Kellie and Rod live on 11 productive acres on the outer edge of Melbourne with four alpacas. They are devoted owners who do their best to ensure their alpacas receive good care. This is their story.
Why did you want to have alpacas?
I don’t really know! My husband and I dreamed of having land and alpacas... I had a recurring dream of owning an alpaca whose name was Monty!
How many alpacas do you have? What are they like?
We have four female alpacas, all very unique in their personalities. Three are white and one is fawn, ranging from three to nearly seventeen years. They all get along very well most of the time.
How much time do you spend looking after your alpacas? What does it involve?
It’s hard to put a time on this, but we check our girls every morning - usually, they are in the barn relaxing- they have hay in there 24/7, and a few times a week, they get a feed of lucerne and oaten chaff and occasionally some lucerne hay depending on the weather - more in winter.
They are also checked throughout the day - the more you watch them, the easier it is to notice if one isn't well (we have not had any health issues). Sometimes, I sit in the paddock with them even if it’s raining. We ensure they have clean water, and when it’s hot, they like to have fun with the hose - just on their feet and under their bellies to cool them down. An experienced helper comes up every three months and does husbandry with me (injections, toenail trimming, body weight check, etc). Once a year is shearing, another regular activity is keeping paddocks clean (picking up poo).
What do you enjoy most about being an alpaca owner?
I love watching my alpacas - they are unique, unlike any other animal I have had. Very much their own people. They are just beautiful.
What do you enjoy the least about being an alpaca owner?
Shearing - this is a must once a year but I don’t like seeing and hearing my girls stressed.
What has been the most difficult thing so far?
We had one of our girls mated before her arrival - she had a male cria who we had to part with as you can’t keep males and females together. I also worry about storms. We haven’t had any issues with dog attacks but that does worry me too.
What advice would you give to prospective alpaca owners in Victoria?
The breeder we purchased from told me, “If you want a cuddly pet, get a dog.” Great advice!
Don’t expect alpacas to keep the grass down. Make sure you are set up before getting them. They do need shelter. A race really helps with husbandry. Go to farms and watch what is involved.
We are pet owners and our alpacas are a beautiful addition to our little farm.