FAQ about Alpacas
What is the difference between llamas and alpacas?
Llamas were raised for centuries in South America as beasts of burden. Alpacas have been bred for thousands of years for their fine fiber.
Where are alpacas from?
Alpacas are native to South American Andes Mountains and can be found in Chile, Bolivia and Peru.
How many alpacas are in North America?
There are only about 50,000 registered alpacas in North America. In comparison, there are over 10 million sheep in the North America.
How long have they been raised in the USA?
Alpacas were first imported into the United States in 1984.
What are alpacas used for?
Alpacas are fiber-producing animals. In the USA, they are bred for their investment potential as breeding stock as well as for their valuable fiber which is sheared off the animals each spring.
Are there wild alpacas?
No. Alpacas have been domesticated for over five thousand years. Without the assistance of man, alpacas would not survive in the wilds. They lack defenses that would protect them from predators.
What is Baby Alpaca?
Baby Alpaca is the most rare and finest classification of Alpaca fiber. Don't worry, it is simply a measure of fiber density, not fleece from baby alpacas.
How long have alpacas been raised?
Records show that Alpacas have been raised for over five thousand years, however there is speculation that they have been utilized for over nine thousand years.
How long has alpaca been used as clothing?
Alpaca was the fiber reserved for Inca royalty dating back thousands of years. In the mid 1800's Sir Titus Salt (England) discovered the alpaca fiber and fashioned the first modern alpaca garments.
FAQ about Alpaca Fiber Clothing
Frequently Asked Questions About Alpaca Fiber
Are the alpacas killed to get the fiber?
No. Alpacas are sheared, much like sheep, every year. Alpacas are much cooler and happier in warm weather once the fiber is removed. The fiber regrows by the time cool weather comes again.
How often are alpacas sheared?
Most alpaca producers in the United States shear once each year.
How many colors does alpaca fiber come in?
Alpacas come naturally in 22 color variations; the spectrum includes white, fawn, brown, gray and black, with all the natural shades in between. Alpaca dyes beautifully and is available in a variety of dyed colors. The color spectrum is as vast as your imagination if you choose to dye your own yarn.
What does alpaca fiber feel like?
Alpaca has softness like no other natural fiber. Most people find alpaca apparel to be without the itch associated with wool. It is also very lightweight, yet warmer than wool.
What is the difference between sheep wool and alpaca fiber?
Sheep's wool has a different physical make-up than that of alpaca fiber. The outside of each strand of wool has tiny, microscopic scales along the length of the strand. When garments made with wool are worn next to the skin, these scales catch the surface of the skin and cause some wool to feel prickly. Strands of alpaca fiber are smooth and therefore feel less prickly or itchy next to the skin. Alpaca too, is lanolin free (lanolin holds dust and microscopic allergens that create allergies to wool), which allows for the hypoallergenic nature of the fiber. Each individual strand of fiber is hollow. This gives alpaca a tremendous thermal capacity that allows for a breathable fiber with an insulating nature. Alpaca insulates from cool and warm temperatures.
Does alpaca itch like wool?
Most people who are sensitive to wool products find that they can wear alpaca without the same sensitivity.
Is alpaca warm?
Yes! Alpaca fiber has a hollow core that gives it incredible thermal properties. While being warm in cold weather, it can breathe and is comfortable for any season.
Will I be allergic to alpaca?
Most people who have wool based allergies will not be allergic to alpaca. Alpaca doesn't contain lanolin found in wool (lanolin holds dust and microscopic allergens that often create allergies associated to wool).
Can alpaca be dyed?
Yes! Alpaca dyes beautifully. It can be dyed with natural or synthetic dyes.