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Alpaca Adoption FAQ's

Do I acually own the alpaca?

The purchaser of an adoption has no actual ownership rights to the alpaca. In essence your purchase helps subsidize the care of the alpacas.

Can I adopt an alpaca for more than 1 year?

Yes you will be given the opportunity to renew your adoption prior to the end of your 1 year adoption period

Can I give the adoption as a gift?

Yes we can create a gift certificate for your recipient

What’s the value of an alpaca?

The current alpaca industry is based on the sale quality breeding stock, which commands premium prices. Female alpacas usually begin breeding at between 15 months and 18 months of age, while most males can successfully impregnate (or "settle") a female at about three years. The females produce one baby per year (twins are uncommon) during a reproductive life about 10 years. Factors that influence individual alpaca prices include color, conformation, fleece quality and quantity, age, and gender. Females sell for more money on average than males, but herd sire quality males have historically commanded the highest individual prices. Breeders often prefer one alpaca color to another, however the parents' color does not necessarily guarantee a cria (baby alpaca) of the same color. There are many accepted theories regarding alpaca color heritability, and more research is needed to further our understanding of this issue. Of more importance to most breeders is the overall physical soundness, or "conformation" of the animal. In addition to color, fleece, density, uniformity, fineness, luster and staple length will also affect value. Well-conformed alpacas with superior fleece characteristics sell for higher prices. Many breeders start with several breeding age females and perhaps one male. Other new breeders may elect to start with several young animals or a breeding pair. There is an approach suitable for your level of interest and financial position. Alpacas are much like diamonds. The market pays a premium for the finest examples of the breed, and a beauty is also in the eye of the beholder

Can I buy an Alpaca?

Yes, we will be glad to discuss with you purchase or fractional ownership options where the Alpaca can be kept on our farm but wholly or partially owned by another

How often can I visit my adopted Alpaca?

Adoptees can visit their Alpaca by giving Chimney Hill a 48 hour notice - visiting between the hours of 9 a.m. and 7 p.m day-light savings time and 9-4 p.m.

Can I take the my adopted Alpaca off the farm

No. Once an adopter has received appropriate training they will be able to make arrangements to get permission to walk the adopted Alpaca. We will provide a walking trail on the property to walk the Alpaca.

What if something happens to my adopted Alpaca?

You will be allowed to select another Alpaca for your adoption

Can I get a refund on my purchase on the adoption?

Generally there are no refunds allowed. However, we will be glad to discuss your specific circumstance.

How are alpacas different from llamas?

While both are members of the camel (camelid) family, they are distinctly different animals. Just as a llama is different from a camel, the alpaca is different from the llama. In fact, the alpaca is more closely related to the vicuna than the llama, and the llama is more closely related to the guanaco than the alpaca.

Can you ride an alpaca?

Generally, no. The alpaca lacks the bone structure to support weights much greater than their own natural body weight. While an alpaca might tolerate a small daypack, it might damage the animal's fiber. For back-packing, their much larger cousin, the llama, would be much better suited.

Are alpacas dangerous?

They are safe and pleasant to be around. They do not bite or butt, and do not have horns, hooves, or claws. Occasionally, an alpaca may side kick with a hind foot if touched from the rear, but the soft, padded feet usually do little more than "get your attention."

So what do you DO with these animals?

Alpacas have a couple of important uses. First of all, they produce a soft, luxurious fleece, comparable to cashmere that is turned into a wide array of products from garments to teddy bears to felt. The fleece itself is known globally for its fineness, softness, light weight, durability, excellent thermal qualities, and luster. It is said to be stronger and warmer than wool. It is a hollow fiber which gives it superior insulation properties. We rely on the sale of off-spring, studding fees and finished goods to fund the farm.

Are alpacas easy to care for?

Alpacas are small, easy livestock to maintain. They should have basic shelter and protection from heat and foul weather. They do not challenge fences. Being livestock, however, they do require certain vaccinations and must be on an anti-parasitic control program. Additionally, their toenails and fighting teeth need to be trimmed every couple of months and their fleeces is sheared off once a year.

What do alpacas eat?

The primary thing alpacas eat is just plain grass or grass/orchard grass hay. Alfalfa is discouraged or fed only sparingly, as it has a high protein content that can be unhealthy for the alpacas. One to one-and-a-half, 60-pound bales of hay will usually feed between 20 to 25 alpacas each day. They are also fed supplemental grain, especially in the winter.

Do alpacas spit?

All members of the camel family use spitting as a means of communication. The time you'll usually see this is around the feeding area, when some of the animals can become possessive about what they consider to be "their food." It is also an aggressive behavior that you may observe if two alpacas are fighting. But it is rare that an alpaca would spit on a human on purpose (although humans sometimes get caught in the cross-fire!) Llama’s will spit at a human if the human is aggressive towards them.

How long do they live?

Truth is, we're not really sure. In South America they can live for 15-20 years. But the alpaca was only recently brought to North America (significant numbers were first imported in 1984), so we don't have enough data yet to know how long they will live under the conditions found here. Our experience is 12 years.

Why are Alpaca and their fleece so valuable?

  • Alpaca fleece is valuable because it combines so many positive, commercial attributes into one fiber.
  • Alpaca fiber is unusually strong and resilient. The strength of the fiber does not diminish as it becomes finer, making it ideal for industrial processing.
  • Raised at high altitudes in freezing cold, the alpaca has developed more thermal capacity in its fiber than almost any other animal. The fiber contains microscopic air pockets which create lightweight garments with high insulation values.
  • Alpaca is soft, supple and smooth to the touch. The cellular structure of the fiber produces a soft handle unmatched by most other specialty fibers.
  • Alpaca is easily dyed any color and always retains its natural luster.
  • Alpaca has a natural, rich luster which gives garments made from 100% alpaca high visual appeal.
  • Alpaca is compatible with either the woolen or worsted manufacturing systems. Fabric made from alpaca can range from bulky tweeds to fine gabardine.
  • People who own alpaca sweaters will find they last practically forever. Alpaca does not easily tear, pill, stain or create static. It is easily cleaned.