Something basic about these animals...

Was sind Alpakas, warum spricht man von Neuweltkameliden…


The evolution of Alpakas

Alpakas come from South America. They belong to the group of the “New World Kamelids” like also Lamas or the wild relatives of these domesticated types, the Vicuñas and Guanakos. Concerned to the current research results of the Archäozoologin Dr. Jane C. Wheeler, Alpakas came from Vicuñas and Lamas descended from the Guanakos.

New World Kamelids are the humpless camels of the New World, South America.

The New World Kamelids has common ancestors, who lived approximately 40 million years ago in North America with the Old World Kamelids (Bactrian Camel  and Dromedary). It´s assumed that the ancestors of the today's Old World Kamelids walked from there, over the land bridge at the Beringsee, to Asia. Another part of them emigrated to South America and developed themselves there to the New World Kamelids.

New World Kamelids are Cloven-Hoofed Animals and are count within this order to the subordination of the Weal-Hoofed Animals (Tylopoda). The sole surfaces of the two toes are padded with thick, springy Weals. The Domestikation of the animals began approximately before 7000 years. Thus they come under the oldest economically useful animals of mankind.



Alpakas, the valuable, economically useful animals.

Alpakas were bred for the Woll and meat produktion. There are today world-wide approx. 3.5 millions animals. For the breeders relevantly are at present, the Huacaya Alpakas. Within the Alpakas (and also the Lamas) there is in addition, some kind of own breeding form, the Suris (world-wide approx. 3% the Alpakas). These differ by there fiber conditions. The following data are valid for both Alpakatypes equally.

Males reach a body weight of 60-80 kg, with a shoulder height of 75-100cm. Females are more light with about 50-60kg and reach a shoulder height of 75-95cm. The female animals are breedingripe with approximately 12-14 months. The pregnant time amounts to 335-365 days. Twins are very rare, in different to sheep and goats. With Lamas and Alpakas we speak today of approx. 22 color types. The Alpakapopulation South America today, does not have the quality and variety as at times of the Inkas. That means in addition, that still much potential is in the breeding work.

There are one-colored and painted (spoted) animals. Lamas and Alpakas can come up to the age of 20 years. The fertility of the females can remain in the high age.



Alpakafaser, a valuable raw material for unusual textiles

The excellent fiber of the Alpakas, „the Flies of the Gods “makes these animals so valuable. Therefore stand refinement, density, gloss and the ripples (crimp) in the focus of the Alpakabreeder. Contrary to sheep wool, Alpakafiber does not itching on the skin. The reason is the fine fiber diameters from approx. 15 to 27 Micron (1 Micron=1/1000 millimeter) and at least the smaller hightness of Steps from the fine sheds (0,4-0,3Mikron). Sheep wool has a larger shed height (0,8Mikron). In addition the Huakayafaser isolates better than sheep wool.

The world-wide demand of Alpakafaser with optimal quality, is not covered by far yet. The market for producers of such fibers therefore is large and attractive.

However a condition would be, that high-quality Alpakafaser, in sufficient quantity, can be made available for industrial processing  - in the next few time, in Europe this aim is still not within reach.

Fiber values, Inca Group organization     

     Royal Alpaca

under 20 Micron


20-22 Micron  (6% in Peru)


up to 25.5 Micron


up to 27 Micron


up to 27.5 Micron


up to 32 Micron


up to 34 Micron


34-36 Micron

Livestock breeding

Breeding and keeping of Alpakas

Alpakas are to be kept predominant on the pasture. A minimum pasture size of 1000m² is kind fair for 2 animals (> 6month), plus 100m ² for each further animal. This is valid especialy for the hobby owner, who buys his feed for the winter and who is cleaning the excrement places on the pasturelands.

Recommendable for a larger herd and a reasonable pastoral industry, is however the following rule of thumb: 1Alpaka/1000m ². Only with this conditions also the fodder for the wintertime can be won and it´s possible to change pastures (portion pastures).

Additionally by these pasture-planings, the “parasite chain” is interrupted, which for the healthy preservation of the animals is desirable. Alpakas doesen´t make many demands. They nourish themselves in the Anden of simple grasses and Moosen of this meager landscape. Good hay out off first or second cut (Grummet), in particular of grassland with various, species-rich vegetation and/or also high-quality Grass-Silage, is sufficient as basic fodder in the winter completely. With increased power requirement, for example with pregnant and lakterend Mare, also hay or silage from Lucerne can be fed.

Note: Consider the increased risk of infection with „Clostridium botulinum “and „Listerien “, caused by Silage!

Likewise good experiences made breeders with supplementary fodder, for animals with increased power requirement, from grain mixtures. But caution, not too much protein feed. A mixture from 1/3 oats, 1/3 barley, 1/3Mais (squeezed) in combination with structural-rich hay is usually without higher risk. Every breeder have to make his own experience. Mineral fodder for the free admission is to be made available in loose form or as pressed stone. To find out the right mineral fodder, the ground composition of the environment and/or a fodder analysis should be considered.

In Minimum it must be reached to a balanced calcium/phosphorus relationship. In the meantime there is Kamelid feeds and mineral fodder for Kamelids in mixed packages available.