Granby area farm celebrates National Alpaca Farm Days | SkyHiNews.com

Granby area farm celebrates National Alpaca Farm Days

Special to the Sky-Hi News
Granby, CO Colorado

Alpaca farmers since 2003, Paul and Judy Shelter of Corona Trail Alpacas Ranch are welcoming the public to help them celebrate National Alpaca Farm Days.

On Sept. 24 and 25, alpaca breeders from across the U.S. and Canada are inviting others to visit their farms to meet alpacas and learn about these inquisitive and unique animals.

“We have eight new babies,” said Judy proudly, who talked about how members of the herd playfully engaged in a game of “king of the hill” that day.

The Shelters sell alpaca fleece to various co-ops in the U.S. and received a blue ribbon and special mention for the quality of fleece at a recent Estes Park Wool Market.

They now invite others to feel the fleece, experience the docile livestock, learn how their fiber can become the material of soft, warm garments, and meet the friendly herding dogs at their farm in the Grand County countryside, about 9 miles north of Granby.

Alpacas, cousins to the llama, are beautiful and intelligent animals native to the Andean Mountain range of South America. The U.S. commercially imported alpacas starting in 1984. There are now more than 160,000 registered alpacas in North America through the Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association. Since the association’s formation in 1988, its membership has grown steadily to more than 4,000 members.

The “Huacaya” is the more common of the two types of alpacas, which produces a fluffy and extremely fine coat. The “Suri” is the rarer, with fiber that is silky and resembles pencil-locks.

Adult alpacas generally weigh between 150 and 200 pounds. They do not have horns, hooves, claws or incisors. They are alert, social, intelligent, curious and predictable animals that seek companionship.

Alpacas are shorn, without harm, every 12 to 18 months. They produce 5 to 10 pounds of fiber, which is purchased in its raw fleece form by hand-spinners and fiber artists.

Because of its soft texture, alpaca fiber is sometimes compared to cashmere and has the luster of silk. Alpaca is just as warm as, yet one-third the weight, of wool. Most people who are sensitive to wool find they can wear alpaca without itching or irritation.


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