- Alpacas only need basic shelter. They are happiest when they are outside. There have been many times I've rushed outside in the pouring rain to carry a cria inside, just to have mom take her back outside, or go outside to feed and all the alpacas are covered in snow . They have the hardest time in the heat, so they need a place to get into the shade. Fans work great in the barns if you're able, and little kiddie pools or a hosedown of their bellies is always appreciated on those hot days. Alpacas rarely challenge fencing, your fencing should be focused on keeping predators out. A catch pen or two is handy to have by the shelters. Alpacas are easy on the land due to their soft feet and they do not pull grass out of the ground when eating. You can keep an average of 8-10 alpacas on an acre.
Alpacas main diet is grass or hay. They need an alpaca suitable mineral available, and a small amout of grain each day. They also need cool, clean water available at all times. Alpacas do not like stagnant water so buckets work better than stock tanks.
Alpacas are very healthy, hardy animals. They are also very stoic, so you need to watch them closly for any subtle changes in behavior. The first thing you usually see is an alpaca not wanting to eat, if you see this more investigation is needed. If you have an alpaca that is down, and not getting up this is a true emergency, call your vet immediatly. The main disease of alpacas is preventable, meningial worm. This is a brain worm that alpacas can get from white tailed deer. Alpacas are dead end hosts. A monthly injectable dewormer is needed to prevent this. The injection goes under the skin, this technique is easily taught to new owners. Alpacas also need a yearly vaccine, CD&T, this is also injected under the skin.
Daily care focuses on 1) feeding with a quick glance at each animal to make sure they are eating. and giving fresh water 2) cleaup of poop piles- they make is this easy by all going in the same piles, and the fact that the feces are fairly dry "beans" which are easily raked into a shovel. 3) enjoying their calming humming and peaceful grazing, with a kiss or two thrown in.
Monthly care includes an injection of Ivocec or Dectomax for menengial worm if you live in an area with whitetail deer, a hands on check for adequete weight (easy to miss a skinny animal with all that Fiber on) and a toenail check Toenails need to be trimmed on average of 4 times a year.
Pregnant animals take a little more care and observation in the last 3 months of pregnancy. And of course birthing time is a little more time consuming.