Why the Alpaca?  These wonderfully gentle creatures are easy to keep or farm, they are docile, intelligent, very curious ... and cuddly.

What kind of Pasture and Paddocks suit the Alpaca? Farming them is easy on the pasture as they are gentle feeders and their feet, cushioned pads, cause minimal damage even to wet pasture. Generally, they use 'middens' (dung piles in fixed places) which makes for easy clean up. Health-wise this makes the alpaca less susceptible to parasites and diseases as most of the pasture remains clear of droppings contamination.

Are they Tolerant of New Zealand Weather? Because of their ancestry high in the mountains of South America they are very hardy animals that will stand cold, wet winters as well as hot, dry summers. Cover for alpacas is not a requirement although we do have shelters available; they are rarely used by our alpacas. They are very efficient feeders, too, getting better nourishment out of a range of different pasture types than sheep would.

Things to Watch For?  The main issue with alpaca, in both a business and pleasure sense, is the slow pace of breeding. Although the birthing very rarely requires any intervention, and nearly always takes place during the day, you do have to wait 11½ months after mating for the cria, a baby alpaca, to arrive!. They are natural mothers and usually do not need any additional care from us humans. The cria is usually walking within two hours, and feeding from his mum within three.

Winter Farming - Things to Consider? In the winter we do have to give a Vitamin ADE injection to the young alpaca cria and tui as farming at the low altitudes of New Zealand do mean these youngsters do not get the ultra-violet exposure they usually receive in the South American Alta Plano at 3-4,000 meters.  Also, our green pastures don't offer the roughage of this environment so small amounts of hay do help supplement their ruminen function.  Shelter is not critical although wind breaks mean their energy requirements would be much less during rougher weather - the Alta Plano is a much tougher environment!

The Future for the Alpaca?  Finally, the alpaca has a significant future. Today alpaca owners have the opportunity to take a variety of strategies towards their alpaca - colour, fleece type, fleece fineness, genetic line, temperament, confirmation - an unlimited choice and plenty of space for any new or established breeder. And that future is imbedded in the ease of management of these wonderful animals, and in the ease of learning for all breeders about how to get the best from their herd, large or small.

What do I do with my Gorgeous Alpaca Fibre?  The vacuum today for the whole industry is the natural issue of the slow breeding cycle of the alpaca; this is the primary reason the branding of 'New Zealand alpaca fibre' still being in its infancy as we cannot yet deliver merino-scale commercial quantities of alpaca fibre.  But we at Flagstaff Alpacas are buying and processing plenty of white and cream alpaca fleece - in 2009 we processed 1.1 tonnes of white and fawn(camel) fleece.  And we are not the only buyer in the market ... significant progress in the last 10 years!

Further Questions?  There is an extensive list of questions you might have on our FAQs page.  Or simply make contact and we can forward more details and magazines on farming alpacas.