When you think of a traditional farm, you probably think about horses, cows, chickens, pigs and maybe even goats. But if you’re thinking of adding an animal that’s a little untraditional, a llama or alpaca might be for you. They are great as guardians of livestock, produce fiber and can be loyal companions.
The problem is that a lot of people don’t know the difference between the two and often see them as the same animal. But there are a lot of differences between the two. Part of the problem could be that these animals weren’t introduced to the United States until the 1900’s, with the alpaca not being transported here until 1984 due to heavy restrictions from South America.
First, let’s look at their similarities and benefits to adding them to your farm. They both produce nice fleece that you can use in the winter, require little space and maintenance, are environmentally friendly and produce great fertilizer. They are also friendly and easy to be around and live around 20-25 years.
Before you decide which (or both) to add. Let’s look at the differences between the two.
Llamas are larger animals and can weigh up to 400 pounds. They often serve as guardian animals for smaller livestock, including alpacas. They have coarse fleece and long banana shaped ears. Llamas also produce less fiber than alpacas even though they are larger. Their body shape consists of a straight back and high-set tail and also have little hair on their face compared to an alpaca.
Alpacas are only half the size of llamas and weigh only 100-200 pounds on average. They have very luxurious fleece and produce a lot of fiber. They have short, pear-shaped ears and slightly sloping backs. Alpacas also have a very furry face. Although both animals are highly intelligent, alpacas are more timid and quiet compared to llamas.
Both animals can be great additions to your farm, ranch or even on your hobby farm for your country home. No matter if you’re looking for livestock guardians, fiber production or just a friendly companion, you can’t go wrong with llamas, alpacas or even both.
If you’re looking for farmland for sale or to start your own hobby farm and need added acreage, call United Country Real Estate at 800-999-1020 and we’ll help you get started.