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Living in rural Vermont has many benefits and one of them is the many natural Vermont family attractions available. I stopped by a real alpaca farm in Hubbardton, Vermont and spent the afternoon learning all about alpacas. The Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association (AOBA) invites you to visit their member farms and ranches on National Alpaca Farm Days on September 29th and 30th. This is a unique opportunity for the public to explore the many aspects of the alpaca livestock industry in the United States and Canada. Alpacas are cousins to the llama and are beautiful, intelligent animals native to the Andean Mountain range of South America, particularly Peru, Bolivia, and Chile. 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.
Vermont Family Attractions
Alpacas are sheared, 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 fiber 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.
Wright Choice Alpacas
I had the opportunity to visit Wright Choice Alpacas of Hubbardton, Vermont. Located at 161 Howland Rd in Hubbardton, Wright Choice Alpacas is run and managed by Deb Wright Bahre who has been raising Alpacas since 2001. Not only does she raise these gorgeous alpacas but she also makes a variety of crafts from their fleece that she offers for sale to the public. The alpaca’s fleece is sheared once a year (like a sheep) and yields about five to ten pounds. After minimal preparation, it is ready to be spun into yarn for knitting, crocheting and weaving. It can also be used to make felt and Deb showed me one of the gorgeous felting projects she was working on.
Deb’s alpaca farm has several generations of alpacas from yearlings all the way up to their grandmothers. Deb’s alpacas are Huacaya alpacas and petting them was just like petting a soft teddy bear. I love the time that I spent visiting with the Deb and her alpacas and if you’re local to Hubbardton, Vermont I highly recommend you stop by and visit them yourself. If you’re not in the area, you can check out the list of alpaca farms across the country to find one near you. All of the photographs are of the gorgeous alpacas on Wright Choice Alpacas. Make sure you get some alpaca kisses before you go! Deb is open to visits throughout the year so if you’re looking for Vermont family attractions, make sure to call!
Disclosure of Material Connection: No compensation received. I just spent an amazing afternoon making some new friends.
Ellen is a busy mom of a 22-year-old son and 27-year-old daughter. She owns 5 blogs and is addicted to social media. She believes that it doesn’t have to be difficult to lead a healthy life. She shares simple healthy living tips to show busy women how to lead fulfilling lives. If you’d like to work together, email firstname.lastname@example.org to chat.