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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

New Alpaca Product Collection for 2015




One Stop Shopping for all of your friends and family that everyone will love - socks, hats, blankets, and other gifts.
A dry foot is a comfortable foot.
Searching for a thick, comfortable, warm sock?  We now offer a soft, durable, casual alpaca sock created from 60% Baby Alpaca for unbelievable comfort and warmth, and 40% Acrylic for easy care.  Strong, odor-resistant and machine wash and dry, these socks are silky soft and feel terrific on your feet throughout the day and night.
Look forward to wearing your socks all day.  They will work as hard as you do.
Want a comfortable, all day sock?  Cozy and comfortable, women love these with boots or clogs. No sweaty or sticky feel ALL DAY. We now offer a soft, durable, over the calf alpaca sock created from 40% Baby Alpaca for unbelievable comfort and warmth.

THERAPEUTIC SOCKS - LOW RISE

Have Cold Feet?  Want to Feel Better?

Great for those who do not want a restrictive feel around their lower legs, especially for diabetics, Neuropathy and Rheumatoid arthritis. A warm and exceptionally soft sock with less restrictive ribbing around the ankle to help promote blood flow circulation. Unlike our Mid-Calf and Tall Therapeutic Styles, this design stays low on the leg with a 4" ankle rise - enough to keep you warm, but does not restrict.
Designed for:         
  • Cold Feet
  • Neuropathy
  • Large Calves
  • Sensitive Skin
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Diabetes

ALPACA & WOOL FELTED INSERTS AND SOLES

Look forward to stepping into your winter boots and shoes with  warm, natural alpaca fiber inserts.
Warm felt insoles are amazing for all outdoor activities, including – skiing, hiking, hunting, fishing, snowmobiling.

 Turn up the temperature no matter the weather.

Of course, we have all of our other great products available as well.

We are an alpaca farm with 150 quirky alpacas, 10 enthusiastic employees and thousands of amazing alpaca products. After 15 years of experience, we offer hand crafted alpaca products from local knitters, crocheters and weavers - including hats, scarves, blankets as well as high-tech alpaca socks and fabrics. We also sell composted alpaca manure as a rich fertilizer. Alpacas of Montana is a fully vertically integrated alpaca farm and we love designing high quality alpaca products.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

How to have an Alpaca Farm Visit that everyone - including you - enjoys




One of the most interesting parts of my job is to host farm visits for those wanting a one-on-one experience with alpacas.  After 11 years of having a little bit of everyone – from potential alpaca buyers and classrooms to nursing homes and pre-vet students – I have a general checklist I find helpful when getting ready for a day of newcomers on the farm.

  1. Trust your surroundings.  Is your farm moderately picked up so that you won’t be embarrassed that general equipment is lying around your farm? Let alone anyone getting hurt.  Our dogs LOVE to be creative on what they can chew on – and seem to race how quickly each other can destroy boxes…halters…rake handles…  I suggest a quick pick up around the area to have a clean, safe environment to enter with your sometimes not-so-farm-savvy city-folk guests.
  2. What is the purpose the visit – for you and for them?  Don’t bother giving them the pitch of how wonderful alpacas are to raise if it’s a grandmother with grandchildren just looking for an outdoor afternoon together.   If it’s a school visit, we usually send an information sheet ahead of time for the teacher to briefly go over alpacas, where they came from and how their fleece is utilized.  In a school setting, kids are relatively focused on the abstract idea of an alpaca.  Once they are on the farm, comprehension of all useful facts seems to plummet.  We have tractors to climb on, dogs to pet and alpacas to feed.  An alpaca’s South American origins are of little value to a third grader at this point.   What we usually do is bring either the buyer inside our house or the kids / business group in our front lawn and give about 10-15 minutes of information about the alpacas before they see any of the animals.  We talk about when they have babies, shearing, the greatness of alpaca fiber.  This way, many questions will be asked and answered ONCE instead of multiple times by many people.



  3. Which brings me to my next topic – information.  If you ask 10 alpaca farmers the same question, you will get 20 different answers.  If you are new to the business, research the best you can the most Frequently Asked Questions.  Tell them about your experiences. Let people know if you do not have the answer, but you will follow up.  This is a great excuse to re-contact the visitors in a couple of days and follow up as potential customers in the future.
  4. What is your timeframe?  Our farm visits usually wrap up in 45-50 minutes.  What do you want to do with your guests?  Feed the alpacas?  Catch them and be hands on?  Look at fleece? See products?  Have an idea of what you would like to go over before they get to your door.
  5. Kid appropriate – what is the age range of the kids that will be attending?   What is their background?  Some schools are all about the birds and the bees and others do not want to cover that topic at all.  On occasion, some our ladies and gents get a little frisky on each side of the fence.  Separate them before hand if you do not want to talk about breeding.
  6. Is your bathroom ready for mass usage?  Over the 11 years, probably a thousand different people have been in my downstairs bathroom.  Clean it before and after.  Just saying…
  7. Remind guests to dress appropriately for the weather and the farm.  In Montana, muck boots can be a fashion statement.  Those from a big city may think otherwise.  I have offered boots to many visitors that were wearing patent leather shoes, as they readily absorb odor.  This is a nice courtesy to this person as well as everyone they are driving / flying with that is not that impressed with a continued alpaca smell.
  8. Spitting – our alpacas are well adapted to people.  But if we have 80 alpacas vying for little hands with feed in them, there could be some crossfire.  You may want to warn your visitors as you deem appropriate the likelihood of this green phenomenon. 
  9. Are you going to be hands-on?  We usually catch an alpaca or two to touch, check out the teeth and toes and just to be close.  Do you have an alpaca ready for this?  You may want to do some intensive work in the days leading up to the farm visit if this is part of the tour.  And, have the alpaca(s) already caught instead of chasing it in the pasture.
  10. Dogs.  We have guard dogs.  They are big, loving and can be intimidating.  Our Turkish Anatolians are highly socialized with kids as well as adults.  However, some guard dogs
    may be more protective than you would like during a farm visit.  I would address this with the person setting up the appointment and if there is an issue with a dog – or a visitor is afraid of dogs, then keep the dog out of the way so it is not a distraction or a potential issue.
  11. Make sure they have contact information to know how they can get a hold of you – or your products – in the future.  We have cards we give out at the end of the tour to ensure they know our website and the stores we sell at.
  12. Insurance.  Alpacas are sweet, cute and friendly.  Who could they hurt? A strategically placed kick can really sting, as can tripping in a hole, falling down a staircase, cutting a hand on a pitchfork or toenail clippers.  Talk to your insurance agent and make sure you are covered for farm visits.


Farm visits are a great way to show people how and why you have alpacas in your life.  They are unique and most of the world will never see one, let alone feed and pet this furry beast.  Prepare for your visit and your happy guests will remind you why you love your alpacas. 


We are an alpaca farm with 150 quirky alpacas, 10 enthusiastic employees and thousands of amazing alpaca products. After 15 years of experience, we offer hand crafted alpaca products from local knitters, crocheters and weavers - including hats, scarves, blankets as well as high-tech alpaca socks and fabrics. We also sell composted alpaca manure as a rich fertilizer. Alpacas of Montana is a fully vertically integrated alpaca farm and we love designing high quality alpaca products.






Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A Farm Open House - 2,300 people at my house in 2 days

For our eighth year in a row, we held our Open House as a community event.  This year, we needed to push back our usually Last Weekend of September date to go to my sister-in-law's wedding in San Francisco.

Naturally the usual weekend was warm and sunny, about 70F.  By the time the next weekend rolled around for our event, it was cold and drizzly, making the barn a safe haven from the teasing winter elements.

Would people still come?  Who knows.  We hoped for the best.  I'm not sure if I would have ventured out in the cold to walk in a pasture. But they did - in hoards - to a total of 2,300+ people scooping their single allotted amount of alpaca feed at the gate and coming to greet the alpacas.

881 people on Saturday, the other 1,500 visitors on Sunday.





The alpacas were fantastic.  Those who wanted the treats and attention hung around the gate, going from person to person to nibble food and then move on.  Those that were not as enthusiastic about the influx of people stayed further out.

Farm days is fun, full of questions and details and a lot of co-ordination.  We look forward to more stories on the farm and enjoy a brief hiatus from the usual Autumn days.

We are an alpaca farm with 150 quirky alpacas, 10 enthusiastic employees and thousands of amazing alpaca products. After 15 years of experience, we offer hand crafted alpaca products from local knitters, crocheters and weavers - including hats, scarves, blankets as well as high-tech alpaca socks and fabrics. We also sell composted alpaca manure as a rich fertilizer. Alpacas of Montana is a fully vertically integrated alpaca farm and we love designing high quality alpaca products.



Friday, July 31, 2015

Alpaca Requirements - A Supply Checklist for Raising Alpacas

I love alpacas!  Many people love alpacas.  But what supplies / requirements are there to keep alpacas happy?  This checklist is going to vary depending on where you live, your weather and farm set-up, but these are some basic items and would take a look prior to having your alpacas on your farm:

Barn Requirements -  For the most part, alpacas like to be out and about, not cooped up in a barn.  These animals do not need a big, fancy barn, but do need at least a 3 sided shelter to get out of the wind and rain.  That could be a lean-to or something less conventional they can enter that will protect them from harsh elements.

Good fencing - field fencing with lots of gates

Hay and Feed -  Alpacas cannot process poor quality hay that is readily consumed by cows and horses.  They need about 10-12% protein to help sustain most alpacas.  We use 2nd cutting grass alfalfa for our year round feed.

Call around before you need a veterinarian and see who has experience / is interested in working on alpacas.  Even in our Montana ranching area, vets willing to work on alpacas are few and far between.  Call and establish a relationship with them once you decide on getting alpacas.


There are a variety of items that we have received from the Useful Lama Items store and Quality Llama Products that are worth looking at.  Those that have a ranch store nearby may be able to get a couple of these items, but they are often comparable in price online and have worked well for us.  (*Please note, we are in no way affiliated with these companies...nor do we receive a referral fee.  It just nice to know where you can find one-stop-shopping for your alpacas.

Useful Lama and Alpaca Items

Quality Llama Products

Amish Fixed or X-Style Halters - We get the adult alpaca size, and they usually fit our 5-6 month olds to our largest males heads.  No need for different size halters.


Feed Buckets (Pans), Metal Scoop, 5 gallon bucket - can use any kinds, not just what this store offers.

Wheel barrow and/ or sled - removing manure and putting out feed

Insulated Alpaca Coats - some combination of extra small, small, and medium - very helpful, especially if the cria is born in the morning or on a cold day, even in the Summer


Alpaca Neonatal Care book - Highly suggested!


Imported BBN Shears - Not immediately essential, but will be needed in the future.  You can pick these up at Murdochs.  We use them to trim top nots and tidy up the facial hair.  Do not go for a lower quality shearer, or you will be frustrated many times over when you are clipping your alpaca.

Toenail Trimmer and Holster -  Needed for trimming toes every couple of months.  When you pick up the alpacas, be sure the seller goes over how to trim their toes.


Cria Kit - This is essential kit.  You can order one, with a coat, or assemble everything individually listed.  Buying it in one stop is convenient and helps you be prepared for all the crias to come.


Thermometer - You can get these anywhere. Wal-Mart has them for $3.  Get a soft-tip thermometer. One comes in the cria kit.


Pritchard Nipple - for nursing a baby - Can be picked up at Murdochs as well.  One comes with the cria kit.  Necessary in case the baby isn't immediatey drinking within 24 hours.


Cria Coat - Comes with the cria kit.  Its nice to have at least 1 on hand.

If you are going to register you alpacas, you need to contact the Alpaca Registery and become affiliated with them.  You will need an ARI account # from the Alpaca Registry.  www.alpacainfo.com

Alpaca Salt -  This one has become a little trick for us.  We have used a brand from Purina as well as Stillwater Minerals.  Shipping is expensive though.

Teeth trimming - yes, your alpacas teeth will always grow if they are not aligned right with the pallet.  If your alpacas have bucky teeth in their future, we suggest using the Alpaca Tooth-O-Matic.  Not cheap, but we have used ours for 13 years - and counting.

Shearing - Hire someone!  They have everything needed to shave your alpacas.

Of course, there is always, more, but these are on the top of my list for monthly, if not daily, uses.

Here is another Top 10 List you might want to look at...


We are an alpaca farm with 150 quirky alpacas, 10 enthusiastic employees and thousands of amazing alpaca products. After 15 years of experience, we offer hand crafted alpaca products from local knitters, crocheters and weavers - including hats, scarves, blankets as well as high-tech alpaca socks and fabrics. We also sell composted alpaca manure as a rich fertilizer. Alpacas of Montana is a fully vertically integrated alpaca farm and we love designing high quality alpaca products.