My love for alpacas goes all the way back to 2007, when Aliens in America aired on TV. Remember that show? No? Well I don’t blame you because it only aired for one season… But alpacas lived in their small, suburban backyard. Before this show I had never even heard of an alpaca, but I have loved them ever since! I remember seeing one for the first time in real life during a family road trip to Colorado. I flipped out. They are so FLUFFY!
Fast forward 9 years I still had never been up close and personal with an alpaca until my cousin, Anna, threw me the most fabulous bachelorette party ever. It included all of my favorite things – coffee, brunch, fun, and an alpaca named Kuzco! It was the best surprise ever, and you can click here to read about the entire day on Anna’s blog.
Around the time of my bachelorette party, Colton and I were searching for apartments in the DFW area. I remember getting super excited when I found out that there were TWO alpaca farms within 7 miles of the apartment complex we loved. Because, you know, “alpaca farms” is a normal search term when looking for housing…
Anyways, I found out that both farms were hosting an open house for National Alpaca Farm Days and I just had to go. So I made calendar events with reminders for myself AND Colton, just to be sure we received them.
Well, this past Saturday finally came and we both woke up to calendar alarms reminding us to “Go pet alpacas!!!” And it was magical! Our first stop was McPaca Ranch, where they had the alpacas in a barn so we could go in and pet them. They even had a baby alpaca that still had its unsheared fur, and it was so soft and fluffy!
After the first visit, we went down the road to DJ’s Classic Alpacas. They had a lot more alpacas on this farm, and they were all out roaming the fields, just doing what alpacas do. We even saw one giving himself a dirt bath, and it was the best. thing. ever. There were also workers in the barn handspinning the alpaca wool into yarn. It was neat!
We talked to Jim, who owns the farm with his wife, and he told us a few interesting facts about alpacas:
- The major difference between alpacas and llamas is that alpacas weigh between 150-200 pounds, but llamas can weigh up to 500 pounds.
- Alpacas are not accustomed to the Texas heat, so they have to work hard to keep them cool. They do this with many large fans placed throughout the farm, but they also spray them down with water when it becomes unbearably hot (e.g. Texas).
- While water works great at keeping alpacas cool, you have to be careful not to allow the wool to stay wet continually because the wool will actually rot off of the animal.
- Jim told us that he has a few quirky alpacas that like to stand in water buckets pretty often. This eventually ends up rotting the wool off of the bottom of their legs. He calls them “bucket legs.”
After a fun-filled morning of alpacas, it was time to get on with our day. But Jim told us we are welcome back anytime to come pet the alpacas or help out on the farm. He even said I could sit in the field and take pictures of them. That would be delightful, and I just might have to take him up on that offer. 😉