Can Alpacas Live With Cows? (What You Should Know)

by Chukay Alex
Updated on

Ensuring that your different animals can stay together before keeping them together is very important.

This helps you avoid a lot of troubles that could arise later.

This also gives you peace of mind because you have all the information you need and have accurate knowledge about what to do.

Can alpacas live with cows? Domesticated cows or cattle generally, can live with alpacas. Just like humans, cattle have different personalities and characteristics but when properly trained, they can live peacefully with alpacas with no problems whatsoever.

Alpacas are herd animals and love to be among themselves, but they also thrive with other livestock.

Alpacas can be kept with animals like sheep, lamas, donkeys etc. And cows are not an exception.

Are alpacas good with cows?

Can Alpacas Live With Cows

Yes alpacas are good with cows. They get along and grow well together.

When the alpacas are properly trained, they will not bother the cows and will learn to ignore them.

Keeping them together can be difficult because of their different sizes but it isn’t impossible.

The cows should be trained not to bother the alpacas.

Cows are bigger than alpacas and could cause them harm if they choose.

Alpacas are prey animals and respond aggressively to perceived threats.

If the cows come close and they feel threatened, they could attack, which would lead to the alpacas getting injured.

That is why proper training should be given to both animals in order for them to get along.

Why are alpacas kept with cows?

Alpacas are smaller than cows but they are sometimes used to guard them.

Cows’ sizes can be a disadvantage to them when it comes to chasing off predators, this is why guard animals like alpacas, llamas and dogs are kept with them.

Alpacas are fast on their feet and have very long legs. They protect breeding cattle and young cattle very well by chasing off predators or alerting you to the danger.

They cannot however protect cows against large predators like lions and wolves.

The cows’ big sizes can also be an advantage to alpacas.

Predators like bears and pack of wolves will probably ignore an alpaca farm when they are kept with cows.

This is because the cows’ sizes can be intimidating.

Things to consider.

There are several things to consider before keeping your alpacas and  cows together.

Don’t be in a hurry to keep them together just because it is safe to keep them together.

Get accurate information first.

1. Feeding.

The first thing to consider is feeding. Since your alpacas and cows will be living together, can you feed them the same thing, can they eat together?

These are the questions I’ll be answering shortly.

Alpacas and cows both graze on grass.

Alpacas graze more on grass however so you have to make sure the pasture you have can feed them all.

They however need different supplements and feed that suits their digestive systems and are needed for their individual growth.

Alpacas require high quality forage, low quality ones can lead to malnutrition, while cows can survive on low quality hay for long.

Cows also require more copper in their diet than alpacas. Eating cow feed can cause copper toxicity in alpacas.

So ensure apart from grazing, which they can do together, feed your alpacas separately from your cows.

2. Housing.

Alpacas and cows can live together but they often do not get along.

At most, they can be trained to ignore each other and just co exist quietly.

Housing them together is not wise and can cause fights.

You can however keep them in the same barn, provided you separate them into different stalls. They will do well in this arrangement.

3. Conflicts.

When alpacas and cows are trained to accommodate each other, they hardly fight.

They instead ignore each other mostly and only respond when there’s danger.

A lot of things should still be put in place to ensure there are no conflicts however.

If they are going to graze on the same pasture, it is better for them to graze at different times.

This will avoid fights. You should only allow them graze at the same time if the pasture is very large and the animals can separate themselves on opposite sides.

Their treats and water should also be given separately.

Alpacas tend to spit and get aggressive when they feel treats or water can’t be enough for all.

4. Diseases.

Diseases can be easily spread between alpacas and cows.

This is not something to worry about though, as adequate care can be taken to ensure your animals live healthy and never fall sick.

Ensure that your alpacas and cows live in a clean environment, eat good food and drink clean water.

Feed your animals clean water regularly.

Also make sure that they get their individual vaccinations regularly.

This will go a long way in protecting them from diseases and ensuring they stay healthy.

5. Interbreeding.

Alpacas and cows do not breed, but it isn’t impossible for them to mate.

To avoid unnecessary mating which can lead to your alpacas getting hurt, do not keep them together.

A cow may attempt to mate with a female alpaca during the night, when you aren’t there to supervise.

And this can cause a lot of damage to the female alpaca because of the cow’s bigger size. The best thing is to house them separately.


Alpacas can live with cows. Cows are bigger and are sometimes moody, but with proper training, they can learn to live with alpacas peacefully.

Alpacas are good with cows and can be used to protect them.

Keeping cows with alpacas can also discourage predators from coming near your farm because of the big sizes of the cows.

Alpacas and cows can share a pasture, but they should be fed supplements differently.

Cows require more copper in their diet than alpacas which is why you can’t feed them together.

You cannot house alpacas and cows together if you want to avoid conflicts.

If they are going to share a barn, make sure they are separated into different stalls.

Proper hygiene is also to be maintained if your alpacas and cows will remain healthy.

This reduces the risk of diseases and lowers death rates.

Alpacas and cows do not breed, but they should not be housed together, to prevent unwanted mating.

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About the author

Chukay Alex

Chukay is a season writer and farmer who enjoys farming and growing plants in his backyard farm. When he is not farming you can find him at the nearest lawn tennis court, hitting a mean backhand down the line.


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