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Apr 12th 2019 Back to latest news

What’s the Difference between an Alpaca and Llama?
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What’s the Difference between an Alpaca and Llama? This is a question which is asked at Farmer Palmers quite a lot, above all one thing we do know, we have Alpacas and they make great guard dogs!

Picture this: Spring is in the air and the lambs are bouncing around the grass fields, on little mounds of earth and on their mothers backs! Sound familiar? This is also a vulnerable time of year during the lambing season due to foxes and dogs that could be predators to newborns out in the vast fields.

Step in the superhero Camelids! Our Alpacas Archie, Inca and Charlie are doing a very important job at Farmer Palmers this Spring, protecting our beautiful lambs. To help we have borrowed Herbie, Monty and Huratio from the lovely Sally at Longthorns Farm to help us.

Why are Alpacas and Llamas great guard dogs?

Even though alpacas are fairly shy of people, they are alert to predators and will chase away any animal, or person, they see as a threat to their flock.

Their protection tactics range from walking or running towards the intruder. As a result they then can chase, kick with front feet or spit at the potential “danger”. Because they make a startling alarm call that sounds like a rusty hinge and a high-pitched attack call this is often enough to scare away predators. Many sheep and goat producers indicate a special bond quickly develops between lambs and their guard Camelid who is particularly protective of the lambs.

So what are the similarities between Alpacas and Llamas?

• Both are bred for their wool and in South America their meat and milk.
• They live between 18-24 years and have a gestation length of 11.5 months. They come into heat again within 2 weeks!
• As pseudo-ruminants they have 3 compartment stomachs, ideal for balanced high-fiber diets.
• They are both tidy animals only weeing and pooing in specific places, and not feeding near these areas. This naturally protects them from ingesting internal parasites.
• They can stand over 5ft tall and have excellent hearing and eyesight over kilometer distances.

What are the differences between Alpacas and Llamas?

• Ears. Llamas have long banana shaped ears and long faces like a horse. Our alpacas have smaller straight ears, wide heads, doe eyes and beautiful lashes

• Weight. Llamas are the big boys weighing up to 180Kgs and as a result are much stronger for carrying. Alpacas only make approx. 80kgs which is why you won’t find our alpacas carrying packs!

• Beautiful Coats. Llama wool is double layered, a course layer, known as guard hair over a softer unde-rwool. Guard Hair is used to make rope and rugs. Under-wool is the fiber used for spinning. Alpaca wool or fleece is made of a fine fiber, it is soft and comes in over 20 colours.

• Allergies. Alpaca wool is generally better for people allergic to sheep’s wool.

• The best alpaca wool comes from the Suri and the Huacaya breeds. In contrast the llama wool is double layered, a course layer over a softer inner coat.

• Behavior. Alpacas are skittish where as Llamas are easier to train due to their steadfastness and independence.

Is sheep, alpaca and llama wool the same?

Technically sheep produce
• Wool: a generic term for fleece or fiber. Wool is coated in lanolin making it oily and practically waterproof.

Llamas produce
• Two layers. Top guard hair (which is hollow and gives great insulating properties) and an under-wool fleece layer. Prior to processing these are separated because they are treated in different ways.

Alpacas produce
• Fleece: Unwashed and shorn fiber. Also know as “the poor man’s cashmere” due to its affordability and super soft fiber is very popular. Once spun, the yarn is very popular for its range of colours.
These heavy coats in summer are a burden therefore shearing takes place once a year.

What’s the Difference between an Alpaca and Llama fiber and fleece?

Fiber refers to any material that can be spun – for example, fleece, cotton or nylon. Fleece is a spinning material that comes from the coat of an animal. So fleece can be fiber as well! Hope that helps.

Farmers livelihoods are affected by sheep worrying.

Dog attacks are traumatic, resulting in not only a welfare issue but also costly for the poor ewes, lambs and the farmer’s jobs.

It is not unusual to find dogs bounding up among the sheep and the owner still some distance behind. The vast majority of dog walkers are truly fantastic when it comes to awareness of their surroundings and sheep.

Rather than putting their dogs on a lead near sheep, sadly, many feel their recall skills are good enough that putting their dog on a lead, or avoiding farmers fields which are not a public right of way, will be fine!

Where can I see Alpacas in Dorset?

We love to help the community and we get a little help from our friends in return. We borrowed the lovely Alpacas, Herbie, Monty and Huratio to help guard our lambs from Longthorns Farm. A small farm and award winning, dog friendly, site nestled next to Monkey World in the heart of rural Dorset.

They offer camping, welcome Caravans and motor homes, have Tipi Wigwam, Shepherds Huts in Bunny Field and Eco-pods for the budget glamping! The personal service can only be topped by the opportunity to Walk With Alpacas.

“We don’t offer regimented pitches, just camp-fires, stargazing a chance to get back to nature. Enjoy our wonderful woodland walk, gorgeous alpacas and green spaces” Said Sally who runs Longthorns.

They are located within easy access to many famous Jurassic Coast attractions, Monkey World, The Tank Museum, Lulworth Cove, miles of beautiful coastline.

What’s the Difference between an Alpaca and Llama by SPS and pr PPS