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Wed, Sep 22nd, 2010
Posted in Agriculture
Posted in Agriculture
Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association (AOBA) invites you to visit their member farms and ranches on National Alpaca Farm Days on September 25th and 26th. This is a unique opportunity for the public to explore the many aspects of the alpaca livestock industry in the United States and Canada.
>From meeting these beautiful, inquisitive animals in person to experiencing luxurious alpaca products at individual farm stores, there will truly be something for everyone.
While most alpaca farms welcome visitors throughout the year, National Alpaca Farm Days are sure to include special activities and educational opportunities.
For a complete list of participating farms and ranches, visit www.NationalAlpacaFarmDays.com.
Alpacas, cousins to the llama, are beautiful, intelligent animals native to the Andean Mountain range of South America, particularly Peru, Bolivia, and Chile. The United States first commercially imported alpacas in 1984. There are now over 150,000 ARI (Alpaca Registry, Inc.) registered alpacas in North America.
There are two types of alpacas in the United States today. Although almost physically identical, what distinguishes the two types of alpacas is their fiber. The Huacaya (wa-Ki'-ah) is the more common of the two and has a fluffy, extremely fine coat. The Suri is the rarer of the two and has fiber that is silky and resembles pencil-locks.
Adult alpacas stand at approximately 36 inches at the withers and generally weigh between 150 and 200 pounds. They do not have horns, hooves, claws or incisors. Alpacas are alert, intelligent, curious, and predictable. Social animals that seek companionship, they communicate most commonly by softly humming.
About Alpaca Fiber
Alpacas are shorn, without harm, every twelve to eighteen months. They produced five to ten pounds of luxurious fiber. Long ago, alpaca fiber was reserved for royalty. Today it is purchased in its raw fleece form by hand-spinners and fiber artists. Knitters buy it as yarn.
Because of its soft texture, alpaca fiber is sometimes compared to cashmere. Making the fiber even more coveted, it has the luster of silk. Alpaca is just as warm as, yet 1/3 the weight of wool. It comes in 22 natural colors, and can be dyed any desired shade.
Containing no lanolin, alpaca fiber is also naturally hypoallergenic. Most people who are sensitive to wool find that they can wear alpaca without the itching or irritation they feel from wool because alpaca fiber is smooth. Additional performance characteristics include: stretch, water repellency, and odor reduction. For travelers, clothing made from alpaca is desirable because it is wrinkle-resistant.
Headquartered in Nashville, TN, the Alpaca Owners & Breeders Association (AOBA) serves to facilitate the expansion of a strong and sustainable alpaca industry through the growth and development of the national herd and its products. Since AOBA's formation in 1988, its membership has grown steadily to more than 4,000 members with over 150,000 registered alpacas in North America.
To learn more about the alpaca industry, visit www.AlpacaInfo.com. To find out more about National Alpaca Farm Days visit www.NationalAlpacaFarmDays.com.