2006-10-19: Alpaca Adventure

My spinning class excursion from this weekend.

One of the planned events for my spinning class was an extra-curricular trip to an alpaca farm. Our spinning teacher made arrangements with Amber Leaf Alpacas in Yarramalong (unfortunately, no web site), and we all met up at Tuggerah station to travel up to their small farm.

So Mr Wiggins and I got up early to a blessedly cool and cloudy day, and headed up to Tuggerah by train. Once we got past the bigger suburbs, the scenery was quite pleasant, and other than a snoring fellow passenger, we had a quiet journey north. Mr Wiggins read and I worked some more on spinning up yarn for the Mom Socks, and we played some gin and I was sorely beaten.

A photo of the handsome Mr Wiggins

We arrived at the station without trouble and met up with the rest of the group for a short drive to the farm. The Twynhams lived in a large brick house with a green yard divided into patio area and paddocks for their animals. They owned approximately 15 alpaca: one breeding male, one guard male, and a couple of younguns, and the rest were all the breeding females.

Alpaca round-up

After some tea and sweets and chatting, we listened to a presentation and video on alpacas, all rather interesting and informative. But the best part was actually seeing the alpacas. We got to feed Jasper (the stud) and pat one of the babies. And then the bonus treat: buying some alpaca fibre for spinning. I purchased 200 grams of black-brown 2nd fleece (the younger the alpaca, the softer its fleece), and 200 grams of a nice white fleece.

We had lunch, swapped stories, and generally enjoyed the cool weather and pleasant environment. After a long train ride home, Mr Wiggins and I were enjoyably worn out.

So when do we buy the alpaca farm? joked Mr Wiggins as we headed home.

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Interesting alpaca facts that piqued me:

  • Alpacas eliminate in the same spot and will hold it in as long as possible until they can get to their designated toilet area.
  • They are self-defensive and can successfully fend off lone predators like foxes. For this reason they make great guard animals for sheep herds and chickens.
  • A lone alpaca with no other animals to bond with will sicken and die. Even sheep and goats are OK, as long as it's not a solitary animal.
  • Alpacas don't like arms reaching out to them and will spit. But if you hold your hands behind your back and hunch over slightly they won't find you threatening and will come over out of curiosity.

I also mucked around in iMovie with some video clips I shot on my camera at the farm. This little frivolity is the result.