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 1. Alpacas 101: Getting Started
 alpacas as companion to horses and vice/versa
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3 Posts

Posted - 07/03/2007 :  2:42:17 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
my sister is purchasing a small childsafe female horse and we have discussed what would make a suitable animal companion for her
i jumped in there with an alpaca as i have always wanted to have a small farm filled with fiber animals - but i live and work downtown in a capital city this is not gonna happen soon
of course we both wanted to research this but i have found very little information
i know lamas and horses get along and ideally 2 alpacas would be nice but is not gonna happen
the alpaca would most likely be a neutered male with pretty good fiber
and both animals would have plenty of human companionship
pros and cons?

Always Accoyo

1347 Posts

Posted - 07/03/2007 :  6:21:31 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
A suitable companion for a horse is another horse. Alpacas need other alpacas, not horses. A kick from a horse could maim or kill an alpaca. I doubt an alpaca kick would do much harm, but I don't suppose the horse would enjoy alpaca spit. If you can't afford more than one alpaca now, it would be best for alpacas if you waited and saved until you can. They are very unhappy and afraid when alone.

Nancy Wright
Always Accoyo
Oxford, MI
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Heidi Christensen

4211 Posts

Posted - 07/03/2007 :  6:49:57 PM  Show Profile  Visit Heidi Christensen's Homepage  Reply with Quote
You could also try a goat with the horse. There are fiber producing goats like the pygora. Horses do like company, but do fine with species other than there own.

Heidi Christensen
WingNut Farm
Graham, Wa
(253) 846-2168
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3 Posts

Posted - 07/03/2007 :  7:36:45 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
not sure about these responses
i knew they would weigh heavily on the side of horses with horses and alpacas with alpacas - - but that won't be the situation
and for whatever reason that a horse would kick an alpaca a kick to a goat would seem to spell death
anyone with experience with the situation?
of course i want to hear want i want to hear but would likely accept any horror stories (but really, i want to read about the wonderful alpaca/horse friendships)
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3320 Posts

Posted - 07/03/2007 :  9:46:59 PM  Show Profile  Visit nyala's Homepage  Reply with Quote

I agree with the previous posts that mixing an alpaca and a horse is not a good plan. We have a mare and we kept her at our farm in her own field when we first got her and she was lonely even though she could see our alpacas and sheep. We moved her to another close by farm with other horses and she was much happier. She prefers human company but is much calmer in the field with other mares. Iíve watched this herd of calm gentle mares and they have dominance battles everyday. They bite and kick at each other and they can take it. The do connect from time to time. Alpacas could not take it. One kick from a horse and no more alpaca or for that matter no more goat. I do know folks that have kept goats with horses and didnt have issues. There is another farm down the road and they have one alpaca in with some goats and he is the loneliest saddest alpaca Iíve ever seen. His owners say heís fine but he just kushes and mopes. They donít want to give him up and are looking for another rescue guy to keep him company and I hope they find one soon. I would honestly get two horses ( or a horse and donkey) and if you get alpaca get two.

Good luck with your dream I hope you get to have your fiber farm someday,


D. Andrew Merriwether, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Anthropology and Biology
Binghamton Univeristy
Nyala Farm Alpacas
Vestal, NY
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8 Posts

Posted - 07/04/2007 :  11:06:03 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
[purple]Hello--2 years ago we purchased a gelded horse and a female goat companion. They wern't in love, but ate together and even played. Six months later, we brought home another gelded horse which left the goat feeling like a third wheel. We then brought home some alpaca geldings. The horses would run, the alps would pronk and neck slam while the poor little goat would dance around on her hind legs like a drunk ballerina and try to head butt everyone. Bottom line, we got another female goat and a few more gelded fiber alps. Each animal is happiest when they have the chance to interact with its own kind - they understand each other best and can be themselves. This unlikely group has become a herd in its own right. They follow the lead horse who keeps order and gets to eat the first bite of hay while the others watch. Then they all join in eating the hay. Each kind of animal has their own stall(s) or run-in where they sleep and have access to their own kind of grain. Our oldest alpaca is the watchman who alerts the others to danger and they all line up behind behind him while the lead horse checks out the danger, be a moose or the neighbors cat. We have a very large paddock area, as well as, different pastures that they all share during the day. Everyone has enough room to roam, run, graze, roll, etc and we have had no behaviour problems. My daughters even have their riding lessons while all of the animals are in the paddock. The instructor thought that the goats & alps would be distracting or at least be in the way. But they all sit/sprawl/cush over in the corner and chew while watching the lessons. When the lessons are over, everyone runs up to get a treat! We keep them all busy, there are nylon pull toys tied to the fences for the alps to chew on. A large exercise ball gets kicked around for the horses to chase and various salt licks and hanging treat balls help keep everyone happy. When the horses go out for rides around the neighborhood, the alps and goats go nuts until they return. Of course, the alps & goats are halter trained and enjoy going for walks also. So, things have worked out for us with no trouble. The only thing I would say is that mares are crabby and suffer from major PMS (thats why they use them to produce female hormone replacement). They do bite and kick and raise cain when in a group. Geldings are more predictable. But if you have just 1 mare and the alpacas are geldings, she won't really have anyone to fight with. The alpacas (3-4 work best as a little herd) will mind their own business and the horse will be prissy and bossy and hog as much human attention as she can get away with. The alpacas are not that needy for human affection and will not mind at all. If you can only afford 1 companion animal, then I would go with a small goat that has a sweet nature and no horns. Male goats that have been fixed are strong and (like our husbands) learn quickly to stay out of the way on THOSE DAYS. Good Luck
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Jessie Schmoker

794 Posts

Posted - 07/05/2007 :  10:10:28 AM  Show Profile  Visit Jessie Schmoker's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I have to agree that an alpaca/horse combo really isn't the best idea. It's not that the horse would deliberately try to kick and injure an alpaca; it's more that, while playing rambunctiously (as horses will do), a stray kick could seriously hurt or even kill an alpaca that's about one-eighth the horse's size.

Aside from that, my personal feeling is that herd animals should be with at least another of their own kind. Gatheris, you say two alpacas "would be nice but is not gonna happen", but why not? You can purchase two fiber animals very inexpensively, and I'm guessing that if the acreage they'd be kept on is sufficient for a couple of horses, it would be sufficient for one horse and two alpacas. That way you could choose two fiber alpacas with different colors and have a nice start on beginning your fiber farm.

You may just want to consider purchasing a companion pony for the horse your sister is buying, rather than an animal of another species.

Jessie Schmoker
Alpacas of St. Croix Valley
Somerset, WI
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2967 Posts

Posted - 07/06/2007 :  12:36:29 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
If you get the Hobby Farms book about goats at any farm store there is an article about goats as companions to horses, says they were used for companions for race horses. If the opposition wanted the favorite horse to lose they would steal his goat companion and the horse would be very upset and not run their best. Says this is where the saying "don't let them get your goat" came from.

Seems to me that if you only are going to have one horse a goat would be a good companion.


Bob & Vicki Blodgett
Suri Land Alpaca Ranch
3288 Halter Avenue
Newton, Iowa 50208
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2830 Posts

Posted - 07/06/2007 :  08:57:33 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I would never put a goat with my Alpacas, but I do have a fellow dog breeder/race horse owner who always had a billy goat in the barn with his horses. This goat would follow any human in the barn and if he did not like you, he would butt you from behind. However, he loved his horses and was great with them. The horses loved this goat as well.

Christiane Rudolf
Tanglewood Farm
19741 Victory Lane
Fayetteville, Ohio 45118
(513) 875-3739
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The Paca Factory

592 Posts

Posted - 07/07/2007 :  07:19:20 AM  Show Profile  Visit The Paca Factory's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I'm sure I'm not the very best resource however we had horses and they seem to get along with goats, chickens and cats real well. Our first two alpacas came to us after some very expensive breeding and all it took was one kick by a horse that escaped from his confined area. He made a beeline for the 8 1/2 month pregnant alpaca and one kick and that breeding was done. We were exceptionally lucky in that she was able to re-breed and have had a few real nice animals from her since. My vote is NO on putting your alpacas with horses. Even if your horse is known as a VERY gentle horse if something should piss it off for any reason and took it out on the alpaca. Sorry. I really try and make a good response in some way. This one was a very negative. Linda

David & Linda Bradley
The Paca Factory
Durand, Mi.
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8 Posts

Posted - 07/07/2007 :  12:53:12 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yes Linda, I would never put pregnant pacas or Herdsires in with horses, goats or any other animals. I'm so sorry that your experience was so difficult and costly. Alpacas are an investment to be safeguarded and a "horse of a different color". But our experience is that the fiber geldings get along well with horses and goats (small female goats or castrated/dehorned males). Any goat that butts a human when they turn their back should not have a place in any mixed herd. Make sure that each of the animals individual needs are met and there is enough room for all to do their thing in a safe environment. Also, keeping you finger on the pluse of the herd allows you to give needed time outs to any animals who woke up on the wrong side. Make sure that there is no unecessary competition for hay and all have a chance to eat their own full portion of grain and minerals in peace, with no stealing! We have had no injuries or illnesses in our herd. Gatheris -- if you want to have a small fiber herd at your sisters place, you need to spend some time there with her horse to see how she interacts with your sisters children. "Childsafe" can be a very subjective term. No horse can be guaranteed safe. They are a large animal and accidents happen. Also, some children are disrespectful to animals and can annoy the sweetest soul. Give it some time to see how the mare settles in at her new place and keep an eye on the developing relationships between your sisters family and the mare. Don't rush into throwing a bunch of animals together due to impaitence. Spend time caring for the mare -- cleaning, feeding, picking her hoofs, etc. As she builds trust in you, you will be able to build trust in her and get a good feel for how she will react in different situations. Once you feel secure around the mare and she has proven to be gentle with your sisters children, then think about adding other animals. If you cannot afford 2-3 gelding pacas, try a small goat first and save up for the alpacas. I know that this sounds like alot of work, it is. But your future fiber herd deserves no less from you. You reap what you sow -- sow carefully.
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The Paca Factory

592 Posts

Posted - 07/08/2007 :  12:15:54 AM  Show Profile  Visit The Paca Factory's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Cinnamon Ridge Farm. Excellent information on getting the horses settled in first. It does take sometimes several weeks for a horse to orient itself. When I sold my mare it took several months before she was comfortable in her new home. Of coarse she was WAY TOO spoiled before she left here. Good luck in your new situation. Linda

David & Linda Bradley
The Paca Factory
Durand, Mi.
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3 Posts

Posted - 07/09/2007 :  8:47:42 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
i just want to thank you all for your responses
some were predictable but understandable and a few were hopeful

anyway, before any commitment takes place i will definitely be spending time with the horse and see how she gets along with strangers (humans) and other animals - and definitely if it is a go there will be more than one alpaca
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626 Posts

Posted - 07/10/2007 :  5:39:17 PM  Show Profile  Visit pinkertondan's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Okay, just found this, and thought I'd put my 2 cents in...we have our alpacas, horses, goats, llamas, and sheep together, and have never had any problem. The horses stay in a herd, and the sheep and goats stay partly in a herd, and the alpacas, do what they want, and go where they want, and are perfectly fine with all.
The llamas, just watch everything, and are the bosses of the farm.

IT is just the females and crias that are in with all the rest, as the males are down in a different pasture. (THough there are a couple geldings in there with the girls.)
We haven't had any problems yet.
Actually, it all started when some of the alpacas decided the grass was greener on the other side, and went thru the electric fence. (We have field fence around the perimeter, so there is not much danger.
Then, as we had our horses in only part of the filed, and the grass was getting to tall, we opened it up for the alpacas to get into that field, and they got into the pasture with the horses( which as it was only a 'divider' not a fence---2 lines instead of 7---it was quite easy.
The goats were getting thru the fence already into the alpacas, as we are having some difficulties getting that part of the field fence up to separate them, so now, everyone beside the horses has free reign of the upper pastures!!!

SO far it hasn't been dangereous. Just funny.
Hope this helps!

The Pinkerton Tribe
Rockford Bay Ranch
14701 S. Heritage Dr.
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814
Email me! I would love
to hear from you!
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24 Posts

Posted - 07/15/2007 :  4:25:22 PM  Show Profile  Visit sabrina65's Homepage  Send sabrina65 an AOL message  Reply with Quote

Please do not put alpacas in with horses...there is a respiratory virus that horses "carry" - they don't get sick from it, but to alpacas it can be fatal. I learned this when I attended the Camelid Veterinary Symposium at UC Davis last winter. Not a definite, but a possibility, which is enough for me!

Sabrina & Nick Ferris
Mountain Shadow Alpacas
Carson City, NV
"Improving the North American herd, one cria at a time."
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Thunder Creek Alpacas

15 Posts

Posted - 08/14/2007 :  08:36:44 AM  Show Profile  Visit Thunder Creek Alpacas's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I have had horses next to my alpacas, but never in the same field. They've enjoyed chasing each other up and down the fence line after the alpacas got used to them, but horses are more "physically" social. They enjoy grooming and nuzzling and standing head to rear to swat flies off each other.......all the things alpacas do not do. A dog, cat, or goat are your best alternatives to keeping your horse happy. I've even seen a horse bond very tightly with a duck! What ever you decide, make sure you only get one (which isn't good for alpacas)or there's a chance your horse will get ignored.

Audrey McCarter
Thunder Creek Alpacas
Powhatan, Virginia
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425 Posts

Posted - 08/14/2007 :  8:13:10 PM  Show Profile  Visit nancyspacas's Homepage  Reply with Quote

I have a horse that i have owned for 7 years. He has been both alone and with other horses. I have to say that he was much healthier and happy when he was with others. I have him now at home with me at my new house. We have bought a goat as a companion to him. This goat was with 3 other horses, so he was already familiar with them. We have had him for 2 years now and they both love each other!!! They are both geldings and are best friends! Practically inseperable! I also have alpacas, but from my experience with the horse and goat, i would never put them in the same pasture.....
The horse is too big and the goat is too pushy. And since horses spook at the dumbest thing, they tend to run over anything in their path. The alpacas would lose. And they are too valuable to lose that way...

Hope this helps

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23 Posts

Posted - 09/05/2007 :  6:30:55 PM  Show Profile  Visit Bluegrass's Homepage  Reply with Quote
In a word, dead alpaca. I've had horses all my life and am in my sixth year with alpacas. More times than I care to remember I have seen the damage horses can do to one another in play or during disagreements. Those type of injuries would spell instant death for a 150 pound animal. I have seen llamas and horses live peacefully together, but again, you are pitting a 350lb, slow moving (comparably) animal against a 1000+ animal with solid hooves and often steel shoes. Your sister would be best to find another horse, or perhaps a large pony as a companion for the horse. Also, I believe horses are indeed much like alpacas in that they need and deserve companionship, preferably of their own species. Best of luck to you and your niece. Horses are a wonderful thing for kids!

Susan Swope
Alpacas of the Bluegrass, LLC
La Grange, KY
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384 Posts

Posted - 09/06/2007 :  12:16:58 PM  Show Profile  Visit slredmond's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Average horse weight: 1,200 lbs.
Average alpaca weight: 150 lbs.

Average cost of horse? Well, depends.
Average cost of alpaca? Sigh, don't remind me!

Guaranteed outcome of horse versus alpaca? Dead alpaca.
Guaranteed impact on alpaca breeding program? Big dent.

Cost of two separate pens? Priceless.


Kevin, Sandy and Caitlin Redmond
Walnut Point Alpacas
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