Newbie Alpaca farmer question
I am completely new to farming of any sort so please bare with me if I seem a bit clueless.
I am in the process of purchasing a 37Ha property at Acacia Creek in Northern NSW. It has 5 separately fenced paddocks and currently has about 20 head of cattle adjisted on the property. My wife and I are planning on using the propery as a weekender and AirBnB and I'm looking at what relatively low maintenance farming options are out there.
I've been interested in Alpacas ever since a South America trip a few years ago where it was on the menu at almost every restaurant as well as the wool being on display on most of the locals. I have found plenty of information about their lower environmental impacts, their herding an guarding behaviors etc. I'd love to be able to start a small herd with the view to breeding more down the track.
What I would like to know is how self sufficient are alpacas? If they have shelter, access to water troughs and a dam and a paddock full of grass will they be okay on their own for up to a week at a time? Do they need to be fed hay or other food everyday or are they happy to graze until I come out with their treats?
I will have gardeners coming out once a fortnight to tend to the gardens around the house, so between them and myself it should be maximum 7 days between someone being on site to tend to the animals. Is this going to be possible? am I dreaming? (probably, but you've got to dream) What potential issues should I be thinking about?
Sorry for the long first post. Any advice would be fantastic