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Al & Anne Moncibaiz
13899 Wagon Trail Dr.
EL Paso, TX  79938
Phone: (915)
Cell: (915) 253-0434
Cell: (915) 630-6311
alpacas@finalfrontieralpaca
s.com
Alpaca Facts
Raised in their natural habitat of the Altiplano, or high altitude regions of Southern
Peru, Bolivia and Chile, the Alpaca has developed more thermal capacity in it's
fiber than almost any other animal.  Mother nature designed the ideal fiber for use
by mankind and then placed it on the gentle Alpaca.  Alpacas were a cherished
treasure of the ancient Inca civilization and played a central role in the Incan
culture that was located on the high Andean plateau and mountains of South
America.

Alpacas have been domesticated for over 5,000 years and their popularity is only
now becoming internationally recognized.  This cashmere-like fleece, once
reserved for Incan royalty, is now enjoyed by spinners and weavers around the
world.  Alpaca can be blended with wool, silk, and mohair, and dyes easily.  The
average adult alpaca weighs between 100 and 175 pounds and stands about 36
inches at the withers.  The average life span of these herd-oriented animals is
about 20 years.  Alpacas are timid and gentle, yet curious.  They are easy to care
for, readily trained and adapt well to all climates.  Instead of hooves, they have
padded feet with two toes making them gentle on the land.  As ruminants, they
efficiently convert grass and hay to energy, eating significantly less than most
other livestock animals.

There are two kinds of alpacas - the Huacaya and the Suri.  While their body types
are identical, they appear distinctly different because of the unique fibers they
produce.  The fiber of the Huacaya alpaca is dense, crimpy, and wool-like, while
the fiber of the Suri is straight, lustrous and hangs in a "dread-lock" fashion.  
Depending on the processing method, either type of fiber can be used for worsted
or woolen products.  Since their fiber grows continuously, alpacas are usually
shorn once a year in the Spring.  Alpaca herd management is uncomplicated, easy
and fun.  They prefer grazing and browsing in open pastures, although seasonal
supplementation with good quality hay, low protein pellets and mineral mix may be
recommended.

They require only simple shelters for protection from the elements.  Fences are
needed more to keep predators out than to keep alpacas in.  Occasional grooming,
toenail trimming, vaccinations and parasite control comprise the majority of
regular care.  Annual shearing can be done with hand shears or sheep-sheering
equipment.

Females can begin to breed at about 15 months (or 95 pounds), while males begin
breeding between 2 and 3 years.  Alpacas do not come into heat but, instead, are
induced ovulators and are able to breed year round.  Pregnancy may be confirmed
by a variety of tests.  The alpaca's gestation period is approximately eleven and
one-half months, most often resulting in one healthy baby, called a cria.  Most
births occur during daylight hours and require no human assistance.  Alpacas are
devoted and protective mothers until weaning at 5 or 6 months.

Breeding for general health, reproductive vitality, conformation and fiber quality is
both an art and a science that becomes more predictable as the alpaca industry
matures.  Even so, the cria's color is often a surprise and a delight to both the
experienced and the inexperienced alpaca breeder alike.

Alpaca fibers are among the softest of all animal fibers.  Alpaca fiber is seven times
warmer and three times stronger than sheep's wool and does not feel scratchy like
other animal fibers.  Their fleece does not contain lanolin and does not have guard
hairs, making cleaning and processing very simple and enjoyable.  While alpacas
come in 22 natural colors - more than any other fiber-producing animal - their fiber
retains its luster even when dyed with non-chemical dyes.  Alpaca fibers are
sought after by fiber artists for spinning, weaving, knitting, felting, lock hooking
and many other fiber arts.  Used alone or blended with other fibers, such as
cashmere, mohair, silk, wool or cotton, alpaca products are a luxurious pleasure
both to the eye and to the touch.

The Alpaca has the habit of defecating in fixed areas and avoids grazing around
piles, thus parasite infestation is low.  These piles also make the job of cleaning
pastures much easier.  The firm, dry pellet produced by the Alpaca makes an
excellent fertilizer.

No other farm animal can equal the Alpaca in offering sound investment returns
from easily managed, fully insurable animals on a small acreage.  The North
American Alpaca industry will remain focused on breeding stock for many years
due to the slow reproductive rate, import restrictions and current demand.  The
demand for Alpaca fiber is so great among fashion designers and textile mills, that
it will be a long time yet before we are able to satisfy that market.  Every Alpaca
breeder believes there is no greater delight than owning animals which are as
intelligent, charming, and beautiful as the Alpaca.  As the future unfolds, Alpacas
and their beautiful fleece will take their place at the head of the specialty fiber
market.

The Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association (AOBA) and the Canadian Alpaca
Breeders Association are available to help both current and future alpaca breeders
stay informed of the industries news.  Alpacas make good investments as well as
practical pets. They are clean, safe, quiet, intelligent and disease-resistant.  
Alpacas have soft padded feet, are gentle on the land and can be easily
transported in the family van.  They make wonderful companions and great 4-H
projects for a child.  The financial returns of owning a small herd of alpacas are
generous.  Alpacas can provide a satisfying addition to one's investment portfolio
with the added benefit of encouraging a healthy lifestyle and family cohesiveness.
It's easy to see that alpacas are a stress-free investment you can hug.  Alpaca
owners enjoy a strong and active National Breed Association (AOBA) with a
growing number of Regional Affiliates, a developing wool co-op and committees
addressing every aspect of the industry.  The Alpaca Registry has a
state-of-the-art system to document bloodlines and stringent screening for health
and quality of imports.  Alpacas must be blood typed in order to be registered.
Virtually every alpaca in the U.S. is registered.
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