Alpacas and Llamas

Brown and white llamas grazing

Alpacas and llamas are alternative livestock species most often raised for the specialty fiber produced through annual shearing of their hair coat. Alpaca fiber is especially recognized for its softness and thermal capacity. Llamas are sometimes grazed with small ruminants to deter predators, although they are themselves a prey animal.

There are other, small niche markets for meat, pack llamas, and other live sales, such as show and breeding animals. Alpacas and llamas offer a comparatively low-impact livestock alternative because their padded feet do not have the same effect on the ground as hooves. In addition, they have efficient digestive systems and can thrive on marginal pasture unsuited to other livestock species. 

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Staff Experts

Linda Coffey

Linda Coffey

Linda Poole

Linda Poole

Cattle grazing in a silvopasture
Sheep manure in a cover cropped walnut alley. This farmer stopped grazing sheep in their walnut orchard due to the potential risk (and liability) of contamination by pathogens from undecomposed manure contacting walnuts during harvest.
Linda Coffey checking for signs of illness in goat
goat browsing
dairy goat with offspring on pasture
a woman handling a sheep
A goat in a pasture
jars of milk and a bowl of cheese
closeup of meat on a dinner plate