There are two types of alpacas; Huacaya and Suri. The Huacaya is more of a furry type animal and the Suri has long 'dread lock' type fiber.
The lifespan of an alpaca in South America is about 20-25 years. They were first imported in North America in 1984, and with modern medical treatment here they may live even longer.
The alpaca gestation period is 11 months (give or take a week or two) and they only have one offspring, twins have been known to be born but this is very rare.
The alpaca stands about 36'' tall at the withers and weigh about 150 pounds full grown. Their size lends them to be gentle and easy to handle, especially for kids, transporting and in the show ring.
Alpacas are known as the world's finest livestock investments. Alpacas can be raised as breed stock and or production stock. As breed stock they capable of reproducing offspring that are sold at a very high return on both offspring and fiber production. Production stock alpacas produce a yearly harvest of fiber. All grades of fiber from both breed stock and production stock alpacas is harvested once a year and then can be made into everything from luxurious garments and yarns, to very warm socks and hats. Even the most coarse of alpaca fiber waist can be made into beautiful alpaca rugs or even insulation. The R factor on the insulated properties of alpacas is 92. For more information on utilizing all grades of alpaca fiber visit: www.naturalfiberproducers.com
They are clean, safe, quiet, intelligent and very disease-resistant (believe it or not they are even insurable for a reasonable premium).
Alpacas have soft padded feet, not hooves and are gentle on the land because of this. Alpaca breed stock may be expensive to purchase relative to other livestock, but they are very cost effective to maintain. In most cases it cost less than 50 cents a day to feed one. They eat mainly pasture grass and hay, with a minimal daily ration of grain that provides them with extra minerals conducive to their environment. Six to eight alpacas can be raised easily per acre of land.
Ohio is the largest state in North America in numbers of alpacas and generally concentrated in the Northeast portion of the state. The advantage is that many animals and farms can be viewed on a one tank trip.
The financial returns of owning a small herd of alpacas are generous. It is not uncommon for alpaca breeders to realize up to a 70% return on their investment.
Alpacas can provide a satisfying addition to one's investment portfolio with the added benefit of encouraging a healthy lifestyle and family cohesiveness. It is easy to see that alpacas are a stress-free investment you can see, feel and grow.