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Want to Learn More About Alpacas?

HopeinsnowAlpacas are Camelids and are related to camels, llamas, vicunas, and guacaos. They are native to South America along the Andes Mountains. Bolivia, Peru and Chile are leading the alpaca industry. They resemble llamas, but are smaller and are not beasts of burden, but are raised for their luxurious fiber.

According to the Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association:Alpacas produce one of the world’s finest and most luxurious natural fibers. It is clipped from the animal without causing it injury. Soft as cashmere and warmer, lighter and stronger than wool, it comes in more colors than any other fiber producing animal (approximately 22 basic colors with many variations and blends). This cashmere-like fleece, once reserved for Incan royalty, is now enjoyed by spinners and weavers around the world.

olivia'sfleeceAlpacas are good for the environment, too. Alpacas have toes with pads rather than hooves, so they are gentle on the ground. An adult alpaca can weigh between 100 and 200 pounds, which puts less stress on the environment. They are ruminants like cattle and sheep. Alpacas are unlike either one because they do not rip the grass out of the ground, but gently chew off the top and leave the rest to grow. They are efficient in digesting their food. One bale of hay can feed 50 alpacas a day! Five to 10 alpacas can be pastured on an acre of land. They don’t need the best hay either because too much protein can make the fiber coarse. Orchard grass is preferred. Other than hay or pasture alpacas need water and about a cup of alpaca grain.