Alpacas produce one of the world’s finest and most luxurious natural fibers that are as soft as cashmere and even warmer, lighter and stronger than wool. The Alpaca fibers come in about twenty-two basic colors with numerous variations and blends. This is more variety then any other fiber producing animal! For those of you concerned with the Alpacas safety, you should know that the fibers are clipped from the animal without causing it any harm or injury.
There are two types of alpacas to consider - the Huacaya and the Suri. The lifespan of the alpaca is approximately 20 years and development is about eleven months. Alpacas eat grasses and chew a cud. Adult alpacas grow to be about 36" tall at the withers and generally weigh between 100 and 200 pounds. They are gentle and very easy to handle since Alpacas don't have incisors, horns, hooves or claws. The Alpacas require minimal fencing and can be pastured at about 5 to 10 animals per acre.
The Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association (AOBA) along with Regional Affiliates have sanctioned national committees addressing every aspect of the industry. The Alpaca Fiber Cooperative of North America (AFCNA) accepts fleece from its members, and turns the precious textile into quality alpaca garments and products.
Alpacas were first imported to the U.S. in 1984. They derive from the ancient Incan civilization in which they played an essential role in their culture. Today, Alpacas are being profitably raised and enjoyed throughout the world. .