Barn Requirements - For the most part, alpacas like to be out and about, not cooped up in a barn. These animals do not need a big, fancy barn, but do need at least a 3 sided shelter to get out of the wind and rain. That could be a lean-to or something less conventional they can enter that will protect them from harsh elements.
Good fencing - field fencing with lots of gates
Hay and Feed - Alpacas cannot process poor quality hay that is readily consumed by cows and horses. They need about 10-12% protein to help sustain most alpacas. We use 2nd cutting grass alfalfa for our year round feed.
Call around before you need a veterinarian and see who has experience / is interested in working on alpacas. Even in our Montana ranching area, vets willing to work on alpacas are few and far between. Call and establish a relationship with them once you decide on getting alpacas.
There are a variety of items that we have received from the Useful Lama Items store and Quality Llama Products that are worth looking at. Those that have a ranch store nearby may be able to get a couple of these items, but they are often comparable in price online and have worked well for us. (*Please note, we are in no way affiliated with these companies...nor do we receive a referral fee. It just nice to know where you can find one-stop-shopping for your alpacas.
Useful Lama and Alpaca Items
Quality Llama Products
Amish Fixed or X-Style Halters - We get the adult alpaca size, and they usually fit our 5-6 month olds to our largest males heads. No need for different size halters.
Feed Buckets (Pans), Metal Scoop, 5 gallon bucket - can use any kinds, not just what this store offers.
Wheel barrow and/ or sled - removing manure and putting out feed
Insulated Alpaca Coats - some combination of extra small, small, and medium - very helpful, especially if the cria is born in the morning or on a cold day, even in the Summer
Alpaca Neonatal Care book - Highly suggested!
Imported BBN Shears - Not immediately essential, but will be needed in the future. You can pick these up at Murdochs. We use them to trim top nots and tidy up the facial hair. Do not go for a lower quality shearer, or you will be frustrated many times over when you are clipping your alpaca.
Toenail Trimmer and Holster - Needed for trimming toes every couple of months. When you pick up the alpacas, be sure the seller goes over how to trim their toes.
Cria Kit - This is essential kit. You can order one, with a coat, or assemble everything individually listed. Buying it in one stop is convenient and helps you be prepared for all the crias to come.
Thermometer - You can get these anywhere. Wal-Mart has them for $3. Get a soft-tip thermometer. One comes in the cria kit.
Pritchard Nipple - for nursing a baby - Can be picked up at Murdochs as well. One comes with the cria kit. Necessary in case the baby isn't immediatey drinking within 24 hours.
Cria Coat - Comes with the cria kit. Its nice to have at least 1 on hand.
If you are going to register you alpacas, you need to contact the Alpaca Registery and become affiliated with them. You will need an ARI account # from the Alpaca Registry. www.alpacainfo.com
Alpaca Salt - This one has become a little trick for us. We have used a brand from Purina as well as Stillwater Minerals. Shipping is expensive though.
Teeth trimming - yes, your alpacas teeth will always grow if they are not aligned right with the pallet. If your alpacas have bucky teeth in their future, we suggest using the Alpaca Tooth-O-Matic. Not cheap, but we have used ours for 13 years - and counting.
Shearing - Hire someone! They have everything needed to shave your alpacas.
Of course, there is always, more, but these are on the top of my list for monthly, if not daily, uses.
Here is another Top 10 List you might want to look at...