I Love Alpacas. So Does Mother Nature…Why?

alpacas

What Are Alpacas?

Alpacas are one of mother natures favorite creatures. These beautiful animals can live up to 20 years, and are a fiber-producing member of the Camelid family (Vicuna, Guanaco, Llama and Alpaca). 

They are raised exclusively for their luxurious cashmere-like fleece, which comes in about 22 natural colours. This is more colours compared to any other fiber-producing animal. 

Alpacas are sheered once every 12 – 18 months and produce about 5-10 pounds of fleece per alpaca. The alpaca fiber feels as soft as cashmere, but it is warmer, lighter, more resilient, stronger, and a better insulator than wool. It is also hypo-allergenic, and lanolin-free.

Alpaca fiber are very popular for making all sorts of garments such as jumpers, jackets, scarfs, and mittens. They are great for making rugs too. 

Alpaca VS Llama

mixed alpacas

There are people who have trouble distinguishing between Alpacas and Llamas. Although these animals are members of the same family, they look quite different.

This is how you can tell them apart. Alpacas have straight ears, while llamas have banana shaped ones. Llamas are twice the size of Alpacas. Llamas have two layers of wool, while alpacas have one.

Alpacas have shorter faces and fibre on their face and their legs, while llamas have longer noses and do not have fibre on their legs. (source)

Alpaca Fleece Show In Melbourne Showgrounds (11th – 12th July 2015)

My recent attendance at the Alpaca Fleece Show in Melbourne was an eye opener when I saw so many different coloured Alpacas inside a shelter.

The weather was really bad when I arrived to the Alpaca show, but it was good to see the alpacas. I’ve taken a video and some nice pictures of alpacas that owners had brought to this event.

As mentioned above, alpacas have a variety of colours for their fleece. In the below picture, you can see a dark brown, light brown, and cream coloured alpacas.

 brown and white alpacas

Black coloured alpacas. Where are their EYES??? Can not see them! :)

black alpacas

These two below have a nice funky hairstyle.

brown and black alpaca fluffy hair alpaca

One of the alpacas have a big black mark on it’s neck…a beauty spot perhaps?? :)

spotted alpaca

Why Are Alpacas So Earth Friendly?

These animals are mother nature’s favorite farm animals because they have physical attributes that help them avoid harming the environment. They are very easy to care for, they are clean, safe and are resistant to disease. The attributes that make these wonderful creatures so eco-friendly are as follows:

  • Alpacas have soft padded feet with two toes. They do not have hooves. It’s as soft as a dog’s feet. This allows them to be gentle on the land. No damage at all!
  • Alpacas have a three compartment stomach that converts grass and hay to energy very efficiently. This means that they can eat less than other farm animals. 
  • Alpaca’s poo is a rich fertilizer that can be used by gardeners to grow fruits and vegetables.
  • Alpaca’s provide a yearly supply of fleece that is sufficient to create several warm sweaters for the owner’s comfort.
  • Alpaca’s eat mainly grass or hay. They do not eat much of it, probably around 2 pounds per 125 pounds of body weight per day.
  • Alpacas do not damage fences and gates. These animals are very easy to manage.

Conclusion

baby alpacaAlpacas are gorgeous creatures that are easy and safe to manage. Best of all, they are so earth-friendly and gentle to our environment.

Their diet mainly consisting of grass means that no trees are destroyed. Their fleece with their broad range of natural colours and special physical properties make them very attractive for making a variety of clothing. 

Alpaca fibre would be really handy during the cold seasons where we need some extra warmth. 

It would be so good to wear a sweater made of alpaca fibre during winter to keep warm, rather than switch on a heater that uses more energy. This would be the more eco-friendly approach.

For other ways of being more eco-friendly, how about wear clothing that is made of bamboo fabric? Read more about bamboo fabric here. CLICK HERE!

Hope you have enjoyed this post. Please leave comments below if you would like to share your thoughts about this article.

 

15 comments

  1. Francina says:

    Hi Teresa. To tell you the truth I did not know of the animal called Alpacas until I stumbled upon your website. I must say I have learnt a lot about it. Your articles provided all the answers I could have had about it. I now love me some Alpacas. I like your website and the fact that you enlighten us about using natural and organic products. Keep it up

    • Teresa says:

      Thanks for your comment Francina. Now you know what Alpacas are and what they look like. It’s a great feeling to learn something new :) When you come across one of these animals some day, then you will be able to say that it’s an Alpaca!

  2. Jesse says:

    Wow didn’t know that there was a difference between Llamas and Alpacas. Just a couple of weeks ago I was in an animal exhibition inside a large shopping mall and there were a lot of Llamas. But now that I think of it it might be that they were these guys lol. Thanks a lot for this helpful article, now I can spot the difference! :-)

    • Teresa says:

      It seems quite common that people get confused whether they have spotted an Alpaca or a Llama. This is the reason why I included a short paragraph about the difference between these two animals. I’m glad that I have helped people spot the difference.

  3. Lorren says:

    Alpacas are so cute, they look like they are smiling all the time. There is a farmer around here who as 15 of them. I often stop to watch them. They can share the same pasture with cows and no problem; they all seem very happy. My son has a cashmere jacket.The cashmere is black, about half of an inches thick, very warm and not too heavy. He wears it all winter. I think alpacas are much like sheep; they must love the sound of a flute.Raised in the mountains wouldn’t they need a Sheppard?

    • Teresa says:

      Alpacas are very cute. I love looking at them! It’s amazing how their fleece comes in 22 natural colors. Can make your own clothing with a wide variety of colors.
      Alpacas are actually very different to sheep. In fact, they have been used to protect sheep. The adult male alpacas are particularly used as sheep flock guardians.

  4. Sarah says:

    A family in my neighborhood had these when I was a kid. I used to think that they were llamas, but now I understand the difference. Isn’t their wool really expensive to get though because it’s rare? We see wool clothing and products in the market all the time, but not alpaca as often.

    • Teresa says:

      I believe that alpaca wool is probably more expensive. I went to a festival one time where there was a stall selling alpaca clothing. The jackets cost a few hundred dollars. They looked really warm though :)

  5. Hannah says:

    Hey Teresa.

    I honestly never knew there was so much to an Alpaca! To be totally honest with you I thought Alpaca was another name for llama.

    What fascinating creatures! They are so funny looking as well, with their hairstyles and making strange faces!

    This is a really interesting article and to most people who read this it will probably be something they didn’t know. For me it certainly is!

    Thanks for the informational read!
    Hannah

    • Teresa says:

      Hi Hannah,

      It is so common for people to think that Alpacas are IIlamas. So I am not surprised of this confusion :)

      I actually saw two alpacas today at a local event, and felt like giving them a pat on the head. They are such beautiful creatures to look at.

      Teresa

  6. Storm Sheldon says:

    Alpacas rock! I didn’t know they didn’t have hooves. I never really thought how an animal can really be so beneficial to preserving the earth. It’s good to know that they don’t eat much and are easy to care for. Seems like everyone should get one. Shoot, I might just get one one day!

  7. Cathy says:

    Hi there Teresa,

    Having just got back from freezing cold Shanghai, I can totally relate to using good quality fiber to keep oneself warm during the winter. I invested on a padded jacket that is made from alpaca fleece and was able to travel outdoor without having to freeze.

    But your article really opened my eyes to this beautiful creature and the durability of their wool. Where do they originate from? Which country is the mass producer of these fleeces?

    Thank you for the information.

  8. Vesi says:

    They are so cute!!! I would love to move to a farm and have a few of these lovely creatures. It seems better than having sheep given how economical they are, and the exquisite quality of their fleece :). Thank you so much for this article!!! Do you think alpacas are hard to acquire, and are they tolerant to colder climates? :)))))
    Thank you!!!!

  9. tatihden says:

    When I read Alpaca and looked at the picture, the first thing that came to my mine was “alpaca must be another name for llama”. They are gorgeous animals and their fur looks so soft and fluffy. Its amazing how many colors they have. I particularly love the black ones. I hope these beautiful creatures are taken good care of in the whole process of making cashmere.

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