Can I have an alpaca in my backyard?
If you’ve been asking yourself this question for a while, we have the answer for you!
Keeping alpacas doesn’t require that much work or space. Therefore, it is pretty easy and practical to keep an alpaca in your backyard.
Nonetheless, you have to know the right tips and tricks for having an alpaca in your home so you can do so successfully.
In this piece, we’ve shared a foolproof guide on how you can keep alpacas in your backyard while ensuring your home and, of course, the alpacas remain safe.
Can I Have an Alpaca in My Backyard At Home?
The short answer is yes! Alpacas make great pets, though they do need a little more space than your average cat or dog.
Traditionally, alpacas are farm animals, and like most farm animals, they are quite sociable. These animals thrive in herds and do not prefer to live in isolation. Therefore, you can have an alpaca in your yard.
However, you cannot just keep a single alpaca if you want them to thrive. In farms, alpacas live in large herds as there is ample space to house them.
But, you may not necessarily have this much space in an urban backyard. Thus, if you want to keep these animals, you should be ready to take care of at least three alpacas. This number is not just randomly selected.
There is a reason why it is recommended to have at least three alpacas in your backyard.
- You don’t want to keep more than three alpacas as they will end up being overcrowded
- Having a single alpaca in your yard result in their death due to loneliness and isolation
- Keeping only two alpacas will result in one being the leader and suppressing the other one
Having three alpacas helps balance the hierarchy, with the female being the leader and the other two naturally picking up their roles. After all, with a proper hierarchical setting, alpacas have proven to thrive better and survive longer.
Where Can I Own an Alpaca?
You can own an alpaca anywhere in the US! There’s no law that prohibits you from owning one of these furry creatures. There are even alpaca breeders in many states like Florida and even Alaska, to name a few.
Aside from obtaining one legally, the next most important detail to consider is to plan on where exactly you will keep them.
You have to think of how much land is needed for your alpacas. In good weather, you can keep your alpacas in the open in your backyard.
For three alpacas, all you need is about half an acre of land. However, you have to make sure they have a fresh supply of water and hay around the clock.
In addition to the space, you have to think of ways to keep them securely in your backyard.
The best option is to set up a fence. While they have natural defenses such as spit juices, alpacas are still relatively defenseless against many predatory animals.
So, you will need to protect them with a strong railing that can at least keep animals such as dogs and bears out.
But, you also have to protect them from harming themselves, so avoid using fences made with barbed wires.
Can I Keep Alpacas Inside My House?
Like any other domesticated animal, alpacas can enter your home. If they so wish. And if you so (strangely) desire.
After all, different people have different standards and rules for their homes. You probably wouldn’t want an animal bigger than you galavanting around the living room now do you?
Luckily for you, alpacas prefer to stay outdoors with the rest of the herd. The only exception is during bad weather, in which you should build a barn for such days.
What Should I Consider When Keeping Alpacas?
There are plenty of factors you have to be aware of to ensure your small alpaca herd thrives in your backyard.
- Alpacas can get seriously ill – Alpacas rarely get sick. But, when they do, they need vet care. Generally, alpacas process foods and other foreign materials in their bodies differently. The main reason why alpacas process things differently from other animals is that they are a distant relative of a camel.
For example, the dosage of worm medication you give cattle will significantly vary from that of an alpaca. If you are treating an alpaca for worms, you will need more than four times the dosage you will give the cattle.
To prevent your alpacas from getting seriously ill:
- Make sure they have all their vaccinations up to date and that they receive adequate visits from the vet
- Ensure they receive sufficient amounts of fresh grass or hay to feed on daily
- Clean their herd space at least once or twice a week.
Do Alpacas Make Good Pets?
Alpacas are some of the best pets to keep if you have ample space. Their sociability means that they are not a menace to humans – they don’t bite or show any aggression.
Like cats and dogs, you can train your alpacas in a range of different activities, even using litter boxes.
Alpacas enjoy doing activities with their owners, including getting their wool brushed, of course! But keep in mind that unlike pets such as cats, alpacas are sensitive and don’t like to be held or cuddled.
It’s best to limit activities that will get you too close to them for a while, such as brushing their wool.
Alpacas vs Llama
The biggest misconception people have about llamas and alpacas is that they are the same. However, nothing could be further from the truth.
While both animals are distant relatives of the camel, they are quite different. Alpacas tend to be smaller, while llamas are larger.
Furthermore, llamas have a thicker fur coat and are slightly less sociable than alpacas. Due to their larger size and slight stubbornness, llamas are not easy to keep in your backyard.
In recent years, alpacas have become quite popular pets amongst many urban dwellers. These animals are pretty sociable and fun to have around. Nonetheless, you have to make sure you have the right conditions to keep them so they can thrive.