Rick and Terry Simpson
HC 79 Box 52-E
Romney, WV 26757
(304) 822-3494

These are the basic books that cover the various aspects of the care and management of alpacas. The descriptions that follow each were written by Jim Cross of the Alpaca Consulting Services .

The Alpaca Book

by Eric Hoffman & Murray Fowler, D.V.M.

This is the first book most prospective breeders purchase. It is broken into four sections. The first covers alpaca history, their behavior and communication, fiber, conformation and form, function and gait. The second section is a primer on alpaca care including nutrition, handling and basic animal husbandry. The third section discusses reproductive physiology and function while the fourth section covers basic medical management. It specifically deals with how to work with a veterinarian, evaluating condition, basic first aid, preventative medicine, neonatology, infectious diseases, parasites and poisoning. Due to its limited publishing it is expensive - usually about $75. It is a good primer but is not detailed enough alone to provide all the information needed to care for alpacas on a daily basis.

Alpacas: A Common Sense Approach

by Julie Musgrove.

Loose leaf bound, self published (available from Quality Llama Products), filled with typos, misspelling and grammatical errors, pages printed out of order, the title speaks for itself. Although one person's view (Ms. Musgrove was the herd manager of the second largest alpaca farm in the U.S.), it nevertheless contains a lot of simple, practical advice on daily practices. Chapters cover the animals' environment, barns, fencing and equipment, pasture and feed, daily care, breeding and birthing, cria care, medical and routine veterinary care, advertising and sales, sample contracts and the future of the industry. Opinionated and quirky, it is reasonably priced and worth reading.

The Camelid Companion

by Marty McGee Bennett

This book helps you learn to "read" your animals and understand their safety concerns while you're handling them. It explains why alpacas are sometimes difficult to get along with and how to correct the problems. Using Marty's techniques, it should take you no more than 15 minutes to teach a fractious alpaca or llama to stand still and/or to move. In addition to handling techniques, Marty discusses herd management and maintenance, animal husbandry, and problem solving. The appendices contain information to help you select and show your alpaca and plans for cria creeps, catch pens, and training pens. This book is a classic and a "must read" for current and would-be breeders.

Caring for Llamas and Alpacas

by Clare Hoffman D.V.M. and Ingrid Asmus

This book begins where The Alpaca Book leaves off - it does provide the basic information for the daily care and management of alpacas. It details how to evaluate them for purchase, transport, restraint, nutrition, health evaluation, first aid, digestion and reproduction. It details basic techniques like stomach tubing, injections, taking a temperature etc. The appendix gives a list of basic supplies for adult and newborns (our own list is an expanded version), a list of toxic plants (a more detailed pamphlet is available from the Greater Appalachian Llama & Alpaca Association) as well as charts of normal values. This book is highly recommended for the new breeder.

Llama and Alpaca Husbandry and Medical Care

by Suzi and Robert J. Pollard, D.V.M.

Robert Pollard is well known in alpaca circles at the national level for his homeopathic approach to lama husbandry. Breeders themselves, they offer an alternative approach to daily, veterinary and medical issues. If you are a member of the Alpacasite email forum on Yahoo, you'll see a lot of homeopathic advice most of which started with Robert.

Llama and Alpaca Neonatal Care

by Brad Smith D.V.M, Karen Timm D.V.M. and Patrick Long D.V.M.

If you purchase bred females, buy this book early and read it several times before the first birth - this is the handbook for pre and post birth care for the dam and cria. It begins with a thorough description of female anatomy and the physiology of pregnancy. It moves on to proper care prior to birth (nutrition, vaccinations etc.). The birth process is described in detail including dystocias or difficult deliveries. The final chapter gives detailed instructions on how to evaluate a newborn and dam using flow charts designed to be used in the barn to determine if the newborn is at risk or not. Specific treatments, procedures and recommendations are given in clear language- critical given the stress you're under particularly with an at-risk cria. The appendix gives a list of supplies for a birthing kit. The book is written using terms a non-livestock experienced person can understand and is highly recommended.

Medicine and Surgery of South American Camelids

by Murray Fowler D.V.M.

Dr. Fowler is one of the acknowledged camelid vets in the world today. This is the second edition of the volume and is the reference for most camelid veterinarians. It is not for everyone - it is a veterinary textbook and is written in medical jargon. If you have a medical background or are willing to read it with a medical dictionary at your side, it is well worth the $100 investment. Basically, it covers pretty much everything known to date medically about camelids.

As all of these books are in limited publication, they are generally not available in bookstores. Some may be purchase from while others can only be obtained through specialized llama/alpaca suppliers such as the following:

Stevens Llamatique

Useful Llama Items 800-635-5262
Quality Llama Products 800-638-4689
Llamas' Store 800-401-5262

If you have difficulty obtaining any of these books, feel free to contact Jim Cross for additional resources. Happy reading!

All of these reviews, save the Camelid Companion review, were written by Jim Cross of Alpaca Consulting Services. For further information about Alpaca Consulting Services,


Jim Cross at
Send mail: Alpaca Consulting Services
P.O. Box 1442
NH 03244
Telephone: (603)464-4127

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