Alpacas are gentle creatures that play an essential role as livestock on this planet. They are highly sustainable and relatively low maintenance. Alpacas are mainly found in Peru, where herders have taken great pride in their breeding and herding. Alpaca wool, as a result, is also entirely sustainable for the environment, and its quality makes alpaca fibers unique.
Alpacas have a very soft gait, and their delicate footpads allow them to roam freely without ruining terrain or pasture. The lack of harm to the natural habitat also means that more alpacas can be freely bred. The total global population of alpacas is also much less than that of other livestock. Around 75% of the alpaca population can be found in Peru, ensuring that little to no harm is brought to the breed.
Alpaca wool does not require the use of fossil fuels while being processed. Interestingly, it is usually hand-woven into yarn before being taken to factories for garment production.
There are two types of alpaca wool available in the market as there are two kinds of alpaca that are bred. One type of wool comes from the Suri alpaca, which represents around 15% of the total alpaca population. Suri alpaca wool comes from fiber that grows entirely straight down the body with curls all around. The fibers are often compared to fringes on the body of the alpaca. Suri alpaca wool is silkier and shinier in appearance than Huacayan alpaca wool.
Huacayan alpacas make up the majority of the global alpaca population with 85%. Huacayan alpaca wool grows perpendicularly to the alpaca’s body and is spongier, softer, denser, and fluffier in texture than Suri wool.
Here are some alpaca facts that will help you understand the animal and its role as sustainable livestock on an in-depth level:
Alpacas have a very soft gait, and they have gentle personalities. They tread the planet softly, and this means that they are less likely to cause any ruin to the terrain they walk on. They have padded feet that increase their gentleness when walking. In comparison, other livestock, like cows and goats are either very heavy or rowdy, so they are more likely to cause erosion and ruin the terrain. Alpacas are also the perfect size, so they do not take too much from the land when they are grazing, allowing the land to renew itself.
Peruvian herders and shearers have created a full-proof method of guaranteeing a painless shearing method for the alpacas. They are first positioned in front of the shearer in a manner to ensure maximum ease in the process, but little discomfort to the animal. They make use of sharp shears that shave the alpaca in one fell swoop. Continuous strokes are not required, so the alpaca does not feel any pain and is finished with the shearing process in a matter of minutes.
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Peru has a significant dependence on its alpacas and, for many people, alpacas are their primary source of income. There may not be many alpacas in the world, but this rarity is what makes Peruvians so keen on using them as a source of income. The wool from alpacas is so rare that it only currently has a cult following – it has yet to have reached mainstream popularity. Alpaca wool is, for the most part, processed almost entirely by Peruvians, at least until the spinning stage.
Alpaca fibers are available in different categories of fineness depending on which part of the animal the fibers are sheared from. The finest alpaca fibers are found on the neck (these are known as royal alpaca fibers with microns ranging between 18 to 19 microns) and make up around 2% of wool production. The most common and least fine (but still very soft) fiber is the alpaca superfine fibers, with microns ranging between 26 and 27 microns, making up around 40% of production.
Alpacas are highly sustainable and eco-friendly livestock. Alpaca herders have set an example for the rest of the world’s livestock industry to follow. Are you looking for a Peruvian made alpaca product? It would be best if you looked at a Peruvian wool blanket. It is unlikely that you will ever forget such a blanket with how soft and warm it would be.
In Silkeborg Uldspinderi we are here to help you. You will have at your disposal many high-quality products. If you want to buy any alpaca scarves, shawls, cushions, or throws, please don’t hesitate to contact us through our contact page.