How to Buy Alpacas

Three Parts:Before Searching for an AlpacaPurchase the EquipmentLocate Your Alpaca

Are you interested in buying an alpaca? Here are some helpful tips on what to look for and where to find them!

Part 1
Before Searching for an Alpaca

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    Decide what you will be using your alpacas for. Some ideas are:
    • Breeding
    • Fiber (sales of raw or skirted fleeces)
    • Therapy
    • Education (including 4H for kids)
    • Supplying top quality fertilizer to Greenhouses
    • The creation and sale of End Use Products (scarves, mittens, blankets, pillows, in-soles, yarns, rugs, weed-block, fiber arts)
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    If you plan on breeding, decide whether you want to breed right away or wait until you are a bit more established and comfortable with alpacas.
    • If you want to get a head start, purchase females that are pregnant.
    • If you plan on establishing a breeding farm, purchase young females and a herdsire (stud male alpaca), and perhaps a gelding (castrated male) to keep the stud company and later to babysit the weaning cria (alpaca offspring). You could also wait to buy a herd sire until you are ready for breeding.
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    Make sure you have enough fenced-in land for your alpaca. You need at least one acre per five to ten alpacas. The fence needs to be strong, at least four and a half to five feet tall, and the openings should be no more than four inches apart, otherwise the alpaca could possibly break the fence, jump over it, get their head stuck or squeeze through to the other side. An even bigger reason to make sure your fences are secure and of proper materials is because the wandering domestic dog is the primary danger to alpacas...dogs and coyotes. Alpacas don't generally want to escape from the security of their herd and farm, while roaming, stray dogs form packs and have been known to get into alpaca yards and attack, even kill entire herds of alpacas not adequately fenced and guarded.
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    Sow the land with hay, grass, etc. or buy your hay pre-cut. You will also need to add to your alpaca's diet:
    • Vitamin supplements
    • Grain
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    Figure out how your alpaca is going to get water:
    • A natural source is ideal, but harder to find. Opt for streams and small rivers, rather than ponds as the water can get stagnant quickly. Better still, five gallon buckets refreshed with clean water daily is the best way to assure your animals are getting enough of good, clean water and will be a reminder to regularly scrub and clean the buckets. Large tubs are too easy to ignore, leading to algae and slime build up, and a growth of parasites that can make your alpaca sick.
    • Man-made streams. These cost more, but are worth it in the end.
    • A "self-watered" trough. Though these do not cost as much as a man-made stream, they are still pricey. But they are hooked up to a hose and set on a timer to fill the trough or bowls at specific times of the day, and are convenient.
    • A regular water trough. This is the cheapest, but you will have to fill it up at least twice a day with a hose or bucket yourself, depending on how many alpacas are drinking out of it.
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    Set up some form of shelter for your alpaca. It needs to have adequate protection from the wind, sun, snow (mostly hail and sleet) and rain and be capable of keeping your alpaca warm and dry in the winter and cool in the summer. A three-sided shelter facing east or south works well, or a barn where the alpacas have free-choice to go in or stay out in adjoining paddocks.

Part 2
Purchase the Equipment

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    Unless you plan on fighting your alpaca every time you need to take it someplace, like the vet, you need to purchase a good halter and know how to properly fit it on your alpaca. If your alpaca is not broken into a halter, you will either have to train it yourself or hire a trainer to do it for you. An alpaca halter should fit snugly, with the nose band high on the bridge near the alpaca's eyes, not low or loose, as is the case with horses or cows in halter.
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    Get a sturdy feeding trough/container. Alpacas require about 3' of space of area to eat within in order to keep them from feeling over-crowded and as if their food supply is threatened by the presence of the other alpacas in its group. Further, alpacas are smart, and can tip a regular feeding trough/container over easily. Another idea that works well is the installation of 8' or 10' vinyl gutters affixed to the fences, gates and/or sides of your buildings such that you can grain them with only one layer of grain or pellets, reducing the chance for the animals to gobble up too much food too quickly and choke. Shallow, sturdy rubber feeding bowls work well, too.
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    You will need a farm utility vehicle and/or small to mid-sized, reliable farm tractor with a loader.
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    Get a garden tractor and/or brush hog for mowing around the farm but also in your alpacas' grazing fields.
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    You will need a set of "paca-poop-pick-up" tools, such as rakes, shovels and scoopers, along with a cart or wheelbarrow or two to haul the muck away to the compost heap with.
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    An alpaca First Aid Kit is a must for routine care but also in case of emergencies. Ask your vet what you should put in this but here are a few ideas:
    • Large bandages
    • Splints
    • Aspirator Bulb
    • Bottle of Saline Solution
    • Natural Tears
    • Tube of Terramycin ointment (for the eyes)
    • Alcohol for sterilization
    • First-Aid Gauze and Tape, Pads and Cotton
    • A chute, tie-down system or other alpaca-specific device designed for restraining your alpaca, if necessary
    • A thermometer
    • A stethoscope
    • Vaseline or other lubricant
    • Sterile gloves (latex or other synthetic)
    • Probiotics or all natural, plain yogurt
    • A llama tape or scale to track the animals' weights and body condition
    • Novalsan or Betadine
    • Corid (for treatment of coccidia when it arises)
    • Ivomec, Ivermectin or other similar worming treatment/medication
    • Safeguard liquid or paste (or Panacur, some brand of Fenbendazole)
    • Vitamin B Complex
    • L.A. 200 broad spectrum antibiotic (found in most farm supply stores)

Part 3
Locate Your Alpaca

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    Be ready to spend a little money. A quality alpaca is rarely cheap, but you don't have to buy a million dollar show breeder.
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    Here are some places that you can look:
    • Alpaca breeders or farms
    • Online sites and ads
    • Newspaper ads
    • Llama breeders or farms. Often times they will know places where you can get alpacas.
    • A reputable Alpaca Agent or Broker. There are only a couple of true, full-time professionals specializing in this service in the alpaca industry, and they are real advocates for buyers while providing a valuable service to the seller/owners. The best brokers are experienced alpaca farmers that are also well connected to breeders all over the United States. They can help you find the animals with the genes that will get you closer to your goals a whole lot faster than you might otherwise. Working with one will save you a lot of time and money in the long run because they are usually selling other people's animals and want to see you get what's best for you, not just an alpaca off their farm because it's theirs and they want to sell it and make all the money.


  • If your alpaca does manage to escape from it's pasture, the best way to lure it back is grain.
  • Alpacas are happier when in herds, so buy at least two to start with.


  • Alpacas do spit, contrary to some misconceptions. Their spit is normally green and gross, so be prepared.
  • Don't let the llama breeders talk you into getting a llama, if you want an alpaca.

Things You'll Need

  • One acre per five to ten alpacas
  • A halter
  • Food and water troughs
  • Hay, grass, grain, and other alpaca food
  • A shelter for your alpaca

Article Info

Categories: Alpacas and Llamas