• BASIC INFORMATION ON ALPACA

    White Wacayo Baby

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    White Suri baby

    2/21

    Huacayo brothers

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    Future brown star

    4/21

    Outstanding LFY Suris

    5/21

    Pure black Alpacas

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    Pure black Alpacas grazing

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    Pure Black Alpacas grazing

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    Pure Black Alpacas grazing

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    Pure Black Alpacas grazing

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    Tuis at Colca Lodge

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    Mixed colors Alpacas

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    White Huacayos Tuis

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    Wasis

    14/21

    Black Wasi

    15/21

    Studs

    16/21

    Studs indoors

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    Studs indoors

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    Mixed colors Alpacas

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    Mixed colors Alpacas

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    Huacayos and Suris in Winter time

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    The Alpaca, whose scientific name is Lama Pacos, is the most numerous of the four south american camelid species. With a population of approximately 4 million in Peru, representing 75% of the world's alpacas, they provide the main sustenance for thousands of families living in the higher parts of the andes.

    Alpacas measure between 1,20 and 1,50 meters in height (4 to 5 ft) and weigh between 45 and 79 kilograms (99 to 174 lb). Their profile is smaller and less angular than that of the llama and they bear a characteristic fringe of hair over the forehead.

    In the Peruvian “sierra”, at locations over 4000 meters (13120 ft) above sea level among impressive landscapes, where the difference in temperature between night and day may be as much as 30 Celsius Degrees (54 Fahrenheit Degrees), thousands of rural families raise herds of alpacas as has been the custom for thousands of years. Their main income is derived from the sale of the fiber which they shear from their alpacas each year.

    There are two varieties of alpaca: the Huacayo and the Suri. The Huacayo is the more numerous type in Peru, and represents 93% of the alpaca population. Its fiber is relatively short, crimped, dense, and bulky; it covers almost the entire body, leaving exposed only the face and feet, which are covered with short fur. The Suri Alpaca has straight, silky hair which is long and exceptionally lustrous.

    The Alpaca is shorn with scissors generally once a year during the shearing season which runs from November to April. The production per animal varies greatly, but a general average is 5 pounds (2,3 kg) per animal, although some specimens may yield a fleece weighing as much as 15 pounds (6,8 kg).

    The fiber occurs in a variety of colors (up to 22) but is more uniform than that of the llama and ranges from black to white with intermediate shades of grays and browns. This is a characteristic which cannot be found in other natural 'noble' fibers used in textile manufacturing.

    The fiber is manually sorted according to its fineness into grades such as royal alpaca (finer than 19 microns), baby alpaca (22,5 microns), super fine alpaca (25,5 microns), huarizo (29 microns), coarse (32 microns) and mixed pieces (short fibers, generally coarser than 32 microns).

    The names given to these grades do not necessarily reflect the age of the animals or any phenotypic characteristic. The grade called baby, for example, refers to products (tops, yarns, fabrics, etc.) made from fibers whose average diameter is 22,5 microns. However, this grade does not necessarily come from baby animals; it may well come from an adult specimen with particularly fine hair.

    Each grade is used to create different products such as fabrics, scarfs, pullovers, blankets, carpets and so on, and may also be blended with other fibers, usually of natural origin.

    Alpaca fiber can be processed on both worsted and woolen systems, enabling fabrics ranging between heavy tweeds and fine gabardine to be produced. Alpaca fiber does not break, fray, stain or accumulate charges of static electricity, and is easy to wash.

    Alpaca fiber can be processed on both worsted and woolen systems, enabling fabrics ranging between heavy tweeds and fine gabardine to be produced. Alpaca fiber does not break, fray, stain or accumulate charges of static electricity, and is easy to wash.

    Raw alpaca fiber is relatively clean and provides a yield between 87% and 95% after processing, whereas yields from sheep wool are between 43% and 76%. Furthermore, processing alpaca is simpler and cheaper than processing other animal fibers owing to the absence of grease or lanolin in the fleece and, unlike cashmere, no de-hairing process is required.

  • FACTORS WHICH INFLUENCE THE VALUE OF ALPACA

    FINENESS
    This is an inheritable genetic characteristic. The finer the fiber, the higher the price.
    COLOR
    White fiber commands a higher price among industrial firms because it can be dyed in pastel colors or to any other desired shade. For craft producers, naturally pigmented fiber is more valuable.
    FIBER LENGTH
    Fiber length determines whether the material is more suitable for woolen or worsted processing.
    YIELD
    Two aspects are important here: the fleece weight and its degree of purity.
    IMPURITIES IN THE FIBER
    Higher prices are obtained for cleaner fiber.
    DIET FACTORS
    These affect the growth and fineness of the fiber.
  • ALPACA FIBER HAS THE FOLLOWING NOTABLE TEXTILE PROPERTIES

    NON-FLAMMABILITY
    The fiber will not burn unless it is in direct contact with a flame.
    ELASTICITY AND STRENGTH
    Alpaca fiber has a high strength and good elastic properties, comparable with those of sheep wool and other animal fibers.
    MOISTURE ABSORBENCY
    The absorption of atmospheric humidity is low.
    THERMAL PROPERTY
    The structure of the alpaca fiber makes it thermally insulating, so it can be used in different climatic conditions.
    FELTING
    Alpaca fiber is less prone to felting than sheep wool or other animal fibers.
    SOFTNESS (HANDLE)
    Alpaca fiber has a structure which gives it a very soft handle, comparable to that of sheep wool 3 or 4 microns finer.
    VISUAL PROPERTIES
    Especially in the case of overcoats, alpaca fabric provides an excellent drape, finish, natural luster and texture; it remains unchanged in appearance even after a very long time.
  • HUARIZO

    Huarizo: in Peru, the name 'Huarizo' is generally applied to a cross between an alpaca and a llama. This hybrid animal has rather coarse fiber and the phenotypic characteristics of both llama and alpaca. In the upper regions of the Andes, where the raising of alpacas is in the hands of families of herdsmen with very scarce resources, herds in which alpacas and llamas are mixed are commonly found; these give rise to the appearance of huarizos. For industrial purposes, huarizo is a grade of alpaca fiber which does not necessarily come from this hybrid animal. The name is given to products (tops and yarns) where the average fiber diameter is between 28 and 29 microns; the component material may come entirely from a purebred alpaca.