottom which prevents water from freezing. Plan to have one in each pasture. They are very useful in northern countries!

Halters: The Zephyr Alpaca halter for alpacas is very good because it is adjustable. You may need three sizes: small, medium and large.

Leads: Plan on small leads (6-8 feet long) and longer ones (10-12 feet long). You will use them for training.

Scale: The digital scale is easier to use than the sling scale to weigh your crias. If you choose a digital scale, look for one that has a precise weighing measurement of .1 pound.

Clippers: we use the Heinnegger 220 Watts and combs that are made for sheep. Very satisfactory.

Wool shears and toenail clipper.

Shearing table: You can easily shear our alpacas on the ground if you have devices that will keep them still.

Sorting table: you can make it yourself, it’s easy. Buy metal legs that can fold, then make a wooden frame on which you will hook a pin that is resistant (with holes no larger than 1 cm) Then fix the metal legs to the two pieces of wood that you have put across the frame and voilà!