Who could resist becoming friends with these fluffy, two-toed members of the camel (camelid) family? Once treasured by the ancient Inca civilization for their fine fleece or fiber, Alpaca were reserved for Incan royalty. Alpaca have been around since before the Giza Pyramids! It is believed that approximately 6,000 years ago, through selective breeding by the Inca, Alpaca were sorted and bred to produce beautiful colored and textured fiber. Far from where they originated in Peru, we are so happy to have an Alpaca farm for our Elizabeth City visitors to experience.
Our fluffy friends live at Alpaca Lotta Fun Farm in Moyock, which is a short drive from Elizabeth City. From the look on this guy’s face, he is excited to greet a new visitor. They are naturally curios, gentle, social, intelligent and easy to train.
Alpaca eat plants, grass, foliage and palatable herbs. They have three compartments to their stomach which means that they often chew cud or re-chew partially processed food which is called ruminating. Even though they are in the camel family, as humans we are pretty safe, spitting is usually only done to others in their herd.
Little Sweet Magnolia is shown here with her mom, Miss Rosalie. Babies, also known as Cria weigh approx. 15-20 lbs. at birth. Alpaca breed once a year with a gestation period of about 11 1/2 months.
You might get to hear an Alpaca hum (kind of a purring sound) or maybe even orgle. Male Alpaca orgle their love song to the female during breeding.
This guy is just too cool for words!
Alpaca come in a variety of colors and textures. Did you know that their fiber is warmer and lighter than wool, water and flame resistant, softer than cashmere and hypoallergenic? When they are shorn, their fiber comes off in a beautiful blanket of fluff with some smaller clippings as well. Their fiber has a multitude of uses, such as the drier balls (I love mine) shown above and the hand-spun yarn. When you visit the farm, be sure to stop and see the products that are for sale. Purchase products made with Alpaca yarn or purchase yarn to make your own creations.
Alpaca Lotta Fun Farm is a family owned farm and these folks truly make you feel welcomed! We had a blast when we visited and can’t wait to go back! Give them a call (858) 444-6036 to schedule a visit, by appointment only. For $5 a person, you get a 1 hour tour of the farm, 1 bag of feed, hang out with these amazing animals and enjoy their unique personalities. Be sure to bring your camera, you’re going to want to have photos of this experience!
If you completely fall in love with these beauties, remember that you can purchase an Alpaca to have for your very own!!!
Liza Franco is a blogger and photographer, linking stories with photos to give the reader a complete vision. Her work includes, lifestyle, commercial, fine art, portraiture photography and photo restoration. See more of her work at Liza Franco Photography & Graphic Design.