Celebrate Alpaca Farm Day this weekend

During the month of September alpaca breeders from across the United States will invite the public to come to their farm to meet their alpacas and learn more about these inquisitive, unique animals.  This weekend, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Maple View Farm Alpacas and the Vermont Fiber Mill & Studio will welcome guests to come visit the farm, mill and 23 alpacas at 185 Adams Road in Brandon.  
What is an alpaca?
Alpacas, cousins to the llama, are native to the Andean Mountain range of South America, particularly Peru, Bolivia and Chile. Alpacas were first imported into the United States in 1984. Since then, the alpaca industry has grown steadily with over 250,000 alpacas are currently registered with the Alpaca Registry, Inc. (ARI) in the United States. 
There are two types of alpacas.  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.  Maple View Farm has Huacaya alpacas.
Adult alpacas stand 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 and curious.  Social animals that seek companionship, alpacas communicate by softly humming.
Alpacas are shorn, without harm, annually.  They produced five to ten pounds of luxurious fiber.  Because of its soft texture, alpaca fiber is sometimes compared to cashmere.  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.  Vermont Fiber Mill & Studio processes their alpaca fiber into batts, roving, yarn and felt. 
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.  Performance characteristics include stretch, water repellency and odor reduction. 
To find out more visit  mapleviewfarmalpacas or call (802) 247-5412.

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