We do know Alpacas are definitely cute and people love meeting them. Here are ten things you did not know about alpacas:
1) There are only two breeds, the huacaya (wuh-kai-ya), which has fluffy hair (fleece) akin to a teddy bear, and the suri alpaca which has long wavy hair (fleece), that hangs off its body and kinda looks like dreadlocks.
2) Like their cousins the llamas, alpacas spit when angry or annoyed. Lucky for us, our alpacas are well behaved and only spit at each other when I have the food bucket. I do have to admit, I have been caught in the spitfire a couple of times.
3) Alpacas are gentle on the land with their soft pads on their feet, which does not churn up the paddocks like a cow or horse’s hooves. They do have long nails (just like a dog's) and we trim them every three months.
4) They are known as good lawnmowers as when alpacas eat grass, they snip off the top of the plant unlike some other animals that pull the grass up by the root when eating.
5) They “cush” when seated, meaning they fold their legs under their body making them easy to transport in smaller trailers.
6) Alpacas’ tails are used to express feelings to each other. If they’re bothered by something they will twitch it back and forth. If an animal is being submissive it will raise its tail over its body and crouch down.
7) Alpacas always poop in the same place. They line up to use these communal dung piles in the paddock. We then scoop it up and use in our garden beds as its known as 'alpaca gold' due to no weeds being transferred.
8) Mothers almost always have their babies in the morning. By having their babies in the morning, the cria will have the whole day to dry off, begin walking around, and nurse from its mother before the temperatures begin to drop.
9) Females have an 11.5 month gestation period and about 90% of the time they don’t need help in the delivery of the babies.
10) Alpacas love to sunbathe. The first time I saw them sunbathing, I freaked out as they look like they are dead. You can walk right up to them and they won't hear you in their deep sunny slumber. I wish I could sleep like that!
Don’t forget about our 4 pax farm stay where you can enjoy a full weekend of interaction with these lovely animals. Fact 11, they love to hog the camera! See our farm stay for more details.
If you have small acreage and would love some wethers as fantastic lawnmowers, please contact us as we always have several available for sale. Training and alpaca workshops are also held at Little Valley Farm.