Routine Care and Keeping
What do they eat? How much time do they take? Are they disease prone?
Alpacas eat grass and hay. Most owners supplement this with a little grain each day—nothing fancy. In fact, alpacas don't do well on high-protein diets.
We spend up to an hour a day with ours. We scrub out and refill the water buckets, give each animal a cup of grain, rake up the hay they've rooted onto the floor and add more as needed, and clean up the dung piles. Then we usually halter one or two and go for a walk. This keeps halter training in place and gives us an excuse to mess with them a little longer.
Dung piles? Alpacas only go to the bathroom in one or two places. (They'll even stand in line to wait their turn!) These piles need to be cleaned up each day so that they don't track dung around and get it in their fleeces.
Every month they each get a shot of wormer to protect them from meningeal worm and gastrointestinal parasites.
Every couple months their toenails need to be trimmed. They don't have hooves like horses or cattle. Their feet are soft pads with toenails on top.
Once a year, they need to be sheared, or heat stress would be a real danger during the hot months.
During the summer, we offer to squirt their legs and bellies with water. They almost always take us up on the offer!