It is important that you have accurate knowledge about your flocks and which ones can stay together peacefully in order to avoid problems and to ensure that your animals are comfortable.
Alpacas are lovely herd animals that are often kept as guard animals.
They can be kept with other animals when properly trained and when all are put in place.
Can alpacas live with sheep? Alpacas can live with sheep. They can even thrive well together if there’s adequate and proper supervision. Sheep are naturally meek creatures and can live peacefully with almost all animals that aren’t predators.
Not all animals can be kept with alpacas however.
Their natural instinct in the face of danger is to flee. So yes, alpacas can live with sheep. They can even thrive well together if there’s adequate and proper supervision.
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Are alpacas good with sheep?
Yes, alpacas are very good with sheep.
They are herd animals and quickly adopt other animals as their herds, protecting them.
They do not chase sheep, run them or scare them.
It is not unusual to even see alpacas bonding with sheep and relating as companions.
So, if you have these animals and you are wondering if you can keep them together, the answer is yes.
Your alpacas won’t harm your sheep in any way.
Why are alpacas kept with sheep?
Alpacas are kept with sheep so that they can guard them.
I told you alpacas are herd animals and are quick to adopt other animals they are kept with, as their herds.
If you keep alpacas with your sheep, the alpacas quickly adopt them as their herds and protect them from predators.
Foxes and wild dogs often prey on sheep and this can lead to a drastic decrease in a farmer’s income.
Keeping alpacas with them is a way to protect your livestock.
Alpacas take their job seriously and a single alpaca can protect up to 60 sheep.
It is however advisable to keep more than one alpaca with your sheep.
Alpacas like the company of other alpacas and they are more threatening to predators when they are more than one.
Things to consider.
There are several things to consider before putting alpacas with sheep.
Knowing that they can live together is not enough. You have to know how they can live together and what things to keep in mind.
The first thing to consider when you want to keep alpacas with sheep is their feeding.
Do they eat the same thing?
Do you feed them together or separately?
Read on and you’ll get the answers to these questions.
Alpacas and sheep are grazers.
They feed mostly on pasture.
This means you need a large pasture that can feed them all if you are considering rearing them together.
Alpacas and sheep can also graze at the same time with no trouble if your pasture is big enough.
You have to understand however that these animals need supplements apart from grass to supply them with all the necessary nutrients their bodies require.
Alpacas need hay and other supplements.
These supplements contain copper that can be harmful to sheep.
Alpacas and sheep are prone to copper toxicity but sheep are in more danger of this. Alpacas’ feed contain a bit of copper so sheep cannot eat it, but alpacas can safely eat sheep feed.
When feeding your alpacas, make sure your sheep are somewhere separate so they won’t feed on their food and get sick.
The next thing to be considered before keeping alpacas with sheep is housing.
Can they be housed together?
Alpacas mostly like to roam free.
They sometimes even sleep outside at night instead of their house or barn so keeping alpacas and sheep in the same barn is possible.
Alpacas and sheep can be kept in the same barn but ensure they have different stalls.
Let the barn be large enough that you can divide and give them separate spaces.
This will even reduce the risk of conflicts and diseases.
Sheep are easy going creatures.
They do not fight or cause havoc in the herd.
Alpacas can live with sheep peaceably without conflicts but you have to put some things in mind.
Alpacas can be aggressive and fight over food and water.
When feeding your flocks, separate the alpacas from your sheep in order to avoid this.
Also ensure you have a pasture that is large enough to feed them all.
Alpacas and sheep can live together without any fear of serious diseases being transmitted between them.
Meningeal worm, a very deadly disease, can however be transmitted from sheep to alpacas.
Deworming your alpacas regularly can ensure that they do not come to harm or fall sick.
Your sheep also need to be dewormed regularly.
Both animals also have different medications and vaccinations they should be given at different times.
Related: Here is an article I wrote on Alpacas living with goats
In rare cases, interbreeding can occur between alpacas and sheep.
It is not however established if the pregnancy or offspring will survive or not.
To avoid unnecessary and unplanned breeding, keep your alpacas away from your sheep.
The best alpacas to use as guards are castrated makes or infertile females.
They focus more on their jobs and it ensures that unnecessary and unplanned breeding do not occur between these animals.
Alpacas can live with sheep and they are living with sheep in many farms across the world.
Alpacas are good with sheep when properly trained and introduced early to form bonds.
Alpacas are kept with sheep to protect them.
Sheep are always in danger from predators like coyotes, foxes, dogs etc.
Keeping them with alpacas can reduce the risk of this or eradicate it totally.
Alpacas and sheep both graze, and they can share a pasture.
They however cannot feed on the same supplements and hay.
Alpaca feed contains copper which is very toxic to sheep.
It is best you keep them apart from each other, while they’re eating.
They can share a barn but they should be separated into different stalls.
If all these steps are taken, conflicts cannot arise.
Make sure to observe proper hygiene and keep their environment clean.
This will reduce the risk of diseases and death. Interbreeding is possible, but not common.
Alpacas should not be kept with sheep therefore, especially at night.
It is best to avoid mating between the animals which can cause conflicts and increase the risk of disease.