Alpaca Care 101

Have you been considering getting alpacas? Alpacas are actually lots of fun to raise and watch, and can make great—and even profitable—pets. They are actually the cheapest and easiest type of livestock to keep. Plus, they’re really very cute. A local Marietta, GA vet discusses basic alpaca care in this article.

Shelter

Alpacas are quite hardy. Although they can tolerate extreme cold, they aren’t quite as happy in hot weather. Your furry buddies will need a good barn or a three-sided shelter. In summer, you will probably need to add fans to ensure proper ventilation and air flow.

Water

Like any other animal, alpacas need fresh water. These guys can be a bit picky about their water, and will avoid drinking stagnant or dirty water. On hot days, your alpacas may love getting hosed down, or playing in a wading pool. However, too much water play isn’t really good for their fur, and can actually ruin their coats, so don’t let your alpacas soak too long. Ask your vet for advice.

Pasturage

Alpacas don’t need a lot of land: you can keep several on one acre. However, to prevent overgrazing, we recommend rotating between pastures, if possible. You will, of course, need a sturdy fence.

Diet

Alpacas are grazing animals, so if you have suitable pasturage, you may only need to feed your alpacas hay as a supplement. However, if your pasture isn’t adequate, you’ll need to feed them hay all the time. Your vet may also advise you to offer mineral licks, and perhaps some grain, to round out your furry friend’s nutritional needs. Ask your vet for specific nutritional advice, including portion sizes and suitable snacks. (Tip: try apples or carrots.)

Buddies

Alpacas are herd animals, and will get lonely and depressed without any buddies. We recommend getting at least two.

Veterinary Care

Just like any other animal, alpacas need regular veterinary care. Your four-legged pals should be examined and vaccinated annually. They will also require monthly de-worming, as well as regular dental care and nail trims. Ask your vet to recommend an appointment schedule.

Shearing

Alpaca fur is very versatile, and can be woven into many different products. We recommend shearing in the spring. This will also help your furry buddies stay cooler in summer.

Please contact us, your Marietta, GA pet hospital, for your alpacas’ care needs. We’re here to help!