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Maple Hill Manor to participate in National Alpaca Days

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By Special to The Sun

On Sept. 28 and 29, alpaca breeders from across the United States and Canada will invite the public to come to their farm or ranch to meet their alpacas and learn more about these inquisitive, unique animals, the luxury fiber they produce and why the alpaca business is perfect for environmentally conscious individuals!  From 1 - 5 p.m, each day, Maple Hill Manor will welcome guests and their families to join them for many activities including farm tours, and attendance is free .

 

About Alpacas
Alpacas, cousins to the llama, are beautiful, intelligent animals native to the Andes Mountain range of South America, particularly Peru, Bolivia, and Chile.  The United States first commercially imported alpacas in 1984. There are now over 160,000 ARI (Alpaca Registry, Inc.) registered alpacas in North America.

There are two types of alpacas in the United States today. Although almost physically identical, what distinguishes the two types of alpacas is their fiber.  The Huacaya (wa-Ki’-ah) is the more common of the two and has a fluffy, extremely fine coat.  The Suri (SUR-ee) is the rarer of the two and has fiber that is silky and resembles pencil-locks.

Adult alpacas stand at approximately 36 inches at the withers and generally weigh between 150 and 200 pounds. They do not have horns, hooves, claws or incisors.  Alpacas are alert, intelligent, curious, and predictable. Social animals that seek companionship, they communicate most commonly by softly humming.

 

About Alpaca Fiber
Alpacas are shorn, without harm, every 12 to 18 months. They produced five to 10 pounds of luxurious fiber. Long ago, alpaca fiber was reserved for royalty. Today, it is purchased in its raw fleece form by hand-spinners and fiber artists. Knitters buy it as yarn.

Because of its soft texture, alpaca fiber is sometimes compared to cashmere.  Making the fiber even more coveted, it has the luster of silk.  Alpaca is just as warm as, yet 1/3 the weight of wool. It comes in 22 natural colors, yet can be dyed any desired shade.

Containing no lanolin, alpaca fiber is also naturally hypoallergenic. Most people who are sensitive to wool find that they can wear alpaca without the itching or irritation they feel from wool because alpaca fiber is smooth. Additional performance characteristics include: stretch, water repellency, and odor reduction. For travelers, clothing made from alpaca is desirable because it is wrinkle-resistant.

Green Alpacas?
Alpacas come in 22 natural colors, but they are all green!

Sensitive to their environment in every respect, alpacas have soft padded feet instead of hooves and can leave even the most delicate terrain undamaged. Damage to topsoil decreases long-term soil fertility and in the process, the soil is eroded and weed invasion is encouraged.

Alpacas prefer to eat tender grasses, which they do not pull up by the roots. Lacking upper teeth, alpacas “cut” the grass with their bottom teeth and upper palate. This vegetation cutting encourages the plants’ growth.  Because they are modified ruminants with a three-compartment stomach, alpacas convert grass and hay to store energy very efficiently, and stop eating when they are full, further preserving the landscape on which they live.

However, alpacas do not mind eating brush, fallen leaves and other “undesirable” vegetation, leaving the “good stuff” for species that do not have the stomach to digest such roughage.
Alpacas’ pellet-like droppings are PH balanced and an excellent, natural, slow release, low odor fertilizer. This rich fertilizer is perfect for growing fruits and vegetables. Because alpacas consolidate their feces in one or two communal spots in the pasture, it is easy to collect and compost, and the spread of parasites is controlled.

While alpacas are environmentally friendly and even beneficial to the land, what makes them even more “green” is the fiber they produce. No chemicals are employed either during feeding or during the industrial production of alpaca fleece into fiber. If dying is desired, only 20% of a normal dye quantity is required.

All fiber from an alpaca can be used. Even the fiber from the lower legs, belly, neck, etc. is being used for things such as natural weed mats to be placed around trees. Alpaca fiber is biodegradable.

Alpacas require no insecticides, herbicides and fertilizers which pollute the groundwater.

 

About Maple Hill Manor
Maple Hill Manor has welcomed tourists to central Kentucky for 25 years, providing award-winning B&B accommodations. Guests are invited to relax and experience a scenic, country setting on the historic Kentucky Farm, which dates back to 1851.

The working farm includes nearly 50 alpacas and llamas, a Fiber Farm Store – featuring luxury fiber products made of Kentucky’s only Purely Suri Breeding Program of both Suri Alpacas and Suri Llamas, as well as a small fruit orchard, berry patch, herb and vegetable garden. Maple Hill Manor has been recognized nationally, voted #1 (2X) as the B&B with the “Most Historical Charm,” “Best B&Bs in the South,” (2X) “Best Breakfast in the Southeast,” “Kentucky’s Best B&Bs” by readers of Kentucky Monthly Magazine, and Top 10 Innkeepers in the U.S. by BedandBreakfast.com.

To find out more about National Alpaca Farm Days, visit www.ationalAlpacaFarmDays.com. To learn more about Maple Hill Manor, visit www.MapleHillManor.com or call 859.336.3075, alpacas@mapelhillmanor.com.