Buying an alpaca

Please note that these guides do not constitute legal advice and any information provided in the guides should not be construed as legal advice or legal interpretation. We do not accept any liability for any loss caused by your reliance on this guide.

Alpacas are members of the camelid family which includes camels and llamas, they were originally bred in Peru by the Incas and prized for their fine luxurious fibre.

Alpacas are herd animals so need to be in the company of other alpacas, you should never buy just one alpaca and no reputable breeder will sell just one alpaca on its own. Being without other alpacas causes high stress levels which can lead to ulcers and general ill health, alpacas are very stoic and often show no signs of illness until it’s too late. Spending time with your alpacas and learning what’s normal will help you know when something wrong.

The Alpaca Association of Ireland,, is a community of Irish alpaca breeders who are always available for advice and it’s recommended that you contact a registered breeder if you are interested in learning about alpacas.

Alpacas eat grass and hay. Pregnant or lactating females and young animals do need a feed designed for camelids. They are very hardy and happy living outdoors all year however they do like to have access to a leanto or a similar structure so they can shelter from heavy rain. Alpacas can live to be 15 – 20 and females have 1 cria (young alpaca) each year. Routine care includes treating for worms and liverfluke, vaccinations, toe nail trimming and annual shearing. Like all livestock they need fresh water available at all times and should be checked at least twice a day.