Alpacas are, simply put, incredible. Their personalities are captivating and their fleece has many highly desirable qualities, that I will go into detail below.

They are more like our pets and are treated with loving care. We have a few close friends who like to stop by our farm just to BE with our alpacas and feed them carrots, perhaps some pellets. Indeed, they are good company with their curious and friendly personalities; their gentle disposition. Whenever I need to decompress, I will go down into their pasture, give Frankie a nice long scratch behind his ears, then walk out to the giant rock overlooking the lake and watch the alpacas graze, watch them run, watch them lay next to each other without demand or requirement. Somehow, I absorb their presence, their way of being and can feel their peace. In many ways they are my teacher. We trust each other and, like anything else, their trust must be earned; they need to feel safe for their personalities to really shine. Since they are a herd animal, they feel most safe in numbers and when they are with their herd.

Believe it or not, we have found that there is in fact a hierarchy among our alpacas. This will determine who gets to eat first, who greets us at the gate, and who gets first dibs at the drinking fountain. Each one has their role. Our youngest, Charlottle, may not be the first at the eating trough but she rallys the herd in wild rompuses through the pasture. Once they’ve gotten a little steam, they are off and when they really get going, their running turns into a bound, much like a deer. There is nothing more beautiful than watching Dante bound through the pasture, it is a site to behold. Wild and free. This is one of the reasons why Alpacas need a large space…to run! And while they could survive without it, in smaller pastures perhaps, it is part of their wellbeing and we feel this is important.

Most of the time they are foraging, eating a wide variety of grasses. Their pasture is adjascent to the prairie where we have 20+ species of native grasses and wildflowers growing. Seed exchange between pasture and prairie is important to promote diveristy and health in our animals. And also why pasture management (getting rid of invasive and toxic plants) is essential. Not just for their health, but for maintaining a clean fleece. The people who process our fibers kindly and directly hinted that thistle reminants in their fleece is not a good idea, for obvious reasons.

Speaking of fleece, we shear our 6 alpacas once a year, usually in May. The finest quality of fiber comes from the “primary blanket” which is the fleece covering their middle body. This fleece is very fine, light, silky, and soft. It’s the wearable fleece, the kind that we can wear close to our bodies. The other fleece, we call “seconds” come from their neck, legs, and bellies. This is what we use to make rug & rope yarn and a few other things. Not ideal for wearing on our skin, but still very dense and very strong. Since alpacas don’t produce a oil called lanolin, like sheep, their fleece is hypoallergenic.

If you would like to read some more fun facts about alpacas, please visit Alpaca Facts. Thank you for reading this.



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Web Site by Dennis Benson