While hardy and generally disease resistant, basic care of yearly vaccinations, worming, and regular toe and occasional dental care is recommended.
Alpacas are shorn every 12 to 18 months to harvest their exquisite fleece, and for health and management purposes.
The two coat or breed types are huacaya and suri. Both fleeces are soft and free of guard hair. Ninety-five (95%) percent of alpacas are huacaya, with full, puffy fleeces whose crimp or crinkle is found throughout their fleeces.
The lustrous, straight fiber of the suri fleece hangs down in "dreadlocks", giving the suri alpaca an entirely different appearance.
Fibers of both types are considered luxury fibers in the textile trade because of their unique qualities. Tuis or yearling alpacas provide the finest fleeces. Depending upon its weight, quality, and cleanliness an alpaca fleece commands $150 - $400.