Alpacas are kept for their soft and luxurious fleece. The UK fibre industry is in its infancy but to become fully sustainable the National herd needs to grow substantially.
Alpaca fleece is known as the ‘fibre of the Gods’ – sadly not all alpaca is soft handling and fine, however, there is a use for all Grades of fibre. Alpaca is measured in microns (µ) which is one-millionth of a meter. Human hair is approximately 40-75 micron. Alpacas come in 23 recognised colours, live for 20-25 years and timid yet inquisitive members of the camelid family.
Huacaya fibre grows perpendicular to the body (similar to sheep) while suri fibre hangs down in locks. Alpaca fibre is almost lanolin free, hypoallergenic and fire retardant. It has fabulous insulating properties whilst also being able to wick moisture away from the body; is lightweight & durable; it can be blended with other mediums or used alone. It is a highly desirable natural fibre which can command significant financial rewards.
Alpaca fibre is harvested once a year at shearing in late Spring and early Summer. fleece has many uses ranging from yarns to woven fabric, clothing and furnishings, handicrafts as well as commercial goods.