Here at Ad Astra Alpacas, we love what we do. We strive to keep our alpaca herd healthy and happy, while breeding them for improved fleece characteristics, selling them to other knowledgeable alpaca ranchers and educating the public.
Breeding decisions are like an intricate puzzle. We consider the attributes of both males and females to achieve the traits we want to see in our herd.
Occasionally, we sell some of our alpacas and purchase new ones to enhance our herd's bloodlines. We make sure prospective buyers are knowledgeable about how to care for alpacas.
We welcome visitors and groups to our farm. We also take our alpacas to public venues. In all situations, we strive to educate people about the uniquenesses of these gentle animals.
Baby alpacas and senior alpacas both tend to get cold. Babies can't regulate their body temperature until they're two weeks old, and seniors often weigh less so they get cold. Our farm has plenty of shelter so our alpacas stay warm.
Alpacas eat a lot of forage, such as grass and hay. Since they are from South America where there are different minerals in the soil than what's found in the U.S., we also add dietary supplements to their feed to provide those nutrients.
The gestation period for alpacas is 11.5 months. Females who give birth in the spring can be pregnant for a little longer — for up to 12 months. Mamas who give birth in the fall are usually right on time. A baby alpaca is called a cria.
Alpaca fiber is considered a luxury fiber, similar to cashmere. It's also hypoallergenic and light weight (about one third the weight of wool). It's not prickly like wool, and it will wick moisture away from your skin, keeping you warm in the winter.
Alpacas are environmentally friendly animals. They have soft toes that are easy on the terrain. Their manure is low odor and makes great fertilizer. They don't pull grass out of the ground when they eat; they clip it. That makes it grow back quicker.
Unlike llamas, alpacas usually only spit at other alpacas. Females can spit at unwanted pursuing males. And any alpaca can spit at another alpaca if they want them to leave them alone or to protect their food.