Frequently asked questions

These are a few questions that we are frequently asked about our alpacas.  If you have a question that is not answered here then please feel free to use the "Contact Us" box at the bottom of this page to message us with your question.
  1. What is an alpaca?
    An alpaca (Vicugna pacos) is a domesticated species of South American camelid. It resembles a small llama in appearance. There are two breeds of alpaca; the Suri alpaca and the Huacaya alpaca. Alpacas, llamas, guanaco and vicuna are all members of the South American camelid (or camel) family.
  2. Are alpacas friendly?
    Yes our alpacas are friendly, they are quiet, timid animals and require gentle handling. They are naturally curious and intelligent and if you let them approach you, rather than rush at them and expect an affectionate response, the interactions can be very rewarding.
  3. Where do alpacas come from?
    Alpacas originate from the Altiplano (Spanish for high plain) in west-central South America. Spanning the borders of Peru, Chile and Bolivia. Alpaca were first imported into Britain in the mid 1800’s but none of these alpacas survived. Alpacas were then imported again in large and more commercial numbers in the early 1990’s.
  4. Do alpacas spit?
    Spitting is a natural defence mechanism that is only used when the animal is under extreme pressure. It is very unlikely for a human to become the target. While it takes special circumstances for an alpaca to spit at a human, it is a normal and common behavior for them to spit at each other. A pregnant female 'spits off' an inquisitive male to let him know she is disinterested in his advances.
  5. Can I bring a friend/spectator on my Alpaca Experience/walk?
    Yes, we welcome everybody. Friend/Guests/Spectators can take part in the whole experience except leading the alpaca. There is a spectator rate of £10 per person. (Maximum 2 guests per alpaca).
  6. How long do Alpacas live?
    Alpacas have a life expectancy of 20-25 years.
  7. How often are they sheared?
    Alpacas are sheared annually, usually in the spring. The fiber may be sold and processed into rovings, spun into yarn, knitted or woven into fine fabrics. Each step adds more value to the product. A yearling alpaca usually cuts about 1.5kg, adult females about 3.5kg and some adult males have been reported cutting 8.5kg per year. With an annual growth rate of between 80 to 150 mm.
  8. Alpaca Fleece
    The hair of the alpaca is called 'fleece' or 'fiber' rather than 'fur' or 'wool.' Alpaca fleece has 22 natural shades. Alpacas can be bred for specific colour. Alpaca fiber is softer than cashmere or angora, and warmer and lighter weight than wool, without the prickle-factor that some wool has. Since alpaca fleece has no lanolin, it is easier to process and is hypoallerginic.
  9. What's the difference between Alpacas & llamas?
    Size and fiber quality. Alpacas have always been bred for their fleece as primarily fiber producers while llamas are bred for their packing and trekking capabilities. An average alpaca stands 34"-36" at the withers (shoulders), whereas a llama stands 42"-48" at the withers. Alpacas are smaller than llamas and have a more advanced type of fleece. Alpacas typically weigh 60 to 80kg whereas llamas weigh 150 to 210kg.
  10. What sounds do alpacas make?
    Humming is the most common sound an alpaca makes, a sort of musical purring. The mum calls to her cria by humming, or they hum to communicate with each other within the herd. When alarmed, a staccato tooting is made by one animal, then joined in by the rest of the herd as they focus attention in the direction of potential danger.
  11. What do you call a baby alpaca?
    A baby is known as a cria. Weaned crias are known as weanlings or tuis. In Spanish, the adult males are known as machos and the females are hembras.
  12. What do you do with an alpaca?
    They provide an excellent investment opportunity and are the source of luxurious fiber. The fleece, comparable to cashmere, is known for its fineness, light weight, and luster. Alpaca textile products are recognized world-wide. Everyone should own a soft, warm alpaca sweater.
  13. Can I have an alpaca as a pet?
    Most alpacas make very good pets and the more handling they receive as youngsters, the quieter they are as adults. Given time, most alpacas will eat out of your hand and they can be trained to walk on a halter. Alpacas are herd animals and they obtain security and contentment from having at least one other alpaca for company. Three is the ideal number to have.
  14. How many babies (cria) does an alpaca have?
    Alpacas generally have single births with twins occurring very rarely. The gestation period is 11 to 11.5 months.
  15. Can I just turn up to see the alpacas?
    No, all visits must be pre-booked. This is our home and a working Farm. We are not like a Zoo or a Tourist attraction where you can just turn up and walk around by yourself. We don't have special paths or a cafe. But unlike a Zoo we take you right into the fields with our alpacas and walk you around our farm where you can actually interact with the alpacas for a very personal experience in small groups of people.
  16. What do you do with the alpacas?
    Our main business is farming but we also breed and sell alpacas. We also sell their fleece and we use the fleece for making a small amount of luxury wool garments and needle felting kits. We realize that people want to visit and meet the alpacas so we have trained 5 young male alpacas to be walked on a lead rope so people can come and get up close and interact with the alpacas.
  17. What are your opening hours and are you open to the public daily.
    No, this is our home and we invite you to come and meet our adorable alpacas on a pre-booked "Alpaca Experience & Walk" on Saturdays or a "Farm Visit Day" on a few select days throughout the year.
  18. What Facilities do you have?
    We have very basic facilities. We have a portable toilet. Sorry we don't currently have a disabled toilet or a baby changing table. We offer you a hot drink on arrival foc but sorry we do not have a cafe or picnic area. We just open for a couple of hours on a Saturday and most people just want to come and see the alpacas. We have a small Car Park and Hand Washing facilities.
  19. Do you have a Gift Shop?
    We do not have a shop but when you visit we put out a small selection of Alpaca Hand Made products and gifts for you to see and purchase if you wish. Examples are Hats, Scraves, Socks, Alpaca Soft Toys, Keyrings, Alpaca Needle Felting Kits and small bags of Alpaca Fleece for crafting and small animal nesting.
  20. Can I turn up to book my visit or see the shop? How can I book & Pay?
    Please book using the online Booking Form. We will then send you a Booking Confirmation and details of how to pay. (Bank transfer or cheque). If you are unable to do this you can phone us any time during the day and we can take your booking over the phone. Please do not turn up at the gate, we might not be in or will be busy feeding alpacas, working in the office or looking after our 3 children. Thank you
CONTACT
If you have any questions that are not covered in our FAQ then please feel free to message us below and we can hopefully answer them for you.  Why not book an "Alpaca Experience" where you can come and learn more about alpacas.
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