Alpacas are bred each year because their fiber is finer when they're pregnant or nursing.
The other reason the females are bred each year is because they're so darned valuable. That was a big eye-opener for me. There is an alpaca stud named Cantano of Peru who is valued at $250,000.00. Ann told me that prices for alpacas have come down in recent years, and a pregnant female of high quality can be bought for around $20,000.00, down from perhaps $25,000.00 a year ago. It's all about the fiber, folks. Cantano is the winningest alpaca in America, for the luster, fineness, and density of his fleece. Although a research paper published by the Agricultural Issues Center of the University of California in 2005 examined the US alpaca industry and concluded thus: Current prices for alpaca stock are not supportable by market fundamentals; the industry represents the latest in the rich history of speculative bubbles.
Yeeks. I hope not to be around to hear the alpaca crash. The dot-com crash was deafening enough. And that's their opinion, those Californians. We're in Ohio.
Crias nurse for about six months on average, though Annie and Charlie like to let the female alpaca decide when to wean her cria. This overgrown cria wasn't quite getting the message from its increasingly irritated mama.
Alpacas don't have a heat period like most animals; ovulation is stimulated by the act of mating, as it is in birds. They tend not to mature until age 2-3. Online, I found details about the male alpaca's wedding tackle that I noted with interest. It's extremely long, thin and prehensile. Ooo. Gotta navigate all that fluffy stuff, I reckon.White alpaca: Did your readers really need to know that?
Alpaca: So I expect we'll be seeing you in July.
Zick: Bet on it. I wanna learn how to orgle.
THIS JUST IN! Click here to hear an alpaca orgling!
If you listen to it for awhile, it is kind of sexy, in a Bogartesque way. Well, maybe a little more Peter Lorre than Bogart. Agggh!
How gorgeous is this gal, with her lustrous dreadlocks? The alpacas in these shots have been shorn at different times, so some of them look all grown in, while others have shorter fleece. They're shorn once a year, but obviously, not all at the same time. More alpacas tomorrow. But no more prattle about speculative bubbles.