Wiregrass farms participate in ‘Alpaca Days’

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, September 25, 2008

Five Wiregrass area alpaca farms will participate in the 2nd Annual “National Alpaca Farm Days” this weekend, giving visitors a chance to learn more about the growing alpaca industry.

On Sept. 27 and Sept. 28, area alpaca breeders will invite the public to come to their farm or ranch to meet their alpacas and learn more about these unique animals.

Jerry Sanders, of Alabama Peanuts and Pacas in Ozark, said he has seen tremendous growth in alpaca farms since he and his wife, Wanda, started their alpaca farm in 2004.

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“These warm and fuzzy, fairy tale like creatures will steal your heart,” Sanders said. “In the last year or so there have been three new start up alpaca farms in the Wiregrass area.”

Alpacas, cousins to the llama, are native to the Andean Mountain range of South America, particularly Peru, Bolivia, and Chile.

They were first imported to the US in 1984, and since then, the alpaca industry has grown steadily, according to the Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association (AOBA).

There are more 120,000 registered alpacas with the Alpaca Registry, Inc. (ARI) in the US and more than 4,000 AOBA members in North America.

Alpacas are shorn, without harm, every twelve to eighteen months. They produced five to ten pounds of luxurious fiber.

Because of its soft texture, alpaca fiber is sometimes compared to cashmere.

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.

Wiregrass area farms participating in Alpaca Farm Days, and their hours are:

Alabama Peanuts & Pacas

4946 South County Rd. 20

Ozark, AL 36360

Phone: (334) 445-2762

Cell: (334) 300-5358

Farm Day Hours: Sat & Sun 1:30 to 4:00 pm

Humming Hills Alpacas

Chris Miller & Sue Ellen Miller

Newton, AL 36352

Phone: (334) 692-3745

Cell: (334) 790-4545

Will be at Oak-Leigh Peacocks & Alpacas

Little Hummers Alpaca Farm

Gregory Andrews & Shelia Andrews

1707 Hwy 123 N.

Ozark, AL 36360

Phone: (256) 683-2184

Cell: (256) 683-2079

Farm Day Hours: Sat 10am to 5pm; Sun 1pm to 5pm

Oak-Leigh Peacocks and Alpacas

Kenneth Spruell & Patti Spruell

11780 Fortner St

Dothan, AL 36305

Phone: (334) 692-4425

Phone 2: (334) 678-5900

Cell: (334) 596-1867

Farm Day Hours: Sat & Sun 1 to 5pm

Wiregrass Alpacas

Wynne Simmons

1786 Bluff Springs Rd

Ashford, AL 36312

Phone: (334) 899-4227

Phone 2: (334) 797-3322

Farm Day Hours: Sat 10am to 4 pm; Sun 1:30 to 4pm