Llamas and Alpacas: Similiar and Different


The National Western Stock Show is an event held every year in Colorado near the Denver Coliseum. If you attend this event you are sure to have lots of fun and see lots of new things. There are animals, food, merchandise sales, art and much more. Down to the livestock section I talked to some people with llamas and alpacas.


 Mallory Patterson, who is from Kiowa, Colorado had some llamas named Flint Eastwood and Trident. Flint Eastwood and Trident are both guard llamas and they protect goats from predators. They both have about 10-15 more years to live and will likely be guard llamas for the rest of their lives. They eat grass, hay and grains. Llamas have to be shaved once a year and make 1-2 garbage bags of yarn. Mallory said that the difference between a llama and an alpaca is that “Llamas are bigger and have banana shaped  ears. Alpacas have straight ears and are much smaller. ”


 Michele Rubio- Eickhoff who has 5 alpacas. Sanssousi Topaz,
Sanssousi Solitaire and Sanssousi Autunno are her three males. Sanssousi Sienna and Sanssousi Serendipity are her two females. The alpacas have won two first place, a third place, a sixth place, a reserve champion and a champion ribbon. They are shaved once a year and each makes 5-9 pounds of yarn. Michele said “Alpacas eat hay, alfalfa, and pelleted food.”

Both alpacas and llamas must be shaved. Their fur is called fiber once it is shaved. It can be turned into yarn and made into hats, gloves, scarves or rugs. Both animals are judged by their fiber and appearance.