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Discussion Starter #1
can you please help me understand why an alpaca as apposed to a goat or cow? I get that they are kinda cute but what purpose do they serve? There are some people that you can just look into their eyes and see the lights are on but no bodies home. I see that same blank look in the alpacas. hercsmama there is an alpaca in the second picture that you posted I don't know if it's honey or elmo but the lighter colored one has this same look. Please don't be mad at me.
 

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The primary use for alpacas is fiber, with the second most common use being meat. Purpose-wise they're more similar to sheep than cows or goats. Ours are for fiber because we run a successful fiber arts business (100% of our income) and thought that we might as well raise some of what we sell.

Ours are also pretty good browsers - not quite on par with our goats but they will eat all of the same stuff that the goats do.
 

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LOL!! I'm not mad, although Honey may take exception to that remark.:D

Actually, they are the most wonderful, curious things. Always coming to see what is going on, poking their noses in here and there, just to check out what everyone is doing.

We also got ours for fiber, although as Bramblefir stated, they can and are raised for meat. They are also great as Guardians, to a point.
We had a recent coyote issue, my two GP's dealt with it, but the 'Paca Boy's sure let it be known something was stalking around the fence line that night, right along with the dogs..:thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
bramblefir do you have a site that we could see what you make?
hercsmama glad you didn't get mad. I thought that I read there wasn't a lot of meat on them for the time and feed put in to them. either way I wouldn't mind having a couple one day. They seem to be friendly critters. Oh well maybe one day if I can ever get out of this place. I hope y'all keep the pictures coming.
 

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Our website is handsomefibers.com and I blog (recently started) about homesteading things at makeitgrowit.com. This is our first year with alpacas and I'm still prepping the fleeces for the mill. We'll have it spun into yarn to sell alongside our hand-dyed yarns.

The alpacas need about 2-3 lbs of feed a day and dress out at about 58% of live weight. Average weight of an adult male is 140 - 180 lbs. Typical butcher age is 18-24 months. In that time frame they would also be sheared twice with an average fleece weight of 5 lbs. A good raw fleece can still fetch $1.50/oz or more.

Like hercsmama our alpacas are also good guardians with an unmistakable "alert" call. This is a horrendous cell phone picture taken one evening when trying to bring the girls in:


What you can't see (but the girls are looking at) is a skunk. It had the moxie to run into the pasture even with all the alpacas waiting for it and they very nearly killed it. And yes, they did get sprayed. Thankfully this was after they were sheared.
 

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So bramblefir, do you actually eat them? I've heard people talk about how they can be for meat but it's always followed by "BUT WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT LOOKIT HIS LIL FACE?!", know what I mean? :D I'm also curious what an alpaca would taste like.

My mom keeps trying to talk me into getting some, but I'm perfectly happy with my fiber outsourced... I can't even spin as fast as I buy half the time, how on earth would I spin a herd worth of fleeces before I got another herd worth of fleeces? :D
 

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So bramblefir, do you actually eat them? I've heard people talk about how they can be for meat but it's always followed by "BUT WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT LOOKIT HIS LIL FACE?!", know what I mean? :D I'm also curious what an alpaca would taste like.

I have not, but would be very willing to do so. It's supposedly a sweet meat that's most similar to beef in taste.
 

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A couple questions.
Would alpacas do well in very cold winter areas? Snow
covered around here November to April with sub zero temps
most dec to march, occasionally to -40. Do they adapt?
Feeding requirements for winter? And what about summer
pasture . Is it similar for goats?
Also as guardian animals would they be good to keep around
pasturing geese or turkey's to ward off predators like foxes?
 

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They handle cold really well so long as they have their fleeces - it's the heat that's difficult for them. They're originally from the Andes mountains and are well adapted to extreme cold.

Ours eat 2-3 pounds each of hay a day. When pasture is available we only give them a sheep mineral block. They do eat grass and browse.

They will definitely alert you to predators and ours absolutely hate dog or dog-like animals. We've had them try to kill a skunk that came into their pasture. We pen our females up in a covered area outside the chicken coop and have not lost a single chicken even when we've left the pop door open to the coop. We do find fox scat around the barn and have seen foxes running along our road, so we know they're around.
 
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