American Pride Alpacas LLC
Alpacas in Northern California

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Alpacas in California 



Alpacas in California

About Alpacas

Alpacas are gentle, grazing herd animals who are members of the camelid family along with camels, llamas, vicunas and guanacos. Alpacas originated in the Andes mountains of South America, and were imported into the United States in the 1980's. The U.S. registry has since been closed to outside imports in order to protect the American market which has grown considerably. As of 2011, there are approximately 160,000 alpacas registered with U.S. Registry (ARI).

There are two types of alpacas: huacayas (pronounced wuh-kai-yuh) and suris (pronounced sir-ee). The difference between the two types is in their fleece. Huacayas have fleece that grows out from their bodies in every direction so that they look like large, fluffy sheep. Suris have fleece that hangs in draping and sometimes twisted locks, similar to human hair. Here at American Pride Alpacas, we raise huacayas.

Alpacas are intelligent and easily trained animals, and gentle enough to be handled by older children. They make a variety of noises including a nervous hum, a shrill alarm call, and an "orgle" when breeding. They will spit at one another over limited resources. They don't like being alone as they are herd animals. Alpacas are also easy to care for, and gentle on pastures with their hoof-padded feet.

Alpacas come in many different colors, the most popular being white, black, brown, rose, silver, or even spotted, and in many color combinations. Alpacas are able to withstand cold temperatures because of their dense fleece.

This fleece is more than just for warmth though, it is one of the primary purposes for raising alpacas. Their fleece can most closely be compared to cashmere. Alpaca fiber:

  • is extremely fine with little guard hair.
  • has less prickle factor than most other animals.
  • is compatible with either the woolen or worsted manufacturing systems.
  • has excellent insulative, thermal qualities.
  • has a rich silky sheen which has high visual appeal in the apparel industry.
  • is 30% warmer than the same weight of Merino wool.
  • is 4 times more abrasion resistant than Merino wool.
  • is stronger than wool and does not pill in the better quality animals.
  • contains no grease, lanolin and does not smell.
  • is bulky but will spring back when squashed.
  • does not retain water and can resist solar radiation.
  • does not shrink when washed.
  • comes in 22 different colors.
  • is lightweight and incredibly soft.
  • is rare.
  • can be carded and blended with other natural fibers.
  • can be easily dyed any color without losing its sheen.

Alpacas are also a great business opportunity. If cared for and marketed well, huge profits can be made. Marketing plays a huge role in a successful alpaca farm. Currently the majority of alpaca owners use the Internet to market their animals. Pricing reflects each alpaca's breeding potential and the quality of their future offspring. Ancestry, previous progeny, and the quality of the animal's fiber can predict this potential.


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American Pride Alpacas LLC
Konrad and Donna Poplawski, MD
4350 Hilltop Lane, Shingle Springs, California 95682
Ph: 916-761-7783

Member of the Ideal Alpaca Community