The alpacas that live with me came in a very unexpected way. It was not a deliberate decision, but rather they slipped through a crack in the door. Just a few came: Chip, Sas and Harry. Then came the flood. And then came the breeding program. I can only say that they have been an incredible addition to my yarn and fiber adventure.
There are two types of alpaca. Suri or, royal alpaca as it is sometimes called. And huacaya. Suri fiber is silky, draped, and full of luster. Huacaya is a soft, buoyant fiber. Both are a hair fiber. They are hollow, and have a tremendous insulative quality. They are a little slippery and do not have a memory like wool. They can not remember to move back into their original form. (I use them as an addition, a wonderful one, with wool which does have memory, to allow a finished garment to return to its original shape).
I have been cross breeding these two types of alpacas to create animals with the most beautiful fiber. This cross makes sublime fiber with both qualities mixed together.
My alpacas are re-homed from herds where they are no longer needed. I give them a different life here. They run free on hundreds of acres as a herd, rather than in small paddocks. The transition process takes almost a year for them to adapt to this freedom, but once they adjust, they live a more well rounded life. Of course, I still feed them daily, but they are allowed to graze and move about at will. And I think they have a healthier mind and body.