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About Alpacas

Alpacas are gentle, curious, intelligent livestock that are raised for their fiber.

Alpaca Fleece - Soft, Luxurious, Amazing

Alpaca fleece is amazingly soft and luxurious while still being very warm and strong. It is comparable in feel to angora and cashmere. Alpaca fleece is desired by fiber artists for spinning, knitting, crocheting, weaving and felting and in the fashion industry for top-of-the line garments. It is suitable for everything from socks to scarves, sweaters, coats, dresses, jackets, hats and even for insulation! See our selection of 100% alpaca yarn, made in the USA from homegrown alpaca fleece.

Physical Characteristics

Alpacas are related to llamas (as members of the same camelid family along with camels and vicunas), but they are much smaller than llamas. Full grown alpacas' heads reach from 5 to 6 feet high and they weigh between 140 and 200 pounds. You can easily distinguish between llamas and alpacas by the shape of their ears. Llamas have curved banana shaped ears and alpacas have pointed, spear-shaped ears.

Alpacas have specifically been bred throughout the centuries in the Andean mountains of Peru, Chile and Bolivia to create fiber that is uniform and soft throughout. Often, fleece can be made directly into yarn straight from the alpaca without the need for removing guard hairs, and this yarn will be fine enough to wear next to the skin.

Alpacas have two toes on each foot with toenails on each toe that need occasional trimming. They are very gentle on the environment: with their small size, they don't eat a lot especially compared to horses and cows that can weigh up to 10 times as much! Their padded feet don't kill the pasture grasses and they don't pull the grass roots up, but just nibble the grass blades down near to the ground.

Reproduction and Compounding Investments

Breeding age females optimally have one offspring per year. The gestation period is a little over 11 months. This slow rate of reproduction keeps supplies low and demand high. As a result of this along with national registry's restriction against new imports, selling offspring has been a profitable business for over two decades.

Caring for Alpacas

Alpacas need shade from the sun in the summer, and basic, simple shelter in order to keep dry in cold, wet weather. Good fencing, such as 2" x 4" woven "No Climb" fencing, is essential to keep predators out.

They need clean, fresh water. They eat hay or pasture grasses, a pellet vitamin/mineral supplement available in most feed stores, and a loose mineral/salt mixture. In addition, they require shearing once a year, occasional toenail trimming and periodic vaccinations and de-worming appropriate to the area you live in that you should work out with your veterinarian.

Raising alpacas offers a peaceful and rewarding farm lifestyle caring for adorable, intelligent animals away from the frantic, crowded city environment. You are invited to come for a visit to our farm to see what we mean and pick out your first alpacas!

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Fair Winds Alpacas, Bonnie Potter & August Anema, 8600 Hastings Lane, Auburn, CA 95602-7907
530-823-2820 .

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