Alpacas have a sweet, sensitive and reserved character while being curious by nature. They are completely harmless animals. They are gregarious, that is to say they like to live in a herd, and very rustic. They adapt well to our cold climate.
The alpaca fiber is warmer than sheep’s wool, about six times, and it does not contain lanolin. This fiber is hypoallergenic and can be worn by the most sensitive skin without causing any discomfort. The fiber is available in several shades that match the natural colors of alpaca and can range from white, beige, brown, black and gray. In fact, the fiber is classified according to 22 natural colors recognized by the various associations of alpaca breeders.
At the farm, we raise our alpacas with the aim of obtaining the best fiber quality possible. To achieve this, we believe that finesse and crimp are the essential characteristics to transmit and improve from generation to generation. We wish to eventually succeed in producing subjects with a fine fiber like cashmere and the crimp like merino wool.
The fineness of the fiber is determined by its diameter which is measured in micron, a micron equals one thousandth of a millimeter. The fineness of the alpaca fiber varies greatly, from 15 to 35 microns. To be as thin as cashmere, this fiber must be under 20 microns. To be able to be worn on the face and neck, the fiber must be under 23 microns. As for the crimp, it provides greater elasticity, which helps knits to better preserve their original shape after being worn and washed.
Alpaca fiber is harvested once a year. Here, shearing is usually done around mid-May. We harvest an average of 5 to 6 pounds of fiber per animal. Then begins the laborious task of cleaning the fleeces. We must remove from our fleeces any inconsistent fiber as well as any vegetable matter (VM) and other contaminants. The fiber is then washed, dried, picked, carded, spun, washed again and then put in skeins. Part of our fiber is processed here on the farm in a traditional way!
Life expectancy: 15 to 25 years
Weight: 50 to 90 kg
Size: 75 to 100cm
Gestation: about 11 months and a half