Alpaca Holland
Jan & Annie
van den Hoek
Rijksstraatweg 94
3281LW Numansdorp

Discover the wonderful world of the Alpaca




  The Alpaca is a member of the camel family, and is related to the camel, the dromedary and the llama. It is believed to be a descendant of the wild Vikunjas and Guanacos which were kept some 6,000 years ago by the Incas in the Andes mountains and the hills of South America (Peru, Chile, Bolivia and Argentina). Breeding Alpacas also became very popular in Australia, New Zealand, America and Canada. The first Alpacas were brought to Europe during the last century, first for zoos and later as a novelty breed. However, farming these animals is still in its infancy here, although the market is growing each year. There are two types of Alpaca: the Hyacaya and the Suri. The Hyacaya tends to be slightly bigger than the Suri and is by far the most common type bred in Europe. The Hyacaya is a little better adapted to our climate than the Suri, although the Suri is also extremely elegant and attractive, as well as being unusual due to its long, lustrous and very soft wool.  


  Alpacas are herd animals and cannot be bred in isolation. It is therefore recommended that you keep at least two. Alpacas communicate with each other by the way they stand, through movements with their tail and ears and by making a humming noise. If they are in danger, they will warn each other by neighing. Alpacas have big, beautiful eyes which give them a highly charismatic aura. Alpacas don’t require a lot of space; they can be kept in small grassy compounds, and the cost of keeping them is very low, certainly when compared with many pets. They are naturally very clean animals, and their small hoofs and soft skin pads won’t damage the turf. They are also good at coping with warm and cold weather alike, although they are slightly less keen on rain. They also don’t like being locked up, regardless of the weather. In the summer, they should be provided with some shade, such as trees, windbreaks or a small shed. They love rolling in sand, so a sandbox is also a good idea.  

  Alpacas have very efficient digestive systems and prefer to eat good quality grass and hay. During the winter, you can add some Lucerne, dried grass or pot-hole hay dried of good quality to their diet. You can now also buy Alpaca mineral dry food from specialist suppliers. This provides them with all the necessary vitamins and minerals. However, it’s important not to overfeed or underfeed with this dry food. A regular supply of clean drinking water is also essential. Adult Alpacas generally weigh between 55 and 70 kg. At birth, they weigh between 6 and 9 kg. Gestation is normally 350 days and usually only one foal is born. Birth rarely occurs at night; it almost always takes place during daylight hours. Alpacas can live for more than 20 years. They rarely succumb to disease, but they do need to be regularly wormed and vaccinated against parasites. They also have to be inoculated once a year against Clostridium infection and tetanus. Hooves must be regularly trimmed. And, once they are used to it, they are happy to be put on a halter.  


  Alpacas must be shorn once a year or every two years, depending on the length and quality of their wool. The coat weights roughly 4 to 6 kg. The extremely fine, soft wool is famous throughout the world for its superior quality and is highly suitable for the production of clothing. Little wonder, then, that in former days members of the Inca royal family wore clothes made of this high grade Alpaca wool, which was referred to as the “gold of the Incas”. Demand for Alpaca wool is also growing in Europe, and happily, interest in this wonderful material is increasing every year. A handful of companies in the Netherlands are now importing clothes made of this top quality wool (e.g. from Peru). The incomparable, unique character of this wool means that it can be worn comfortably in both summer and winter, due to its excellent thermal properties. A pullover or shirt made of Alpaca wool is both soft and comfortable, highly wear-resistant and will not discolour. It comes in a range of 22 natural colours, and it can also be dyed very easily. The quality of the wool is graded by its sheen, softness, delicacy and shrinkage properties. The first wool shorn from an Alpaca is the finest and softest available: it is known as “baby wool”.  

Wool of an descendant from Accoyo Amando