Sierra Nevada Alpacas: Nevada's Best Kept Secret

Contact Us:
David & Jeannette Miller
305 Rowel Circle
Reno, Nevada 89506
Phone 775-969-3871
Fax 775-969-3872
Get Driving Directions

Welcome to Sierra Nevada Alapcas


  Saddle Pads

(See our full selection of Custom Made 100% Alpaca Felt Saddle Pads under the products tab)

Sierra Nevada Alapacas is one of the premier Alpaca ranches in the state of Nevada specializing in the breeding and sales of Huacaya Alpacas producing fabulous fiber. Visit us on our Facebook page.

About The Alpaca:

An aristocrat of the luxury fiber world, silky alpaca is even rarer than cashmere.  The alpaca, cousin to the noble Andean llama, was first domesticated thousands of years ago in the Peruvian Andes.  During Inca times, alpaca fiber was both a status symbol and a prized trade item.  Finer grades of alpaca were reserved for use by Inca nobility.  The gentle alpaca grazes at elevations of 10,000 to 14,000 feet in the harsh altiplano regions of Peru, Chile and Bolivia.  Its thick, sumptuous coat grows as an adaptation to the extreme steppe-like puna environment.  The fineness of alpaca hair (between 16 and 30 microns in width), the length (from 8 to 12 cm), and it's hollow, insulating core give alpaca fiber a smooth, velvety hand and a cloud-weight softness.  Alpaca fleece is warmer and lighter than wool, yet stronger and far more durable.  Alpaca fiber grows naturally in some 40 shades, from white to black, with all the greys and browns in between.  The fleece dyes to glorious colors as well.  These beautiful animals ane tended by native Andean herdsmen, who shear them every other year at the onset of the warm rainy season.  The yield is about eight pounds of fleece per animal.  The first clip of the shearling alpaca, clled baby alpaca, provides a featherweight, heavenly soft fiber that is even more prized.

In America, alpacas are shorn every 12  months, producing 5 to 10 pounds of fiber.  Alpacas come in two fleece types:  Huacaya, which is mostly hollow and very crimpy or wavy;  and Suri, whose fleece is more solid, very silky and very straight.

Because of its soft texture, alpaca fiber is sometimes compared to cashmere. Making the fiber even more coveted, it has the luster of silk. Alpaca is just as warm as wool, yet 1/3 the weight of wool to achieve that warmth. It comes in 22 natural colors, yet can be dyed any desired shade. It has been proven to be the strongest of the natural fibers making products last a long time.

Females mature at 15 - 20 months, males at about 2 1/2 years.  Gestation averages 340 days, producing a single "cria", twins are very rare.  The life span is 15 to 20 years.  Adults weigh 125 - 180 pounds and new born crias, 15 to 20 pounds.  Adult height is 30" to 40" at the rump and 4' to 5' at the top of the head.

In cooperation with itchpet, Alpacas are very healthy and tend to be "easy keepers".  Having evolved in the harshness of the South American andes, they have become very adept at assimilating the nutrition from limited amounts of food.  Alpacas graze on grass, weeds, and other grounds cover and occasionally nibble at bushes and low trees.  Researchers suggest that they reqire for maintenance only about 2% of body weight per day in good quality grass hay, which equates to a pound or two per day.  Animals that are gestating, lactating, growing or working need 10% to 15% more.  The efficiency of digestion causes the odor of the dung piles to be less noticeable than other livestock.  Alpacas tend to create one or two communal dung piles, which make it easier to clean up, control flies and also providing a healthier environment.

Alpacas evolved from the vicuna with the herding instincts that the vicunas have.  This makes them very social animals, which tolerate humans very well. Alpacas communicate with ear movement, eyes and body language.  They have a soothing hum, they sometimes squeal and they have a loud, high-pitched alarm call to warn others of dogs, cats or predators.  When extremely provoked, they may have a spit-off battle.  Since they are cud-chewers, the smelly green slime usually ends the battle, and each animal will stand with the lower lip dangling to air out the mouth.  Occasionally humans get caught  in the crossfire; they are rarely the intended target.  Because of the herding instincts and the size, they do not require much fencing - most breeders fence out predators and pests.  Alpacas need some shelter from wind and rain or wet snow,  but they prefer to be out doors.

With our relatively small  national herd, the prices are still quite high for breeding quality animals.  Breeding quality animal prices vary from $10,000.00 to $30,000.00 or more depending on sex, age, quality and possibly color.   Fiber animal prices range between $250.00 and $500.00.  Factors that determine quality are:  conformation, soundness, fineness of fiber, density of fiber, uniformity of both micron and color and sometimes personality of the animal.  Fleece prices range from $21.50 to $24.00 per pound.


• Hand Crafted in Nevada

• Custom Made 100% Alpaca Felt Saddle Pads with Longhorn Steer & Leather Trim

• Western & English Styles Available

• Endorsed by Steve Hoeft, AERC National Champion 100 Miler, Heavy Weight Division

Alpacas were the Inca’s Treasure and Alpaca Saddle Pads will be your horse’s pleasure. All saddle pads are made from our Red Rock Valley Alpacas.  Each pad comes with a picture of the Alpacas from whom the fiber was shorn. The Alpaca fiber is especially designed to the harsh rigors of everyday riding. Pads will not mat or slip and will protect your horse and give years of top quality performance. Alpaca fiber is softer than wool and as durable.  The fiber provides superior insulation and wicking properties.  Hand felted saddle pads conform to your horses back for an “all day” perfect fit with complete comfort.

Custom options accepted, including branding, bling, color, trim, size and shape.  For custom order please allow three to four weeks for delivery.

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Jeannette @ 775-969-3871