Animals - Alpaca

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Alpaca Vs Llamas

As part of our research Silvia and I joined both the Alpaca & Llama associations, by attending open days and other events we got good first hand knowledge we also got to see good animals and poor ones with conformation issues, we also looked at the conditions of the properties these animals came from ie. Pasture, weeds & manure piles.

At the same time we looked at the fencing and equipment necessary to deal with these animals and specialist jobs such as shearing and cutting toe nails.

Our first experience with alpaca's at home was when I had to take on my sisters pair of alpacas her kids had raised in the lounge and back yard in suburban Melbourne.

This was after a shire person visited the neighbors and looked over the fence to see the pair very happy in the back yard he issued an order to remove them within the week. Rusty & Rosie spent more than a year here and gave us some good lessons on Alpacas.

(Although they are classed as ruminants and therefore illegal to keep in a suburb in this Shire, I believe they are more suitable as pets than some dogs, they poo I one pile, they only make a small murrr sound, no barking and you can use them to mow the lawn and the shrubs and they are easy for the kids to walk around the neighborhood to browse).

In the 2002 drought we found two Llama’s Dizzy & Miso who had been saved as part of a Llama/ Alpaca rescue program for mistreated or unwanted animals, we picked them up for a good price as the facility was very short on feed . These two neutered males are just lovely they are a bit wary & aloof until you put there leads on then they are very gentle and can be tied up in the back yard to browse the grass and trees.


I am often asked what’s the difference between the two, so this is my opinion.


These are a herd animal they act more like a sheep.

More aloof much like a horse or a goat with


Back stands about the same height as a sheep 8-900mm full height 1.2-1.5mtrs

Back stands at 1.2-1.5mtrs full height 1.8- 2.1mtrs.


More of a grazing animal eating & even liking improved pastures but will also browse trees and shrubs. 

They need more nutrition it seems than the Llama.

More of a browsing animal but eat grass preferring native grasses and Plantains. 

Both will trim blackberries and keep them under control if first slashed or reduced by grazing goats previously.

Special needs.

As they do not lick their fur like some animals they suffer from a deficiency of vitamin A , D & Selenium. This appears as if the animal has rheumatism making it difficult to get up and down to eat leading to loss of weight and condition.

These are usually dealt with by an injection but I have seen good results with the mixes made from Pat Colby’s natural recipes.

Similar to the Alpaca but seem to have far less problems.


Really good fleece worth around $80 kg.

Sales of progeny.

Can carry up to a 65kg load, often given 2 packs one each side.

Are being used to carry the meals for hiking lunches.

Can be hitched to a light jinker,

in combinations from 1 to 4 animals
Permaculture uses

Fibre, property care, poos in a nice pile for collection. Blackberry control,

Has a soft hoof not a cloven one so less impact on the soil.

One day in Australia they will be used for meat.

Looking after young lambs and kids.

Fibre (Off the barrel only but poorer quality) property care, poos in a nice pile for collection. Blackberry control, I have found them very gentle between fruit trees in the winter after leaf fall.

Has a soft hoof not a cloven one so less impact on the soil this also means they can go into the state forests for trekking (with permission of course)

Probably better at looking after the babies


Intact males can become possessive of babies and then angry when they are taken away. I have seen one lunge at a female person.

I have heard stories of intact males raping sheep when used as guard animals (this is only hearsay though).


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