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Roger & Jessie Keymel, Owners

4836 Walworth-Ontario Road, Walworth, NY 14568
Phone: 315-524-9205
e-mail: rkeymel@rochester.rr.com
Our Stoney Elm Alpaca farm is in Western Wayne County, 15 miles from Lake Ontario.

A Typical Shearing Day, See the Pictures Here!
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Alpaca Basic Facts!

First imported to the United States in 1984, Alpacas are members of the scientific family Camelid, and are related to the Guanaco, the wild Vicuna, and the Llama. The main difference between the Llama and the Alpaca is that Alpaca are raised for their wonderfully soft fiber. The shy but friendly Alpaca weighs from about 120-175 pounds. Alpaca feed mostly by grazing in pastures for hay and grass and drinking fresh water. Alpaca rarely eat tree leaves. Alpacas, like camels are adapted to survive on very little water.

Alpacas have padded feet and are ruminants like cows with three stomachs. The hay and grass consumed by Alpacas is very efficiently used; very little is wasted and nearly all is converted to energy during digestion.

It would take ten alpacas to eat as much as a single, average cow. Alpaca is the only animal in the world that produces more than 20 natural shades of fiber from off white, cream to brown, gray, and black. Alpacas are native to the Andes Mountains in Peru, where 80% of the total population reside in the world.

The fleece shorn from Alpaca is hair. There are two varieties of Alpaca, a subspecies called Suri, whose hair has a silky shine and higher tensile strength than Llama or sheepswool, and the Huacaya (wa-ki-ah) which is the more common of the two and has a fluffy, extremely fine coat. Alpaca hair also has a much higher specific weight than sheepswool.

Alpaca hair incorporates the finest qualities of the world's natural fibers. It is as soft as cashmere and three times warmer than wool.

Alpaca hair is very strong and extremely resilient. A history of spending freezing temperatures at high altitudes in the Andes Mountains has given Alpacas more thermal capacity in its fiber than nearly any other animal. The Alpaca fiber contains microscopic air pockets which give it powerful insulating value - which makes it ideal for human clothing. It is also very lightweight, another plus in the clothing department.

Alpaca hair is of high value like Mohair or Angora. The total production does not exceed 2, 500 tons per year. The Alpacas are normally shorn every year when the staple is about 4- 6 inches (10cm) long. The fist clip is called "baby Alpaca" and commands high prices. The older the animal, the coarser will be its hair.

Alpaca fiber can be dyed to any color without losing it's beautiful natural luster.

Alpacas were a cherished treasure of the ancient Inca civilization and play a central role in the Inca culture that was located on the high Andean Plateau and mountains of South America. The Inca kings recognized the Alpaca's unique qualities and they reserved the Alpaca's fabric for the exclusive use of their royal court. Petroglyphs found in Peru, dating back over four thousand years, depicts shepherds tending to herds of Alpacas.

Alpacas are very well developed social animals. They communicate with one another using a gentle humming sound, as well as combining that with body positioning.

Alpaca are one of the calmest and easiest animals to accomodate in the world. Alpacas don't spit like camels, they don't bite like Llamas, they don't kick like cows, they don't charge like many herd animals, and they don't stampede. Also, an Alpaca herd knows how to designate an ellimination area; they generally drop their feces in a very few locations in their pasture, keeping the rest of the field clean and free of disease and parasites making it a lot easier to clean up the waste product, which makes good fertilizer.




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Composed with care by: Mary Jo Marceau-Hawthorne - By Grace Websites; e-mail: mmarceauocdjnj@yahoo.com