Alpacas were domesticated in northern Peru thousands of years ago. They are a part of the same animal family as camels and llamas. Alpacas are often mistaken for llamas, but alpacas are much smaller. Alpacas first arrived in Canada in the late 1980s. They were imported in groups from Chile, Peru, and Bolivia.
Alpacas were domesticated in Peru thousands of years ago.
Alpacas are raised for the fibre they produce. The fibre is as soft and silky as wool, but much warmer and stronger. Alpacas come in many different colours such as white, brown, black, grey, and a combination of these colours. Alpacas usually live 20 – 25 years, and weigh anywhere from 125 – 175 pounds. Herd sizes on alpaca farms in Canada typically range from 10 – 70 alpacas.
Alpacas can be a variety of colours.
People often mix up alpacas and llamas, so here are some defining differences between these two animals.
Who is Who?
Alpacas live outside in the pasture all year long. They are able to live in extreme climates, such as cold Saskatchewan winters. They have a three-sided shelter that they can go in if there is a storm. They are typically fed twice a day, but sometimes only once depending on the farm.
Alpacas are rugged enough to live outside all year round but need some shelter for storms.
Many alpaca farmers are increasing the use of technology on their farms. From computerized heating systems to surveillance cameras that warn farmers about predators, technology is making the day-to-day work of alpaca farming easier!
Some alpaca farmers manage their pastures by using satellites that provide farmers with photos of their herds. This allows farmers to check their fences without always going to the pasture.
Farmers can monitor their alpaca herds with drones!
Phones, tablets, and computers are used to access apps that help farmers track the weather, farm management, and animal husbandry. This is also a great tool to stay connected with other alpaca farmers, and with others in the alpaca industry.
Technology such as phones are important for farmers to manage their farms and look after their alpacas.