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Alpacas

Can Alpacas Live With Horses?

Alpacas and horses can live together and benefit from each other without any issues.

This is because they mix very well with horses, they keep the weeds down, they help reduce the worm burden and they are very cheap to keep

Horses and alpacas can live very well together in your farm and they get to feed off the same things and also reduce your wage bill.

Another thing to note is that when alpacas are brought together with horses they can act as fun pets for the horses

For me in my farm, I keep two alpacas with my 14.22h pony and the benefits I get from doing this has been really great and tremendous for my farm animals.

Alpacas have three stomachs and aren’t generally affected by horse parasites so they keep the worm burden down. 

Their poo makes great fertilizers, too. 

Most of the time, the pony and the alpacas tend to ignore each other, but now and then the pony chases them. 

Alpacas can make great guard animals, and mine have been known to chase off a friend’s Border Terrier at times, too!”

“My alpacas don’t challenge fences like goats or sheep can, although electric fencing isn’t really suitable because they don’t feel the shock through their well-insulated fleece”.

If you are thinking of buying two or three of these wonderful creatures, then you’ll need to know that they vary in price, from a few hundred to several thousand pounds, with gelded males being cheaper than entire males and females.

Avoid mixing entire males with females unless you want children, and males can live happily together as long as they are castrated.

Related: Can Alpacas Live With Goats?

Are Alpacas related to Horses?

Can Alpacas Live With Horses?
Photo by Hector Perez on Pexels.com

Alpacas are not related to horses and scientifically are not even in the same family.

The only similarities they both share is that they are herbivores and will happily graze alongside a horse as long as they are not bullied by a boisterous horse.

Like I mentioned earlier, they have a similar diet to horses – which is basically forage based with supplementary cereal concentrate rations that are required in the winter.

Related: Check out this article on Where alpacas live

Do alpacas make for good companions for horses?

No reason why they can’t be kept together and alpacas will help keep the pasture from going “horse sick” as they will eat the bits the horses don’t (to some extent). 

They aren’t as big and tough as Llamas and I have seen horses bully them occasionally but mostly they keep themselves to themselves.

Be aware though that they need annual shearing which can be an issue if you don’t have someone in your area to do it – they need to be tied or sedated so it’s not something anyone who has ever shorn a sheep can do. 

They also need annual Vitamin ADE injections and vaccinations for the same diseases sheep get (tetanus, pulpy kidney and so on – the vaccine is sold in boxes of 500 doses so you’ll need a friendly farmer/alpaca breeder to let you have a couple of doses).

Also in my farm we keep wethered alpacas as stock guards & sometimes they end up in with the horses. 

Lets just say my mare is not a fan but once they have their pecking order sorted they seem to stay out of each other’s way. 

There’s nothing timid about ours. I find them quite aloof & ignorant. (I’m not really an alpaca fan)

We drench ours when our sheep are drenched & vaccinate with 6in1 when the ewes have their pre lambing needles. 

Our shearer drugs our & shears them like a sheep. 

We also trim their hooves once a year.

Personally I’d never have one as a pet as I’ve never met an Alpaca yet that has enjoyed being petted. 

They’ll come for food or to suss you out. Maybe I’m missing the connection.

One thing you need to know is that they make that horrible sound whenever we handle them. 

They also like to cover us inasmuch regurgitated grass as they can. 

They kick like a horse & are extremely quick at it. 

It’s all noise & bluff. 

It sounds horrible but you get pretty good at ignoring it.

Do alpacas require a different management to horses?

Alpacas are hardy animals, but do need protection from heavy weather, in the form of a field shelter or overhanging trees.

They also need annual toenail trimming, shearing and vaccinating, although your vet can advise on specific timescales relating to their age and breed.

Alpacas share many worm parasites with sheep and do require a worming programme; although faecal egg counts are commonly used, in the same way as with horses.

Neutered males are usually the cheapest alpacas to buy and experts recommend that two or three alpacas are grazed together as they have a herd mentality.

Conclusion

Alpacas and horses can live together without any issues.

They can be fed with the same feed and most times the alpacas act as fun companions for the horses.

Check out this article I wrote showing you what alpacas eat

One thing you need to know is that the horses might try to bully them once in a while

But once that has been settled then they can easily live together without any issues.

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