Rolling Hills Alpacas



Alpacas are members of the camelid family, which includes alpacas, dromedary's,
bactrian camels, llamas, vicunas, and guanacos.

Alpacas are indigenous to the Andes  Mountains of South America, primarily Peru,
Chile, and Bolivia.  There they have developed into hardy animals with thick fleeces to
withstand the cold, and living on sparse vegetation.  Alpacas are smaller than llamas,
and therefore are not used as pack animals like llamas.

Alpacas are primarily bred for their soft luxurious fleece which has been, through
out  history,  referred to as the "fiber of the gods".

In 1984, some very specially selected  alpacas were brought into the United States
and Canada.  The importation was stopped in 1998.  There are currently about
175,000 alpacas in the U.S.

There are two types of alpacas, the huacaya, and the suri.   The suri account for only
about 10 %  of the alpacas in the U.S.   Suris have  lustrous fiber that grows quite
long and forms what looks like dreadlocks.  The huacaya, which is by far the greatest
number of alpacas,  has a shorter and much more dense fleece.   This fleece has a
crimp, or waviness, similar to sheep's wool, but there is no lanolin or greasiness to
the touch, as found in sheep's wool.  At
Rolling Hills Alpacas,
we specialise  in huacaya.

Alpacas come in 22 natural colors of fleece.  The fleece can be spun into yarn by
itself, or blended along with other fibers such as silk or wool.  The fleece can also be
dyed practically any color.  The alpacas are shorn for their fleeces every year, and  
will produce anywhere from 5 to 12 lbs of soft,  warm, luxurious fiber per animal.  
Hand spinners and the commercial  fiber industry eagerly seek this valuable fleece.

Alpacas chew their cud similar to a cow, although they only have three stomachs,
where a cow has four.  Alpacas graze, eating grasses and hay.  We also  feed a special
vitamin  and mineral supplement in grain.  There are no top teeth in the front,  The
bottom teeth oppose a dental pad to bite off grasses.  When they chew, they grind
their food sideways with their back teeth.

The foot of an alpaca is a soft pad similar to that of a dogs foot.  They have two toes
and toenails which have to be trimmed occasionally.

The average height of an alpaca is 36 inches at the withers (shoulders), and they
weigh up  to 150 to 180 lbs.  Males of breeding age (about three years old) are kept
in  adjacent, or separate pastures from the females.   Breeding is selective, chosen
based on bloodlines, fiber characteristics, conformation etc.  Females may be bred
after about 18 months of age.  Alpacas have only one baby, called a cria, at a time.  
Twins are very rare.  Pregnancy lasts about eleven months.  The females are induced
ovulators, and can breed anytime throughout the year.

When giving birth, alpacas usually do not require assistance, and have their young
while standing.  Another interesting fact is they almost always give birth during
daylight hours.  The cria weighs between 14-20 lbs,   and begins nursing within about
30 minutes of birth.  They are weaned at about 5-6 months.  The mother is usually
re-bred again 3 weeks after giving birth.

                          Ellie's cria "EVE"  just about 30 min old

These animals are disease resistant and have low maintenance.   They are friendly
and not at all dangerous.  They communicate among themselves by making soft
humming sounds "life is good", or "where is that lady with my hay"  or putting their
ears back which could mean "who is that strange dog in my yard".  They have been
even known to spit at each other which means something like " If  I've told you once,
I've told you a thousand times...get away from MY hay"   I have never had an alpaca
spit at me.

These beautiful, warm and friendly animals have a life span of approx.  20-25 years.
We hope you will at least get to know, if not own some.
Please Call us at  541-499-0449 home or
541-727-1618 cell

To arrange a farm visit or just to "talk alpacas"
You will be glad you did

You'll easily find us at
970 Old Stage Road
Central Point, Oregon 97502

about 1 mile north of historical Jacksonville
Open 11 AM - 5 PM
Wen - Sunday or BY Appointment