Know much about Alpacas? Sure, you’ve no doubt seen these cute hairy animals before, but we bet there’s a lot you don’t know about them.
According to our trusty friends at Wikipedia, an alpaca is a domesticated species of the South American camelid that resembles a small llama. They were bred specifically for their fibre which, similar to wool, is used for making knitted and woven items. Alpacas are generally kept in herds that graze on the level heights of the Andes of southern Peru, northern Bolivia, Ecuador and northern Chile. So what’s all of this got to do with Yass Valley you ask?
Some Yass Valley locals are raising Alpacas and they are doing an exceptional job at keeping their herd happy and healthy. Marchmont Alpacas was established in 2005 by Anne and Barry’s Ranyard on their 40 acre property, just outside of Yass. Anne and Barry began working with these beautiful animals after they retired and were searching for something to keep them active. After visiting an open day they took home four alpacas. Within twelve months they had 30 and today they run around 90-100 head at a time.
If you visit the farm you can see the adults alpacas and if you are lucky, the baby ‘crias’. Various products are created from the fleece including throws, clothing, toys and fleece for spinners to create yarn. You can purchase such products from the Yass Valley Information Centre.
In the nearby town of Bowning, Bob Richardson run’s Clearview Alpacas farm visits. Bob operates a showpiece stud at his 120 acre property ‘Argyle Park’ and welcomes visitors for a hands-on alpaca experience. The farm also has a small flock of Dorper sheep, chooks, birds, rabbits and visiting kangaroos and wallabies. In the gift shop, visitors can feel the fleece and purchase products including clothing, home-wares and wool.
Visits to either farm is by appointment only, except during advertised open days.