Flying M Ranch participates in National Alpaca Farm Days
On Sept. 26 and 27, 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. From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sept. 26 and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Sept. 27, Flying M Ranch will welcome guests to join them for many activities including hotdogs and a "Name the alpaca contest,"--all free. Also joining us will be Shepherd's Mill of Phillipsburg, Kan., a mill that specializes in alpaca fiber and will have yarn, rovings and finished product on display.
Flying M Ranch is located at 35810 W. Greenfield Road, Sylvia, Kan.; from Zenith, Kan., go two miles east on US 50, two miles south on Raymond Road, one-half mile east on Greenfield, north side of road. From Sylvia, Kan., go one mile west on U.S. 50 to Brownlee Road, go two miles south to Greenfield Road, one-half mile west on north side.
Alpacas, cousins to the llama, are beautiful, intelligent animals native to the Andean Mountain range of South America, particularly Peru, Bolivia, and Chile. The United States first commercially imported alpacas in 1984. There are now over 150,000 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 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 ten 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 one-third the weight, of wool. It comes in 22 natural colors, yet can be dyed any desired shade.