Alpacas are a fiber-producing member of the camelid family raised exclusively for their soft and luxurious wool. Alpacas produce one of the world's finest and most luxurious natural fibers. It is clipped from the animal without causing it injury. Soft as cashmere and warmer, lighter and stronger than wool, it comes in more colors than any other fiber producing animal (approximately 22 basic colors with many variations and blends). This cashmere-like fleece, once reserved for Incan royalty, is now enjoyed by spinners and weavers around the world.

The Alpaca Fiber Cooperative of North America (AFCNA) accepts fleece from its members, and turns the precious textile into quality alpaca garments and products. Members benefit from a ready outlet for their fiber, while the cooperative works to increase awareness of and demand for this every day luxury.

  1. BulletHow many ounces of fiber will one alpaca produce?

Each shearing produces approximately 5-10 pounds of fiber per alpaca, per year. An adult alpaca might produce 50 to 90 oz. of first-quality fiber as well as 50 to 100 oz. of second and third quality fiber. Some alpacas already achieve, or exceed, these levels.

  1. BulletWho buys fiber?

Alpaca fiber is sold several ways. Hand-spinners and fiber artists buy raw fleece. Knitters often purchase alpaca yarn. Fiber Cooperatives Mills collect alpaca fiber and process it on behalf of the producer.

  1. BulletWhat is an ounce of fiber worth?

This varies. In its raw state, an ounce of alpaca varies from $2.00-$5.00. Each stage of the process (cleaning, carding, spinning, knitting, finishing, etc) adds more valuable to the fiber. As a finished garment, it can sell for $10.00 per oz. Hand knit goods are more desirable and may sell for much more.

  1. BulletSpecial qualities of alpaca fiber

Alpaca fiber is stronger and more resilient than even the finest sheep’s wool. Unlike sheep’s wool; however, alpaca contains no lanolin and is ready to spin right off the animal. Alpaca fiber is considered hypo-allerginic and will not irritate the skin. This is because the scales of fiber lie down against the shaft of each hair follicle. Alpaca wool is also considered to be a better insulator than wool.

  1. BulletHow often must an alpaca be shorn?

Alpacas are shorn once a year, usually in spring. At Brookfarm, we typically have our shearer in at the very end of April or first week of May. Shearing is the biggest maintenance required and usually takes around five to ten minutes per animal for an experienced alpaca shearer. When you purchase alpacas from Brookfarm, we invite you back with your alpacas for  your shearing day.

A very small percentage of alpacas are shorn standing up, the preferred method of shearing is to lay the animals on their side and restrain their legs with a tether at each end. This protects the shearer and the alpaca from being accidentally cut. One side of the animal is shorn and it is then rolled over and shorn on the other side. Depending on the density of the fleece, alpacas cut anywhere between 3 and 10 pounds of fleece. Some of the high quality stud males will produce higher yields.

  1. BulletNow what do you do with the fleece?

Alpaca fiber is highly prized for its very lovely softness, insulation, and wear; not to mention the variety of 22 natural colors. Alpaca is processed into fashion garments such as suits, jackets, skirts, and coats. Clothing knitted from alpaca fleece is soft, light and warm. Alpaca is also used to produce luxurious bedding; while the coarser and shorter fiber can be used to make rugs.

The alpaca fiber industry is still on the cutting edge and there is great demand for this fiber, far exceeding the supply.

Alpaca owners usually become a member of the Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association's (AOBA) fiber co-op, Alpaca Fiber Cooperative of North America (AFCNA). The co-op is made up of shareholders that are alpaca breeders.

Some alpaca owners hand spin their own fiber, while others process it into yarn for their own use to wholesale to their local yarn shop, or to sell directly from their farm store.. Commercial prices depend on quality with a premium paid for finer micron fiber. Sales to home spinners can be considerably higher.

About Alpacas   Maintenance/Care   Characteristics    Fiber   Reproduction   Earth-Friendly   The Lifestyle    History   Etiquette



About Alpacas          

Maintenance & Care of Alpacas                                     

Alpaca Characteristics                                   

The Fiber                                   



The Alpaca Lifestyle                                   

A Brief History                                   

Alpaca Etiquette           

Debbie & Mark Emery
Glen Ellen, California
Tel & Fax:  707.996.0350