Home PRINCIPAL Celebrate Green Alpacas this Earth Day

Celebrate Green Alpacas this Earth Day

by Soraya Alcalá
Alpaca EMEDIA

Alpacas come in 16 official colors, but they are all green!

Sensitive to their environment in every respect, alpacas have soft padded feet instead of hooves and can leave even the most delicate terrain undamaged. Damage to topsoil decreases long-term soil fertility and, in the process, the soil is eroded and weed invasion is encouraged.

Alpacas prefer to eat tender grasses, which they do not pull up by the roots. Lacking upper teeth, alpacas “cut” the grass with their bottom teeth and upper palate. This vegetation cutting encourages the plant’s growth. Because they are modified ruminants with a three-compartment stomach, alpacas convert grass and hay to energy very efficiently, and stop eating when they are full, further preserving the landscape on which they live.

However, alpacas do not mind eating brush, fallen leaves and other “undesirable” vegetation, leaving the “good stuff” for species that do not have the stomach to digest such roughage.

Alpacas’ pellet-like droppings are PH balanced, and an excellent, natural, slow release, low odor fertilizer. This rich fertilizer is perfect for growing fruits and vegetables. Because alpacas consolidate their feces in one or two communal spots in the pasture, it is easy to collect and compost, and the spread of parasites is controlled.

While alpacas are environmentally friendly (and even beneficial) to the land, what makes them even more “green” is their end product… alpaca fiber. They produced five to ten pounds of luxurious fiber. No chemicals are employed either during feeding or during the industrial production of alpaca fleece into fiber. Alpacas require no insecticides, herbicides and fertilizers which pollute the groundwater.

Making this animal even more desirable to animal lovers looking to start a green business, alpacas are shorn, without harm, every twelve to eighteen months.

All fiber from an alpaca can be used. Even the fiber from the lower legs, belly, neck, etc. is being used for things such as natural weed mats to be placed around trees. Alpaca fiber is biodegradable.

This 100% natural fiber comes in 16 official colors, offering a full array of choices with no chemical dyes required. If dying is desired, only 20% of a normal dye quantity is required.

An ever-growing American herd and source of fiber is on the horizon for this sustainable industry.

For more information about the Alpaca Owners Association or to find an alpaca farm 
or ranch near you to visit, go to www.alpacainfo.com

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