Alpaca History

Alpacas were common in South America until the sixteenth century when the Spanish arrived. They could see nothing admirable in these strange animals and killed the majority of the camelids, driving the rest out of the best farming country to make room for their sheep. The remaining camelids moved up to the altiplano, land above 12,000 to 15,000 feet, in the Andean mountains. The animals learnt to adapt to the extremes of temperature, the snow and the sparse low protein vegetation. It was survival of the fittest. The relatively wild, hardy and adaptable animals that resulted form the basis of the current breeding stocks.  In the mid 1800s an English mill owner, Sir Titus Salt, had recognised the value of the hair or fibre as being vastly superior to any wool and started a program of importation and processing in England. He created the town of Saltaire in Yorkshire for his workers, around what was then the largest mill in the world. Queen Victoria chose alpaca fabrics for many of her gowns and set fashion trends; the best-dressed men about town insisted on at least some of their jackets being made from alpaca fibre. Many others had at least one alpaca coat, which they may have worn for years, if not decades. It would have been hardwearing, lightweight, extremely warm and almost waterproof and was often passed on to the next generation. Subsequent events in South America, including the Agrarian Land Reform, the presence of large herds of other animals and the unrest of the 1980s has meant that a stable breeding program of these animals has been difficult. However in the southern part of Peru a few well-organised breeding programs were started and it is from this base that some of the best animals have since come.

Alpaca History


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News and Sale

Gelded (non-breeding) alpcasa for protection from foxes
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Come and visit - Saturday evening July 8th
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Shearing in June 17th or 18th
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Shearing 1
Shearing 1
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Our Alpaca Shop
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