Posted: Sep 29, 2013 5:31 PM by Keele Smith - MTN News
Updated: Sep 29, 2013 5:31 PM
We gave you a sneak peak inside the operation of Alpacas of Montana on Saturday, and now we are back on the farm on Sunday to tell you more about these fascinating creatures and why they're becoming more and more popular across the U.S.
Carol Maxey wants a pet Alpaca. She is one of nearly 1800 people to visit the animals over the last two days and she even got to pet one.
"I was trying to get my mom to trade fish, six fish for the little brown Alpaca," Maxey said.
"It felt really soft like my Alpaca teddy bear," she said.
Alpacas originated in South America and are relatives of both the camels and the llama.
In America as in most places, they are used strictly for their soft wool.
The owner of Alpacas of Montana, Sarah Budd said, "It's a hollow fiber so it traps in heat and wicks away moisture. It's also very strong with great tensile strength so it's not going to break down. So you can have an Alpaca blanket for years and years and years, same with socks, hats and gloves."
And that is precisely why the products practically sell themselves.
Monty Johnston and Amber Lea are from Portland, Oregon.
"It's rated for colder temperatures than wool and it's fire retardant. It doesn't itch, it's really soft, it doesn't itch at all," they said.
Alpacas of Montana is the largest Alpaca farm in the state. While the animals' coats make great products, they also make great pets.
"They're very low key and so kids can have them, they don't need any kind of protection from them, they're not aggressive, they don't spit or kick or bite," Budd said.
Since they don't need a lot of room, they keep practically live in one's backyard.
Budd said, "They eat grass, hay, pellets. They have three stomachs so they don't eat a whole lot. They only eat about a pound a day compared to a horse that eats about 15 pounds a day."
And that's good news for kids like Carol Maxey, who hopes to take on home.
"I want that little brown one because he's cute and the color of my Alpaca teddy bear," she said.
One of the owners of Alpaca of Montana said Alpacas are the second newest mammal on Earth, behind the mule.