On average, you can keep between 5 and 10 alpacas per acre depending on geography and pasture management. Because alpacas have strong herding instincts and do not like to be left alone, it’s not recommended to own only one alpaca. You would therefore need at least half an acre of land to keep the recommended minimum of 2 alpacas.
Due to alpacas requiring smaller land requirements than many other farm animals, along with alpacas being easy to care for, alpaca farming has grown in recent years with even beginner farmers thinking that they can make money out of the alpaca market.
Dry Lots vs. Pasture
While on average you can keep between 5 and 10 alpacas per acre, you need to first consider if your alpacas will have access to pasture or if they will be on dry lots.
Depending on your geographical location, this decision is usually made for you by the amount of rain and grass that is naturally present, as well as the amount of land you have to allocate.
Additionally, pasture and dry lots each have their own pros and cons to consider. Access to hay all year round is required for dry lots, and it can take alpacas out of their natural environment too.
On the other hand, you will be able to monitor food intake more closely, there will be fewer parasite issues to contend with, and you can place more alpacas in a given area per acre.
3 Reasons Why Alpacas Have Small Land Requirements
One of the main reasons why alpacas require smaller land requirements and you can fit as many as 5-10 alpacas per acre is due to their small size. Additionally, due to alpacas having padded feet, they are also very easy on the land.
Easy to Handle
Alpacas are much easier to handle than most other farm animals for two reasons. Firstly, they are in no way as intimidating as animals like horses or cattle. They also won’t constantly try to escape as goats do so don’t require complicated fencing requirements.
Easy to Feed
Alpacas are extremely efficient grazers, which means that they require little pasture.
Compared to cows that eat 2.5-3% of their body weight a day, alpacas eat only 1-1.5% of their body weight per day. Also, factor in that a fully grown adult female alpaca weighs an average of 175 lbs compared to a cow that weighs 1,600 lbs, much less feed is needed.
How Much Space Do Alpacas Need Indoors?
While alpacas are very resilient animals and have successfully adapted to the extremes of both very hot and very cold climates, it is still recommended that you provide indoor shelter. Alpacas will appreciate a place indoors that is shaded from the sun where they can keep cool, as well as a place that will shelter them from the wind and rain too.
Whether you use a three-sided shelter, four-sided shelter, or barn, the space should be large enough to fully accommodate your herd while providing enough room to meet all your alpacas water and feed needs.