Alpaca Supplies that Work for Us
Raising alpacas or any other farm animal sure takes a lot of stuff. Keeping your herd healthy and happy takes work. Having the proper alpaca farm equipment, tools, and supplies makes the work easier and makes for a happy alpaca owner.
Here I’m going to review what equipment and supplies that we at AMC have settled on after years of trial and error.
Let’s start with water buckets for alpacas
This is the most important alpaca farm item to get first!
Having a steady and reliable supply of water is critical. Here is what we do; for any pasture with five or more alpacas, get a 100 gallon stock waterer with a drain plug. At only 25 inches high, all but baby alpacas can reach to the bottom. On one hot summer day, a herd of 40 or so can drain one of these dry. Water buckets get pretty nasty if they are not cleaned out regularly, the drain plug makes that job easier.
These water tanks come in 50gal, 70gal, 100gal, and 150gal sizes. For a field with 2 or 3 alpacas, a 50 gallon tank is fine. There are a lot of larger sizes but moving, emptying, or cleaning them is too difficult. Some large waterers do make for good hay feeders though.
Here is the best garden hose we have ever used
Many alpaca ranches have a hose bibb in every pasture. That is ideal! However, we have to use hoses to water our 11 different pens. Over the years we have purchased many different brands of garden hose. One brand stands out, Gilmour.Most of our Gilmour hoses were purchased 15 years ago or so and are starting to show their age. But 15+ years of daily use; amazing!The large 3/4 inch hose has great flow even when two 100 footers are hooked together. ==>Click Here to See Hose
We also have an emergency water supply
Sands calls it a swimming pool, so I play along. I consider it a vital piece of alpaca farm equipment!
To make my emergency water supply useful I use a submersible pump that has a fitting for a garden hose. This came in handy one time when the well pump failed and it took a few days to get a new one See, paranoia pays off…
Ah, but what happens when the power goes out? For that we have a generator. Actually a generator is also good when an outlet is not nearby or easily accessible. This is the what we have, except ours has bigger wheels: This generator is big enough to run almost anything household related, including the well pump with some wiring modifications. The generator is always standing by on shearing days. That would be a very bad time to lose power!
How about alpaca farm security?
Ranch layout is an important consideration. For instance here we have no gates from any pen or pasture that opens to an unfenced area. Every gate opens to another fenced area and exterior gates from theses areas are locked. We can see all of the exterior gates and most of the interior spaces with this… This camera does it all; up, down, left, right. zoom in or out and with night vision. Very nice! You can control all of this from your mobile device from anywhere or just use your home computer. If you have blind spots, you can add more of these cameras and choose the camera view with the phone app.
Now the important stuff; poop scooping!
This is the alpaca farm equipment you’ll need second!
I know a LOT about this…
To keep the alpacas healthy and happy daily manure removal is a must. If you are running them on very large acreage this could be impractical. To break parasite life cycles and to keep flies down, regular poop scooping is necessary. Here are my tools of the trade. The wheelbarrow; you will find the two wheels are a huge help on hilly or uneven ground. A big bucket minimizes trips back and forth.
Do you want to be known as someone who has their poop together? Then this is the rake you need:
You now have the basic equipment needed for your alpaca poop removal and exercise program.
As I say “business is picking up”…
To Be Continued…..
All alpacas for sale by one owner are available as an alpaca package or for sale individually
(Alpaca is for sale in Nevada)
White female alpaca, huacaya
(Alpaca for sale in Nevada)
Female alpaca- huacaya
$750. (Alpaca for sale in Nevada)
Female huacaya alpaca
(Location, AMC, NV)
Gingersnap Maiden Fawn Huacaya Female Alpaca
MALES – PACKAGES & INDIVIDUALS
Quil is in the back
What is an Alpaca?
Did you know that alpacas are one of the earliest domesticated livestock animals in the world? Alpacas have been bred and raised for their fine fleece for over 6000 years. Ancient people created alpacas more than 1000 years before the pyramids of Egypt were built!
Alpacas, llamas, vicuñas, guanacos, and camels are all related through common ancestors. The whole group are known as camelids. Thousands of years ago Indians in South America created alpacas by the careful selective breeding of the wild ancestors of alpacas; the vicuña. There is some speculation that alpacas were developed by breeding vicuñas with some unknown extinct camelid.
The term ‘wool’ in the U.S. pertains to sheep only, so the alpaca industry calls the alpaca production ‘fleece’ or ‘fiber’. What makes the alpaca fleece special is that it is very fine and soft, hypoallergenic, water resistant, and flame resistant. All of this plus they come in colors of white, black, gray, brown, and every shade in between.
All of these qualities have made alpacas not only very special animals, but also a vitally important part of several South American economies for over 6000 years.
What do alpacas eat?
Alpacas are vegetarians. They are ruminants and have three stomachs, or more accurately, a three compartment stomach. Alpacas are also known as a modified ruminants due to having three compartments, not the usual four.
Ruminants like the alpaca can digest the cellulose in plants. Most other animals cannot digest cellulose. The stomachs of ruminants are fermenters containing special microorganisms. These microorganisms do the work of breaking down the plant material. Ruminants chew their food over and over and mechanically break down the food so the microorganisms can do their job better. For most of us it’s grass in– grass out…
Alpacas thrive on grasses like orchard grass, timothy, teff, bermuda grass, and many others. In the high Andes mountains, where alpacas come from, there is a native rangeland grass called ichu. Ichu is not very high in nutritional qualities. Alpacas have adapted to this grass by developing a very efficient digestive system. Alpacas are said to be 30% more efficient than sheep in digesting grass.
Another question might be “what should an alpaca eat?” because they’ll eat pretty darn near anything green. That’s not always a good thing. Don’t let them loose in your garden!
Most alpacas think alfalfa is the best stuff ever. However most people think that alfalfa is too high in protein and will make an alpaca fat and the fleece coarser. This is true, sort of. Sometimes an alpaca has a problem with digestion because of illness or age. Alfalfa is perfect for this. If the grass they are being fed is of poor quality, adding alfalfa is great.
Another thing; lawn grass like fescue and rye should not be fed to alpacas. The reason is that fescues contain what is called ‘endophytes‘ inside the plant. Endophytes are an internal fungus that helps the grass fight off plant diseases. Great for the grass; bad for your alpacas!
Rye grass can be attacked by a fungus called ‘ergot‘. This fungus contains the basic ingredient to make LSD. Nothing good is going to come from that!
Strains of fescue and rye have been created to minimize the fungus problem. So if you must feed these grasses, make sure to use improved and resistant varieties.
All animals need salt. Most livestock can use a salt block, but alpacas don’t do well with them. They prefer loose salt. We get ours from Stillwater Minerals. Stillwater makes a mineral/ salt mix that is supplemented with vitamins. You should keep in mind that most soils that grass hay is grown on gradually get depleted of fertility, so you must make up for what is missing.
What we do is feed a variety of grass hays from different places and also supplement when and where needed.
How long do alpacas live?
The most common answer is 15 to 20 years. A lot depends on where the alpacas live, and under what conditions. For instance, in South America the half of the alpaca babies die before their 1st year. Alpacas who’s fleece isn’t good enough tend to get eaten.
Here in the U.S. the alpacas stand a good chance of living a long life. We have good food, excellent veterinary care, and (usually) fairly mild conditions.
Ian Nelson imported the first alpacas into New Zealand. His alpacas were from a London zoo. Among this first group was a female that was born in the zoo and nicknamed “Vomiting Violet” for her habit of spitting. Vomiting Violet lived to the age of 28, making her the longest lived alpaca I can find with a known birth date.
We have had quite a few alpacas live into their early 20’s here at AMC. Actually we have a couple of them here right now (2017).
In today’s world, the Alpaca is still an amazing animal which has done very well as an investment livestock animals. But, how do we at The Alpaca Mining Company really relate to these creatures? Perhaps the following excerpts from an article I wrote for Alpacas Magazine wild help to explain our feelings: Laugh? I laughed …