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Alpaca farming in northwest United States

Lifestyle

Alpaca Lifestyle

Many new alpaca breeders are discovering that there are unique joys in raising alpacas and that alpacas represent an investment in a lifestyle. That lifestyle, which includes outdoor time in a country setting makes a welcome change of pace for some, or a return to the country for others.

Alpacas were a cherished treasure of the ancient Incan civilization and played a central role

in the Incan culture that was located on the high Andean Plateau and mountains of South

America. Alpacas were first imported to the United States in 1984. Alpacas are now being

successfully raised and enjoyed throughout North America and abroad. There are two types

of alpacas - the Huacaya and the Suri. The lifespan of the alpaca is about 20 years and gestation is 11.5

months. Alpacas eat grasses and chew a cud. Adult alpacas are about 36" tall at the withers and generally

weigh between 100 and 200 pounds. They are gentle and easy to handle. Alpacas don't have incisors,

horns, hooves or claws. Clean-up is easy since alpacas deposit droppings in only a few places in the

paddock. They require minimal fencing and can be pastured at 5 to 10 per acre.

 Alpacas produce one of the world's finest and most luxurious natural fibers. It is clipped from the animal without causing it injury. Soft as cashmere and warmer, lighter and stronger than wool, it comes in more colors than any other fiber producing animal (approximately 22 basic colors with many variations and blends).This cashmere-like fleece, once reserved for Incan royalty, is now enjoyed by spinners and weavers around the world.