Friday, August 8, 2014

Raising Alpacas at Que Sera Alpaca

Raising Alpacas at Que Sera Alpaca

Raising Alpacas at Que Sera Alpaca

Not long ago, driving past a field of alpacas in the United States would have been a jaw-dropper. But it is becoming more and more common to see these exotic creatures in the fields of small farmers all over the United States. So what is it about alpacas that is making them a popular livestock choice?

Originally bred in South America, alpacas are raised for their fiber, which is warmer than wool by weight, softer and more comfortable than cashmere and is surprisingly strong for a luxury fiber! An adult alpaca can produce 8 to 10 pounds every year. Unlike sheep's wool, however, processing alpaca fiber is quite expensive . This is one of the reasons we also breed alpacas, and also because we are passionate about breeding the very finest animals.

There are two types of alpaca, the most common being the Huacaya. These alpacas look very fluffy because their fiber is crimped. I tend to think of them as chia pets! The other type, the Suri, has smoother, twisted locks – like ringlets – that is lustrous and very silky.

One of the most appealing things about alpacas is their demeanor. They can be shy but, are not aggressive toward humans (though the males will sometimes fight one another for dominance). Another part of their appeal is how quiet they are. Soft food pads enable them to walk very quietly in pastures, which makes them not only peaceful creatures but also very easy on the environment. They don’t tear up the pastures the way sheep and goats do.

Their normal speech consists of an easy humming sound but they can screech a bit if they are mad. And they have a very effective “alarm” cry which is loud and unmistakable. When I hear that I go see what’s got them riled up. Some people claim they actually have "calming power" over humans and I find them very therapeutic!