High quality alpaca experiences and vacation advices in Colorado: Adorable, docile and soft, alpacas are prized as pets and cattle around the world. There are no wild alpacas. Alpacas are domesticated versions of vicuñas, South American ruminants that live high in the Andes. Alpacas are related to llamas, which are domesticated versions of another wild Andean ruminant, the guanaco. While llamas are used as pack animals, alpacas are raised mainly for their soft wool. Guanacos and vicuñas are found throughout the Andes Mountains. They are descended from camelids that developed in North America and migrated to South America 3 million years ago, according to Phil Switzer, an alpaca breeder based in Colorado. These animals evolved into guanacos and vicuñas, and about 6,000 years ago, people in the Andes began to domesticate them. There are two breeds of alpaca, the Huacaya and the Suri. Huacaya alpacas are more common, according to Switzer. See even more information on alpaca adventures in Colorado.
All members of your group will have the opportunity to participate in a fully interactive experience. It typically lasts around 1 hour and 30 minutes. Its environment is ideal for nature lovers : Most people who live in Colorado love the outdoors because the state offers a little bit of everything. Even if you’re just visiting for the weekend, you can embrace all that nature has to offer. An alpaca ranch offers stunning scenery and a relaxing atmosphere where you can take in the fresh air. When you go behind the scenes on the ranch, you learn about much more than just the animals. You have the opportunity to talk about the economy, trade, production, local handmade goods, and so much more.
Alpacas breed once a year, and as livestock they are often induced to breed at any time. The female alpaca has a gestation period of 242 to 345 days and gives birth to just one offspring. The birthing process can take up to seven hours, according to National Geographic (opens in new tab). The baby alpaca, called a cria, weighs 18 to 20 lbs. (8 to 9 kg) when it is born. The cria is weaned at 6 to 8 months, and females are ready to reproduce at 12 to 15 months. Males take a bit longer to mature and are ready to mate at 30 to 36 months. Alpacas live up to 20 years.
How much space does it take to raise an alpaca? Alpacas are environmentally friendly and require less pasture and food compared to other livestock. Stocking density impacts the health of the animal, so owners are encouraged to carefully assess their space. Vegetation, access to food and water, and shelter are some factors that influence the amount of space needed. Consult with your local agriculture authorities and breeders for specific recommendations for your area. Are alpacas clean animals? Yes, they are much cleaner than most livestock. Alpacas have a minimal aroma and tend to attract fewer flies in the summertime than other forms of livestock. Alpacas often defecate in communal dung piles. There may be three or four of these areas in a pasture. This makes for easy clean-up, reduced opportunity for parasites, and better overall hygiene in the herd.
Are alpacas an “exotic species,” or are they considered simply “livestock?” Alpacas have been raised as domestic livestock for thousands of years. Since the end-product of alpacas is their fleece, like sheep, they are classified as livestock by both the United States and Canadian federal governments. Do alpacas spit? All members of the camel family use spitting as a means of negative communication. They do get possessive around food, and may express annoyance by spitting at other alpacas that they perceive are encroaching on “their” food. Also, they often spit at one another during squabbles within the herd (usually involving two or more males). From time to time alpacas do spit at people on purpose, but it is more common that humans get caught in the crossfire between alpacas, so it’s best to study their behavior and learn to avoid the most vulnerable situations.
Nowhere else but here will you have the same opportunity to experience Alpacas in the open beauty of nature. Get nose-to-nose with Pablo Picasso just one of our resident furry friends. Come explore the scenic mountain views where you can hand-feed a healthy snack to our friendly Alpacas. Live entertainment is part of the fun. Learn fascinating facts about these majestic creatures, and go behind the scenes into a fiber producing Alpaca farm. Chances are, you’ll make a new friend on your visit. For all ages, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Discover more information on meetalpacas.com.
What do I need by way of shelter and fencing? Shelter requirements vary depending on the weather and predators in the area. As a rule, alpacas need at least a three-sided open shelter where they can escape from the heat of the sun in summer and from icy wind and snow in winter. Alpacas appreciate good ventilation, and owners have found that large overhangs outside of the shelter are used more often than an enclosed barn. In general, fencing construction and design is dictated by the threat of local predators. Also, fence openings need to be the correct size for alpacas to prevent injury from entangling their neck and limbs.