It’s not your typical livestock operation here at Lasso the Moon, as you won’t find any cows, pigs or even horses roaming around. Instead, you’ll likely run into one of the more than twenty-five alpacas raised on this farm. While you are encouraged to pet and feed them on one of the many free tours they offer throughout the year, that’s not the only thing they hope you take out of the experience.
“We are really into the educational part of it. We don’t want you to just come out and think you’re just going to pet an alpaca and that’s the end of it,” says Owner, Holly Williams. “We want you to understand like the difference between an alpaca and a llama, the origins, where they come from, what their purpose is. So, you really learn all about all of that.”
Even though farming has always been the goal for Holly, exactly what type of animal that would be on that farm wasn’t as certain. That is until she came across the alpaca.
“Well, I grew up on a farm in Ohio. Met my city boy husband from Atlanta and I can only take so much of the city life. I needed some dirt to roll in. I have an art degree. So, I find myself through the textile industry trying to create a business through that. I thought maybe sheep, but once I met the alpaca, that was the end. Fell in love – tossing and turning in love,” says Williams.
That passion hasn’t faded one bit over the past twenty years, for an animal that not only makes a great companion, but also fairly easy to raise.
“They’re really fun and we want people to experience that part of them as well; that they are very sweet and gentle. They are beautiful animals. They’re very sweet animals. They don’t mean us any ill will whatsoever. They’re actually easy keepers as far as livestock goes. They really don’t eat a lot. It’s not like you’re trying to feed a cow or whatever. These guys, you can put four, to six, to eight, even sometimes ten on an acre and they’re fine,” says Williams.
However, that isn’t to say they don’t come without some challenges, including one in particular.
“Sheering. Nobody likes sheering. It’s not fun for the alpacas. It’s not fun for the human doing it. It can be very difficult, but it’s something you have to do, they can’t shed,” says Williams.
In the end, it is worth the effort, as it provides a unique material that everyone can wear and be comfortable in.
“Uniquely, alpaca is considered hypoallergenic. It has no lanolin. So, you should be able to wear alpaca even if you can’t wear sheep’s wool. It also has a very low prickle factor. So, like sheep’s wool, when it touches your skin, it can be very irritating and itchy. Alpaca has a much lower prickle factor. So, it’s much, much softer on your bare skin,” says Williams.
By: Damon Jones