Leda Blumberg & Steve Cole
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About Alpacas

When you first meet an alpaca, you are likely to be drawn in by those lovely big eyes and their engaging, curious personalities.  Touch their fleece and you will immediately know why it is so valuable.  It is luxuriously soft and comes in more natural colors than any other fiber-producing animal. In fact, 22 natural colors are found in the alpaca world. Alpaca fleece is incredibly warm, yet lightweight.

Interesting alpaca facts   

Alpacas are closely related to camels and llamas.

Alpaca fleece comes in 22 natural colors.

Alpacas are pregnant for an average of 11 ½ months.

Alpacas have leathery footpads with two hard nails on each foot.

Alpacas are shy, but very curious.

Alpacas are shorn once a year and their fiber is made into soft, warm garments.

Alpaca fleece is warmer, softer and lighter in weight than sheep wool. The fashion industry considers alpaca fleece a luxury fiber.

Alpacas are modified ruminants, having three-part stomachs.

Alpacas use a communal dung pile and, thus, are very clean animals to take care of.

Alpacas don’t have top teeth in front. They don’t bite people and kicking is rare.

Originally from the Andean Mountains of Peru, Chile and Bolivia, alpacas played an important role in Incan culture. Domesticated more than 5,000 years ago, they have long been prized for their fleece, which at one time was reserved for Incan royalty and was called “the fiber of the Gods.”  Incans relied on alpacas and their close relatives, llamas, for food, fuel (from their dung) and fiber.

Treasured by the Incas, alpacas are now prized by the modern world for their beautiful fleece, and are raised by people from diverse backgrounds. Alpaca farming has become an important agricultural industry around the world, growing steadily with more than 140,000 alpacas now in North America.

There are two breeds of alpaca — huacaya (wa-Ki’-ah) the more common of the two has a fluffy, fine fleece. Suri, the rarer breed, has silky fiber that falls in lustrous long locks. Over 90% of the alpacas in North America are huacayas.

Combining the whimsical look of a Dr. Seuss character with elegant beauty and gracefulness, alpacas are truly enchanting creatures.

Links

The Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association (AOBA)
Alpaca Registry (ARI)
New England Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association (NEAOBA)
Empire Alpaca Association (EAA)
Nunoa Project  
Hudson Valley HorseSource