All in the family
Alpacas are part of the camelid family, joining their cousins the camel, llama, vicunua, and guanacos. They originate from the South American countries of Peru, Chile, and Bolivia. Interestingly enough, many thousands of years ago alpacas were considered royalty among the Inca Indians because of their very fine and luxurious fleece. (Our alpacas definitely act like royalty on the farm.)
Alpacas in America
Alpacas were first imported in the 1980s, and their popularity in North American farming and animal husbandry practice has grown tremendously since then. Today, many farms in the United States have focused the management of their herd on specific genetics, bloodlines, and the alpacas’ performance in the show ring.
In the more recent years, the popularity of the alpaca has shifted to a focus on the fiber side of the industry (because who doesn’t love alpaca fiber?), and there is widespread recognition of the beneficial attributes of alpaca fiber.
Natural alpaca fiber is extremely warm, incredibly soft, and does not itch (thank you lack of lanolin). Alpaca fiber is also lightweight, moisture wicking, and flame retardant. It is a fitting fiber for knitwear and blankets.
Thanks to the shape, padding, and size of their feet, alpacas tread lightly on the ground and are very effective at leaving the ground intact while grazing (unlike goats). Alpacas eat grass and hay and their manure makes for very good fertilizer.
Do alpacas get cold in winter?
Alpacas are accustomed to cold climates (and look really cute in the snow). Thanks to the moisture-wicking properties of their warm fleece, they stay cozy warm during cold months. We provide all-season shelters and an open barn to protect our herd from harsh weather.
Are alpacas friendly animals?
Alpacas are social animals and need to be with other alpacas or similar livestock. Their gentle demeanor means that they can be trained to socialize with children and the general public and to walk with a guiding halter. Alpacas have a very calming and relaxing aura about them, which makes them a joy to be around! (It also makes it very easy to hug, cuddle and nuzzle our herd each day.)