is an Alpaca?
An alpaca is a member of the camelid family. They are descendants
of camels and they closely resemble their cousins the llamas. Alpacas
are very gentle animals and they produce soft, warm, and luxurious
Where do Alpacas come from?
Alpacas are native to the high Andes Mountains in South America.
They can be found in Peru, Chile, and Bolivia.
What do you do with an Alpaca?
Alpacas are considered fiber-producing animals. They are bred so
that they will produce the best fiber possible. Alpacas are common
in 4-H Programs. Alpacas can be taken to shows and compete to win
awards. They also can be trained to do obstacle courses. Alpacas
even make great pets.
Do you have to kill the Alpaca to get the fiber?
Absolutely not! The fiber is sheared from the alpaca every spring.
Alpacas are shorn very similar to how a sheep is shorn. Alpacas
don't have to be hurt in order to get the fiber.
How often do you shear an Alpaca?
Alpacas are usually shorn once a year in the spring. The fiber grows
back by the winter to keep them warm until the following spring.
Alpacas are much happier once they've been shorn in the spring,
as they are much cooler to get through the hot summer months.
Does Alpaca fiber make you itch?
Alpaca fiber doesn't contain lanolin. Lanolin is contained in sheep's
wool, which has tiny microscopic scales along the length of each
strand of wool. Lanolin also holds dust and microscopic allergens
that can create an allergy to wool. When that touches the skin,
it causes a "prickle" sensation, which gives that itchy
feeling. Alpaca is hypoallergenic and many people that can't wear
wool can wear Alpaca.
What does Alpaca fiber feel like?
Alpaca fiber is one of the softest fibers you will ever feel. The
closest comparison is cashmere. It is lightweight, breathable, and
warmer than wool.
When did Alpacas first come to the USA?
Alpacas were first imported into the United States in 1984.
What is the difference between Llamas and Alpacas?
Llamas were raised as beasts of burden for centuries in South America.
Alpacas have been bred for thousands of years for their fine and
Are Alpacas considered wild alpacas?
No. Alpacas have been domesticated for over five thousand years.
Without the assistance of man, alpacas would not survive in the
wilds. Alpacas lack necessary defenses that would protect them from
predators. Their only defenses are spitting and kicking.
What is the difference between the two breeds, Suri and Huacaya?
Huacaya alpacas have soft and crimpy fiber resembling a teddy bear.
Suri alpacas have long pencil like locks that resemble dreadlocks
and are silky and lustrous. The two breeds are pretty much the same
once you get past the fiber.