Sunny Knoll Farm Alpacas

Alpaca Facts

At Sunny Knoll Alpacas we strive to educate the public, the consumer, current and prospective alpaca owners in the facts about the alpacas, the fiber, the products we produce and the importance of knowing where your products come from and why.

About Alpacas

-Alpacas are members of the camelid family, related to the Llama.
-They were first imported to the U.S. in 1984 from Peru, Bolivia & Chile.
-Alpacas come in 22 natural colors
-Their feet are padded and do no damage to the soil.
-They are low maintenance livestock, eat & drink less than other livestock.
-They require less room than other livestock. (3 to 10 alpacas per acre depending on where you live)
-They nibble gently at native grasses and do no harm. They are clean and cleanup is easy. They make communal "poop piles," choosing favorite locations which they all use. A useful organic by-product, immediate compost!
-They produce a sustainable luxury product: fiber!
-They are smart and trainable and funny.
-They have a gentle nature and a permanent little smile.

Our Farming Practices

The farm came about as an extension of being a fiber artist for many years. To truly know your fiber you can't just breed for it, you need to use it to understand it.  Spin, Weave, Felt, Knit & Crochet are only the surface of knowing the fiber. 
We run a small herd of under 30 alpacas, using all the fiber they produce to create our diverse, hand crafted products.
We are honored to be producers with Mass Local Food.  Although selling only our fiber and hand crafted products we make from it, MLF is a wonderful organization that promotes sustainable and organic farming practices.  To become a MLF producer one must go though an application process, interview, board review and farm inspection.  In our case, this included an inspection of our yarns and crafting equipment as well, to be sure we are truly producing the products. No reselling items, No manufactured items, No mass produced items, No imported items, No items from a fiber pool or cooperative are permitted.  Shop with us and other fantistic farms on MLF with the utmost confidence.

Here's a few facts about us:
~ We are a Family Owned & Operated Sustainable Farm
~ We Hand Make over 95% of the Alpaca Products We Sell. We do not mass produce, manufacture or import items. We do not blend our alpaca fiber with known sources of allergens. Our products are properly labeled. 
~ We Offer Certified Alpaca Therapy
~ We Offer Customer Buyer & Referral Rewards
~ We Offer Fundraising Programs
~ We Offer Product Guarantees
~ We Offer Alpaca & Fiber Education Seminars 
~ We Offer Fiber Art Classes

Fiber Facts
A few facts about Alpaca Fiber 
~ Alpaca is hypoallergenic and does not contain lanolin or the prickle of wool.
~ Alpaca is a semi-hollow core fiber providing warmth in the cold and cooling properties in the heat.
~ Alpaca fiber is softer than cashmere and will not loose it's luster over time.
~ Alpacas were domesticated by the Incas over 6000 years ago. With their fine fiber only worn by Incan Royalty.
~ In many Peruvian market places Alpaca items are blended with other fibers including and not limited to sheeps' wool, yet sold as only Alpaca.  Foreign labeling laws are different . Buyer beware and know and speak to your source.

Fiber Grading

Alpaca fiber can be graded according to the micron count. A micron (1/25,000 of an inch) is the unit of measure of the diameter of the fiber. To have the fiber tested for Micron, samples are sent out to be laser scanned by an independent testing lab.

Grade 1  Ultra Fine  (Royal baby)         < 20 microns
Grade 2  Superfine  (Baby)                     20-22.9 microns
Grade 3  Fine                                        23-25.9 microns
Grade 4  Medium                                   26-28.9 microns
Grade 5  Intermediate ( Adult)                 29-32 microns
Grade 6  Robust                                    32.1-35 microns  Alpaca Fertilizer

Alpaca Manure

Alpaca manure is the best natural fertilizer for vegetable
gardens, flower gardens and  house plants.  It's lower in organic matter than manure from
other farm animals, but will nonetheless improve soil and water retention.  Alpaca manure does not have to be "aged or cured". It will not "burn" the plants it comes in contact with and can be applied as a
bedding mix, topper or compost tea. Safe to use Alpacas are not known to carry E-Coli 157.

The alpaca is a modified ruminant, their 3-stomach digestive system processes their diet of some grains, but mostly grass or hay, so efficiently seeds do not survive to become weeds in your garden, as with cow or
horse manure.  They are ?natural, organic composters.  It also has comparatively high levels of nitrogen and potassium which are major plant nutrients, a clear indication of good fertilizer value.

The fact that alpaca waste is a great recyclable by-product is another earth-friendly aspect of alpaca farming. It is one of our sustainable practices to utilize everything our herd can produce.