The long, flowing eye lashes of the beautiful alpaca draw up like a stage curtain, revealing the gorgeous doey eyes which are centre stage to the appeal and attraction of this, the most wonderful of animals. There is no mistaking the way an alpaca can draw you in through their eyes and almost communicate through a soft gaze or a steely stare.
At Vermillion Fire, we share an incredible passion for alpacas, something which is hard to avoid whenever anyone comes in contact with the gorgeous creatures. Each alpaca, despite their age, has its own unique personality and very much become one of our family. There is no other animal like the alpaca. They possess many amazing traits and boast a rich cultural history.
Alpacas are a member of the camelid family which also includes llamas and, as the name suggests, camels. There are two types of alpacas; Huacaya and Suri. We breed Huacaya.
The spirited baby Huacaya alpacas (called crias) steal many hearts as they bound about in the paddocks, full of energy and pestering power towards the adults, just like any child. They bring a smile to any face as they play and tease each other as they learn to coordinate their long legs, head in the right direction and dodge that parental look from the group of grazing mums and aunts searching for some peace and quiet.
Centre stage to the jam-packed line up of those amazing alpaca traits is most definitely its gentle and serene nature. The kind, relaxed attitude the alpaca exudes means it interacts well with children and adults alike, making the alpaca the ideal animal for small or large acreage properties. Furthermore, the alpaca has padded feet which do not harm the paddocks like the hard hooves of cows or horses. Everything about the gorgeous alpaca is gentle, even its grazing habits. A grazing alpaca doesn't pull the grass out by the roots. The easygoing alpaca also bonds well with sheep, goats and even chooks and for that reason are widely used as herd guards to protect against young cunning foxes.
You can expect an alpaca to live for between 15 and 25 years. Females can be mated three weeks after giving birth and depending on their health, a female alpaca will produce cria from two to 17 years of age. The gestation period is 11 to 12 months and there is nothing more glorious than sitting in the calm alpaca environment, watching the rippling movements of their unborn through the mothers' bulging stomach and then witnessing the birth of a brand new awkward but incredibly cute cria. The alpaca is capable of producing a cria every year, but the norm is three in four years to keep the animal in good condition.
And of course, the highly-regarded fleece of the alpaca is its crowning glory. The alpaca is bred for its beautiful and unique coat which comes in 22 natural shades and has an unmatched luxurious feel which truly needs to be experienced to be believed. Incredibly, people with a merino wool allergy or skin sensitivity to wool are able to wear and use alpaca fleece products due to the lack of lanolin in the fleece. The extreme versatility and adaptability of alpaca fleece presents an endless list of uses, from high-end suits to carpet in the family home.
The home spinner or craft person can use alpaca fleece in place of other fibres to make many products already mastered as well as open new creative avenues. Imagine the possibilities if, assuming the space was available, a pet alpaca not only provided a beautiful gentle and somewhat unique companion as well as the ability to herd-protect, but was also able to provide a yearly fleece to work with. There are a number of small processors who can turn your fleece into yarn and other products also for craft projects - the benefits of the alpaca really are endless.
We at Vermillion Fire love alpacas and they are our passion. We are constantly improving and welcoming new directions and developments in the alpaca industry. We are members of a number of organisations that were formed to advance the quality of the animal and its fleece. We are on a breeding journey to produce the best quality fleece we can and working hard, with the help of these organisations combined with our clear passion "The Alpaca" to bring you top-quality animals and fleece.