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
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.
Black coloured alpacas. Where are their EYES??? Can not see them!
These two below have a nice funky hairstyle.
One of the alpacas have a big black mark on it’s neck…a beauty spot perhaps??
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.
Alpacas 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.