3000 Years of Domestication
South Americans have farmed alpacas and Llamas for more than 3000 years, relying on them as a source of food, fibre and transport.
The modern day alpaca or Llama requires regular husbandry and management, including shearing, just like domestic sheep.Learn about Alpaca Management
South American Camelids
Llamas are the largest of the domesticated South American camelids. They are primarily bred as a pack animal, but their fleece is also used to make clothing. The fibre is less commercially viable than the alpaca, due to less fleece weight and higher levels of guard hair.
They are the most common of the three domestic camelids and are bred for their fleed which is similar in structure to sheeps wool. They come in 24 natural colours and are the most commonly farmed alpaca is Australia.
Less common than the huacaya the suri fleece is prized for its lustre and is more in structure like mohair than wool.
Alpacas are native to Peru and Chile, but they are now farmed throughout the world. Australia has one of the largest herds outside of South America, and with developing herds in Europe, and China as well as traditional markets in New Zealand, Australia has become a major exporter of alpacas througout the world.
Although primarily bred for their fibre, as alpaca numbers and quality have increased we have seen the development of an emerging meat market, with Australian producers leading the way in developing products and markets.
Australia is now exporting both animals and fleece around the world. The overseas demand for genetics has resulted in the creation of specialist air transport businesses ensuring the safe and speedy transport of animals around the world. These businesses have been established by alpaca breeders who undertand what is required to ensure the health and safety of animals in transport and esuring their safe arrival at their destination.
Markets for alpacas
Alpacas are bred primarily for fleece, stud breeding forms a large part of the Australian alpaca industry, with large commercial herds and smaller boutique breeders. Australia's commitment to genetic advancement has resulted in Australian bloodlines being in demand from around the world.
As the number of alpacas have increased the market for alpaca meat is also growing. Alpaca is a lean red meat, tasting similar to lamb or veal.As the number of alpacas have increased the market for alpaca meat is also growing. Alpaca is a lean red meat, tasting similar to lamb or veal.Fleurieu Prime Alpaca SAPrime Alpaca NSWPrime Alpaca QLDFleurieu Prime Alpaca SAPrime Alpaca NSWPrime Alpaca QLD
In recent years there has been a steady growth in demand for alpaca fibre with a number of options to sell fleece locally and overseas.The Australian Alpaca Association provides resources and support for breeders. We recommend that all new breeders become members of the association. Click on the image below to learn more.
Herd Guards and Pets
Alpacas have been used as effective herd guards for more than 20 years. Generally these are castrated males but females have been used effectively.Although alpacas can be purchased as pets, buyers should be aware of how much land is needed, type of fencing required and need to be aware that alpacas will require annual shearing, regular drenching , vaccinations and supplements, that involve administering injections.Β You will also need to know your council requirements in relation to keeping livestock and under Federal BiosecurityΒ law you will require a property identification code. (PIC)About PIC numbers