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Alpacas and Llamas
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Author:  Granny Smith [ Sun Jan 10, 2010 11:59 am ]
Post subject:  Alpacas and Llamas

Not exactly a backyard animal, but alpacas and llamas are useful for the garden since they deposit their dung all in one place so that it is easy to collect. Makes magnificent fertiliser and, I believe, has been analysed as better than sheep for nutrients.

Author:  Simo [ Sun Jan 10, 2010 1:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Alpacas and Llamas

What do they taste like?

Author:  earthbound [ Sun Jan 10, 2010 1:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Alpacas and Llamas

Interesting thought, I guess people in some countries must eat them.

So I wonder if their manure has better nutrient levels than sheep do they eat a different diet, more browsing rather than grazing, or do they not extract as much out of their feed.

Author:  Granny Smith [ Sun Jan 10, 2010 4:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Alpacas and Llamas

At several hundred dollars per animal (in Oz), not many people would be eating them although apparently it is possible in Vic where there are many more, so unproductive ones are culled. The South Americans certainly eat them.

They are grown mainly for their fleece and their diet is more like that of goats than sheep - they reject soft green vegetation in favour of harsh dry grass, etc. Make lovely pets, too - we have llamas and alpacas on our property.

Author:  dufflight [ Sun Jan 10, 2010 7:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Alpacas and Llamas

Be good to have a manure source. Not sure if council would let us keep them in town. Aparantly even our rural town you are not allowed to have chickens.

Author:  Simo [ Sun Jan 10, 2010 7:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Alpacas and Llamas

Lots of my neighbors have alpacas and from talking to them it seems to be a self sustaining industry ie people spend a small fortune buying them so they can breed them and sell the offspring for a small fortune to other people who are going to breed them.

I know they have very valuable fleece and a mate paid a heap to buy alpaca wool carpet for his house.

Based on $500 for a cheap alpaca how long do you think it would take an Alpaca to pay for itself just off the price of it's wool alone?

Author:  Granny Smith [ Mon Jan 11, 2010 8:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Alpacas and Llamas

$500 would be a cheap alpaca and therefore not a top fleece (which is not wool, by the way) so quite a few years. At about 2kgs per animal a top fleece used to be around $50/kg (before the GFC), but that is a distant memory these days. But fleece alone is not a good proposition moneywise. You would expect a cria (baby) from each hembra (female) each year. At our llama stud the machos (males) not required for stud purposes are gelded and sold as pets or sheep guards which they do brilliantly.

BTW, scrap fleece goes well as mulch or in the compost. Better than sheep's wool which has more lanolin, so can be water repellent.

Author:  Simo [ Mon Jan 11, 2010 10:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Alpacas and Llamas

$50/kg is pretty good,

If you took your time building up a herd by breeding your self and supplimenting income by selling off exess males and other undesirable traits as pets or sheep guard alpacas you are minimising your setup costs untill you have enough stock to produce larger qualtities of fibre.

If you value added your fibre by home spinning and knitting into products they would more than pay for themselves and you get high quality easy to collect and potentially organic fertiliser. :)

Do they need to be kept in pairs?

A neighbor bought a single alpaca to put in a paddock with a couple of lambing ewes and it just keeled over after a few weeks, always looked stressed to me, maybe it was the pressure of the job.

Author:  Granny Smith [ Thu Jan 14, 2010 6:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Alpacas and Llamas

Value adding is always a good idea if it is not too labour intensive which spinning is, but most relaxing.

Yes, they should be kept in pairs. Most breeders know not to sell single animals, but perhaps they thought it would bond with the sheep. Alpacas are more liable to stress than llamas. 'Llamas are calmer'. What a shame it died. That's a lot of money wasted.

Author:  Ccbear [ Thu May 24, 2012 10:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Alpacas and Llamas

What a difference a year makes, there are now eating houses serving alpaca in Sydney and Melbourne. I saw a news show last week with alpaca farmers saying they are now breeding for the meat industry.

Author:  Granny Smith [ Fri May 25, 2012 12:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Alpacas and Llamas

Yes, alpaca meat is available now in the eastern states and has been seen advertised by the butcher in Mundaring. Alpacas have now almost lost their 'exotic animal' label and herds of several hundreds are to be found in most states including WA. The purpose of such big herds is for their fleece, so if an animal has inferior fleece it makes sense to use it for meat, as with sheep.

Llamas, however, are still too expensive, due to their rarity, to be considered for meat.

Author:  JORGY [ Fri May 25, 2012 11:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Alpacas and Llamas

So what is the main differance between Alpacas and Llamas? They look the same to me. Do the males stink like a billy goat? We used to have goats when I was a child, and the billy goats reeked. What sort of fencing do they require?

Author:  Granny Smith [ Sun May 27, 2012 7:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Alpacas and Llamas

There are small differences between alpacas and llamas. They are both camelids. Llamas, of course, are bigger and are more 'friendly' with a calmer nature while alpacas are 'nervy' and highly strung (generally speaking). Alpacas have a better fleece than llamas although both are softer than sheep wool. There are two types of alpaca. Huacaya (say wuckiya) are the sweet-faced fluffy animals used in publicity. Suri are less 'pretty' but have a fantastic fleece that hangs in silken locks. Both llamas and alpacas will spit if annoyed at each other - you just have to stay out of the way.

Physically you can most easily tell the difference, apart from size, by their ears. Llamas have banana shaped ears that curve inwards and alpaca ears are straight. Llamas also carry their tails high while alpacas' tails cover their backsides.

We keep both llamas and alpacas fenced by three electric wires, the top one for llamas should be at least 1.2 metres high (piggy tail extensions on a waratah picket).

Llamas/alpacas are definitely not smelly like goats. They even have sweet breath. They are clean living as well, with a dung pile where it is all deposited.

Author:  JORGY [ Mon May 28, 2012 9:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Alpacas and Llamas

Thanks for that info Granny Smith.

Author:  Tatum hills [ Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Alpacas and Llamas

Hello, I've just joined the forum and stumbled across this thread. We started breeding llamas about a year 18 months ago and just LOVE them! They are gentle, quiet and gorgeous. They are gentle on the land with their padded feet, they are browsers so will have a go at most weeds, not just eat all the grass. They require less drenching and other chems as they don't eat near their poo piles. Easy to contain with simple fences, easy to tame, safe around little kids, easy to breed, birth easily and during the day and just SO relaxing to have around... The ultimate Eco-friendly livestock!

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