About Us

Chilla Valley Alpacas is a family run business based in Devon where we have a small herd of breeding alpacas. We work on the basis that quality is better than quantity and so have worked since 2006 on building good quality genetics and healthy animals. We have made the decision not to show our animals as part of our bio security policy.  We have our own stud males and we are able to offer them to work on a drive-by basis.

All of our animals are fully vaccinated and registered with the BAS and we aim to work to their code of practice.  In particular, we follow their guidance on  TB awareness.

We are committed to the British fibre industry and our fibre is processed into yarns and finished products and sold through our online retail shop The Little Wool Company  and other stockists.

All About Alpacas

Know your Alpacas - alpaca care for new owners

Alpacas are delightful creatures, gentle and curious. They are actually a domesticated version of the vicuña, a South American ruminant that lives in the high Andes and a close relative of the llama, itself a domesticated version the guanaco. Llamas make excellent pack animals, but alpacas are farmed for their gorgeous, super-soft wool. Here are some interesting facts about alpacas, and how to care for them.

25 helpful alpaca facts for beginners

One of the best ways to learn how to look after an animal properly is to find out all about it.

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Chilla Valley Alpacas
Chilla Valley Alpacas

Looking after alpacas - the basics

Alpacas aren’t difficult to care for, responding well to gentle, calm, quiet handling. Their requirements are fairly simple: good grass, access to hay all year round, and clean drinking water.  It’s also advisable to give a mineral feed supplement and Vitamin D supplement. Twice a year they need to be wormed

It’s wise to stand their water troughs off the ground, to deter other visitors to the paddock, like foxes and badgers, from drinking their water.
Alpacas often chase these intruders away, but it’s best not to risk other animals sharing their water or food in the first place.

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Alpaca feed – the things alpacas love to eat

The better fed your alpacas, the happier they’ll be. They’re 100% herbivore, only eat plants and love grass, which forms the bulk of their naturally-occurring diet. They also also enjoy roughage-rich leaves, wood, bark and stems, which they digest with ease thanks to their three-chambered stomach, very like cattle and sheep.

Because alpacas evolved in harsh conditions they use food energy extremely efficiently, much more so than their lowland-living relatives. The problem is, British grasses and vegetation don’t contain the right type of nutrients to keep the animals in good condition, which is where proprietary concentrates come in, specially formulated for their welfare.

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Chilla Valley Alpacas
Chilla Valley Alpacas

Alpaca shearing – beautiful fur, sumptuously soft

Alpaca fur is prized the world over by knitters and crocheters, artists, artisans and craftspeople. The animals come in 20 or more colours, everything from the deepest black to pure white, and the resulting wool is wonderfully soft and delicate. It doesn’t retain water and it’s surprisingly strong. In fact it’s the second strongest animal fibre in the world, second only to mohair.

When do you and how do you harvest the fur, and how do you do it?

Shearing experts are thin on the ground in Britain, which is why some UK sheep farmers rely on Australian shearers to handle huge flocks in record time.

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Alpaca husbandry – about breeding alpacas

Alpacas breed once a year and can be bred at any time of year. Baby alpacas are very sweet, called crias. Here’s what you need to know about alpaca husbandry.

Breeding alpacas in Britain

The alpaca has a gestation period of anything from 242 to 345 days, a surprisingly broad spread. They only have one baby at a time and they’re always born between late morning and mid afternoon, probably because that’s when the air is at its warmest on the high altiplano of the Andes where they come from.

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Chilla Valley Alpacas
Chilla Valley Alpacas

Health Issues – things to look out for

You need to know what conditions, infestations and diseases to look out for. As a rule alpacas are really hardy. But, like all livestock, they can go downhill fast so need checking at least once a day. Pregnant females or females with young need extra care, with more frequent checks.

The more time you spend with your herd, the better you’ll get to know them and the easier it’ll be to spot when they’re not feeling their best. The earlier problems are detected, the better the chance of a fast recovery.

What does a poorly alpaca look like? Rather like a poorly human!

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