Chapter 3


1. Fencing          

If you ask 10 alpaca ranches about fencing, you may get 12  different answers.  The correct answer is  that the fence should keep out potential predators in your area.  Remember that alpacas do not challenge a  fence.  The number ONE threat to alpacas  in the United States  is the neighborhood dog that is allowed to roam.  Dogs hunt in packs, and alpacas are  defenseless.  We use no-climb horse fence  for all perimeter fencing.  We have a 6-ft fence with several strands of barbed wire on the outside  posts for our entire perimeter of the 20 acres.   Many alpaca ranches also use electric fencing in addition to no-climb  horse fence. a href="">Email us /a>if you  would like further details. 

2. Shelter          

We live in Florida,  so the number one purpose of shelter is to provide shade and protect the  fans.  Many Florida barns are single slope pole  barns since there is no need for a fully enclosed barn.  If your winters are severe, you may need an  enclosed barn for the most severe days. 

3. Nutrition          

Alpacas thrive on a diet of grass, hay, and supplemental  grain.  In most areas, you will need to also  supplement with free choice minerals.   The greatest indicator of proper alpaca nutrition is by body scoring.  For further information contact your local extension agency.  Your local agricultural extension agent is an invaluable resource and paid by your tax dollars, so get your money's worth! 

4. Vet          

A lucky alpaca owner will have access to an experienced  camelid vet.  Find your vet before your  alpacas arrive.  If there is no experienced  camelid vet in your area, then you may be able to find a vet who is willing to  learn. 

5. Security          

See number 1.  A good  fence is your best alpaca security.  Many  alpaca owners also use livestock guard dogs or llamas.  We have one guard llama that is worth his  weight in gold!  Remember that security  also includes quarantine of any incoming alpacas to protect your resident herd. 

6. Alpaca Training          

Alpacas are very intelligent animals with a personality much  like a cat.  They can be very sweet and  loving, but it seems to be on their terms.   Crias that are socialized early are a joy to work with halter  training.  Showing an alpaca only  requires that the alpaca understand two commands: walk and stand still.  The best resource for alpaca training is “The  Camelid Companion” written by a href="" target="_blank">Marty McGee Bennett/a>.  

7. Alpaca  transportation          

There are many experienced and reputable alpaca transporters  who will transport your alpacas from one side of the continent to the  other.  If you need to transport only one  alpaca a short distance, then a mini-van will suffice.  Most stock trailers will easily adapt to  hauling alpacas, but special consideration should be given to transporting in  extreme weather. 

8. Supplies          

Every alpaca ranch has its own idea of the perfect list of supplies. The list below is only a starting point, but your facilities and location may require other items also.  Your alpaca mentor should help you modify this list. 


Basic everyday supplies for day 1:


     Dr. Evans Field Manual  ** most important item on the list          

     Marty McGee  – The Camelid Companion          

Feed troughs – Allow 4 ft of trough for each animal. Trough  should be 18-24 inches from the ground. PVC Sewer pipe or house gutters work very well.

Water troughs – At least one large trough per area.          

Nolvasen – great general antiseptic          

Nail clippers          


Feed bucket and scoop          





Alpaca Feed          

Halters and leads – at least once per animal


Basic health supplies for the future include:          

Electrolytes – “Stop-Stress” - Probiotics          

Latex gloves          

Bottle and cria nipple          


Syringes and needles – 3cc and 10 cc with 21g X 1” needles          

Vet wrap          


Vet tray ( Wal-Mart version with carrying handle is less  than $5 )


Feeding tube (16 f) and large 60 cc. syringe          

Mineral Oil          

Goat colostrum (freezer)          






OB lube          


Cria scale          

OB gloves          

Small jars (old pill bottles are perfect for dipping navels)          

Hair dryer with a warm (not hot) setting          

CDT vaccine