My recent visit to an Alpaca ranch in Temecula, CA really caught me by surprise. I’m not sure that I’d even seen an alpaca before in the flesh so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Kinda like a llama, maybe?
The Alpaca Hacienda is home to about 60 alpacas, most of which are there as boarded animals and let’s just say they’re all living high on the hog. The owner used to be an elementary school teacher and when contemplating a career switch, decided to raise alpacas (well of course!). She told us that her husband saw the idea in a Costco magazine, of all places. Their hacienda is atop a hill with beautiful views, their personal home, and large divided sections of land where the alpacas are separated usually by age or gender. Each alpaca is unique in color, type of fiber (that’s alpaca talk for fur) and personality. They’re a cousin to llamas and are a bit smaller. I didn’t expect them to but they really stole my heart!
Now, I imagine you may be wondering if they spit, and they can, but they never did at us, only to each other if they were getting vexed about not getting a fair share of food.
They are so amazing! And incredibly soft. They were originally brought to the US from South America in the 1980’s and in the decade or so that they were brought in, they were meticulously recorded and catalogued. To this day the genealogy lines are maintained and recorded.
The Alpaca Hacienda is an amazing home for these animals and the owner happily gives tours by appointment. To boot, there is a boutique on the grounds with anything you can imagine made from the fiber of her alpacas. My daughter picked out a bunny!