|9/18/2012 1:25:00 PM|
National Alpaca Farm Days
By Tara Lindquist
Northern Sky Alpacas will join alpaca breeders from across the United States and Canada in hosting National Alpaca Farm Days on September 29 and 30. Farm tours will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Northern Sky Alpacas will welcome guests to their farm for many activities including tours of the farm seeing almost 20 Suri alpacas in a variety of colors - including the babies that were born this year; alpaca demonstrations and the Alpaca Shoppe which has lots of fun gifts to purchase. Guests will also be able to feed the chickens, play with the kittens and meet their newest members of the family.
Along with the farm tours, Northern Sky Alpacas is searching for local crafters or groups that wish to set up a booth during the farm tour.
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 160,000 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 (SUR-ee) 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 between150 and 200 pounds. They do not have horns, hooves, claws or incisors. Alpacas are alert, intelligent, curious, and predictable. They are social animals that seek companionship, they communicate most commonly by softly humming.
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, yet 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.
Northern Sky Alpacas welcomes local crafters or groups to set up booths during the farm tours. Anyone interested in doing so can contact Laurie or Tom at 612-298-2938 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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