Both huacaya and suri come in a range of colours from white, through shades of fawn and brown, to grey and black. For commercial fleece production, white is the preferred colour, but there is also a good market for coloured fleece from niche markets such as hand spinners and craftspeople.
币游注册Alpacas can be mated at any time of the year. Females become sexually mature at around 12 to 18 months of age and once they reach 45-50kg in weight. Males can display sexual interest from a few weeks of age but are not sexually active or fertile until 18 months to 3 years of age.
Like rabbits and cats, female alpacas are ‘induced ovulators’ which means it is the act of mating that causes them to ovulate. Gestation is between 11-12 months and mating should therefore be timed so that cria (baby alpacas) are born to coincide with when the best feed is available (generally early spring). Females are usually re-mated 2 to 6 weeks after giving birth.
Alpacas can be sourced directly from breeders and information is easily available on the internet.
币游注册The maintains a pedigree register, the International Alpaca Register (IAR), held at the Agricultural Business Research Institute. The register records details of animals’ tag identification, age, breeding and ownership. The encourages buyers to source animals that are registered on the IAR and can provide further information on alpaca prices and sales.
Health care & pests and diseases
币游注册Alpacas are considered relatively easy to care for, requiring basic husbandry skills, such as toe nail clipping.
Alpacas are vaccinated twice yearly with the same ‘5 in 1’ vaccine used for sheep and goats to protect against tetanus, pulpy kidney, black leg, black disease and malignant oedema. In some geographic locations the ‘7 in 1’ vaccination may be required to also vaccinate against leptospirosis.
币游注册Alpacas are less susceptible to internal parasites such as stomach worms and liver fluke than some species, due to their habit of using communal latrines, around which they do not graze. However, in warm, wet conditions and particularly when pasture is scarce or land is overstocked, alpacas may require drenching for internal parasites. Paralysis ticks can be a problem along the coastal strip of eastern Australia.
If running with other livestock alpacas can pick up internal parasites and will require treatment with suitable anti-parasitic products specific to the situation and type of parasite. As all parasite management procedures are ‘off label’ for alpacas, veterinary advice may be required.
Alpacas are susceptible to sporidesmin, a fungal toxin that grows on dead grass during warm, humid conditions. This toxin can cause facial eczema and liver damage which can be fatal. In these geographic locations, pasture conditions need to be managed to reduce the risk of sporidesmin development. During high risk weather conditions in particular, avoid slashing paddocks as this leads to a build-up of dead plant material and can increase the risk of sporidesmin.