Aside from fiber for spinning and knit-ting,
many end products such as socks,
hats, bedding, dryer balls, fertilizer, and
felted soaps are becoming popular.
“I found a really good mentor who
taught me how to shear and spin yarn,”
says Tanya Hiltz, owner of Triple H Farms
in Lake Waccamaw. “I specialize in unique
yarns, experimenting with small beaded
crystals and artificial flowers or pearls. It’s
more tedious, but it makes them really unique.”
Alpaca products are hypoallergenic because the fiber contains
“The dryer balls help people with cancer or others who can’t
have chemicals against their bodies,” Wilson says. “They draw mois-ture
out of clothes, fluff your clothes up, and can cut drying time
up to 30 percent, making them more earth-friendly.”
A researcher team from Vanderbilt University have an alpaca
farm in rural Mercer, Tennessee studying the alpaca’s unique anti-bodies
that can potentially be usable as they relate to the enzyme
PPP2R5D in treating human patients with a diagnosis of autism,
Alzheimer’s disease and some cancers.
Alpacas are friendly to the
environment. They do not
pull grass from the ground,
they bite the tops. Unlike
heavy cattle, which can tear
up the soil, the soft-toed,
relatively lightweight alpacas
(averaging 150-180 pounds)
don’t stress the ground.
“They don’t disturb the
environment,” Peters says. “They don’t pull vegetation,
they bite it off, more like lawn mowers. They also have
a PH-balanced manure. People love it for their gardens.
It doesn’t have to be composted.”
Peters’ herd numbers 80; he hopes to package fer-tilizer
in the future. For now he, like other farmers, will
sell the manure by the bucket, or whatever container a
buyer brings along in a “serve-yourself” manner.
Alpacas can also be friendly to the bottom line.
They can be a great tax advantage for investors,
who buy animals that are boarded and agisted on
The AOAI website is full of helpful information, list-ing
tax publications to explore and stating some of the
benefits of farm ownership, citing expenses that can
be deducted or cash sheltered.
“Most importantly, you can depreciate your alpacas
each year,” Hooper says. “There are alpacas for every-one
and their business plan.”
SANDRA HOOPER SANDRA HOOPER
Top: Baby alpacas are called cria. Above and right:
Alpacas at Sandra Hooper’s former farm in Virginia.