Alpacas pack ’em in at library reading program

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : July 6, 2013

Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell Three of the newly shorn alpaca who came to visit with young readers at The Library at Cedar Creek Lake June 18.

Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
Three of the newly shorn alpaca who came to visit with young readers at The Library at Cedar Creek Lake June 18.

Monitor Staff Reports
SEVEN POINTS–A large number attended a recent Summer Reading Program presentation about alpacas outside the Library at Cedar Creek Lake June 18.
Janet Hancock and her associate Cindy and Carl Beck brought several award-winning male alpacas to show summer readers.
“Alpacas come in 52 different colors, the most variety of any animal,” Hancock said.
She and husband Steve started Trinity Ridge Alpaca ranch on 20 acres at 33064 Farm-to-Market 85 a few years ago because of Janet’s love of fiber and the fiber arts.
In addition to selling quality fiber products, she teaches various fiber arts classes, and the ranch holds open farm days every fourth Saturday for visitors.
“We are one of the few alpaca ranches that can show you how to take the raw fiber from fleece to finished products,” she said. Janet is always excited to show visitors her Fiber Studio and to share her passion for what to do with all that fiber.
For more information, contact her at (972) 887-2206 or by e-mail at tralpacas@aol.com. Trinity Ridge also has a website, trinityridgealpacas.com.
Alpaca is in the South American camel family and is raised for its fiber in the United States, though elsewhere it is also raised for meat.
Trinity Ridge Alpacas specializes in boarding, breeding, raising and maintaining a select group of alpacas.
Alpacas are kept in herds that graze on the level heights of the Andes of Ecuador, southern Peru, northern Bolivia and northern Chile.
Alpacas are considerably smaller than llamas,which are about one to two feet taller and proportionally bigger than alpacas. And unlike llamas, alpacas are not used as beasts of burden. Another difference is that alpacas have straight ears, where llamas have banana-shaped ears.
Alpaca fiber is used for making knitted, woven and felted items, much as sheep’s wool is. These items include blankets, sweaters, hats, gloves, scarves, a wide variety of textiles and ponchos in South America, and sweaters, socks, coats and bedding in other parts of the world.
Alpacas have been domesticated for thousands of years. There are no wild alpacas. The closest living species are the wild Vicuña, also native to South America.
Along with camels and llamas, the alpaca are classified as camelids. Alpacas are larger than the vicuña, but smaller than the other camelid species.
Alpacas are social herd animals that live in family groups consisting of a territorial alpha male, females and their young. They are gentle, elegant, inquisitive, intelligent and observant.
As they are a prey animal, they are cautious and nervous if they feel threatened. They like having their own space and may not like an unfamiliar alpaca or human getting close, especially from behind.
They warn the herd about intruders by making sharp, noisy inhalations that sound like a high-pitched burro bray.
The herd may attack smaller predators with their front feet, and can spit and kick.
Due to the soft pads on their feet, the impact of a kick is not as dangerous as that of a hoofed animal, yet it still can give quite a bruise, and the pointed nails can inflict cuts.
In the United State and Canada alpaca herds range in size from just a few alpacas all the way up to a few thousand.
More photos from this event can be found in the July 7, 2013 issue of The Monitor.