Thursday, June 13, 2019

Baby Alpaca "Marco" enjoying being 2 days old - Video

Alpacas have a 11.5 month gestation, so when they are born they are ready to go in about 30 minutes.  Give them 2 days and they are full on playful and fun.  Watch Marco handing out with him mom Pogo and enjoying life in every way.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Alpaca Shearing - Cutting up our herd 6 minutes at a time - Alpaca Video

Each year, around the beginning of June, we need to shear our alpaca crew for the Summer. This helps them stay cool in the Summer and we can continue to make Socks, Hats and other products.

First, the "Blanket" is shorn off - where a saddle would go on a horse.  These are call "Firsts". This is the softest of all the fleece which will make hats, scarves and blankets.  Then the "Seconds" are sheared, which is the neck and legs to be turned into socks.  Last, the "Thirds" from the belly and chest will be made into felted soles and Laundry Dryer Balls.

The entire process takes about 6 minutes.

Here are a couple of quick videos from this year's alpaca fleece harvest:

Friday, May 17, 2019

Google Awards Alpacas of Montana as Economic Impact Recipient



[BOZEMAN] -- Today, Alpacas of Montana, Inc. announced that it was highlighted in Google’s tenth annual Economic Impact Report - a report that showcases how businesses, publishers and nonprofits across the United States are using Google search and advertising tools to connect with the people and communities they serve. This year, small businesses generated $164 Million in economic activity in Montana. By using Google products, businesses strengthened their online presence and were able to grow, bringing more money and jobs into the local economy.

“For small businesses in the United States, the web is the most powerful tool to attract new customers and support existing ones,” said Mary Ellen Coe, President of Google Customer Solutions. “We are proud that our search and advertising tools helped Alpacas of Montana, Inc. grow and contribute to the economy in Bozeman.”

After using Google’s tools and services Alpacas of Montana, Inc. saw significant results:
      Increase in website sales 101% and Amazon sales 79%
      Selling products in all 50 sales and 17 countries
      Product lines increased to over 300 SKUs
      YouTube, Instagram, Facebook presence continues to grow monthly

Google contributes to about 32% of our sales, which is essential.

To support more small businesses, Google launched its Grow with Google initiative to help create economic opportunity for Americans. Google’s draws on its history of building products, platforms, and services that help people and businesses grow. More about these resources are at 

Watch us grow at


Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Lake Titicaca - Puno, Peru - Floating Manmade Reed Uru Islands

Lake Titicaca is a large, deep lake in the Andes on the border of Bolivia and Peru, often called the "highest navigable lake" in the world. It sits at an elevation of 12,500 feet.  On the lake, various native Peruvians thrive on their own island - some made made naturally from the earth and other islands are made made reed islands.

Other cultures lived on Lake Titicaca prior to the arrival of the Incas. In 2000, a team of international archaeologists found the ruins of an underwater temple, thought to be between 1,000 and 1,500 years old, perhaps built by the Tiwanaku people.

Also in Lake Titicaca of Peru, another group lives on their man made reed islands.  The Uru or Uros are an indigenous people of Peru and Bolivia. They live on an approximate and still growing 120 self-fashioned floating islands in Lake Titicaca near Puno. They form three main groups: the Uru-Chipaya, Uru-Murato, and Uru-Iruito. 

The purpose of the island settlements was originally defensive; if a threat arose the floating islands could be moved. The largest island retains a watchtower almost entirely constructed of reeds.

According to Wikipedia:  

The islets are made of totora reeds, which grow in the lake. The dense roots that the plants develop and interweave form a natural layer called Khili (about one to two meters thick) that support the islands. They are anchored with ropes attached to sticks driven into the bottom of the lake. The reeds at the bottoms of the islands rot away fairly quickly, so new reeds are added to the top constantly, about every three months; this is what makes it exciting for tourists when walking on the island.[2] This is especially important in the rainy season when the reeds rot much faster. The islands last about thirty years.
Each step on an island sinks about 2-4" depending on the density of the ground underfoot. As the reeds dry, they break up more and more as they are walked upon. As the reed breaks up and moisture gets to it, it rots, and a new layer has to be added to it. It is a lot of work to maintain the islands. Because the people living there receive so many tourists now, they have less time to maintain everything, so they have to work even harder in order to keep up with the tourists and with the maintenance of their island.Tourism provides financial opportunities for the natives, while simultaneously challenging their traditional lifestyle.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Alpaca Body Language and Vocalizations

As with every being, alpacas have their own language. Some communication is easier to read than others and this is not exhaustive by any means, but here are the basics:

Even though her ears are back, she is relaxed and looking around, not angry or threatened

Ears back:  While this can mean an alpaca is frightened or angry, most of the time they are in a relaxed and listening.  Unlike a horse or dog that many of us are familiar with indicating you should back away from the animal, more often than not the alpaca is just repositioning its ears to hear. They are a preyed upon animal, so they always want to be aware no one is "sneaking up" on them.

Spitting:  The most popular association when people hear the word alpaca is spitting.  Just like every dog can bite, every alpaca can spit. However, if they are well socialized to people and their surroundings, chances are you will not be directly spit at by an alpaca.  I have a good record so far of 15 years and still have not been targeted.  However, people can be spit at when feeding pellets or treats.  Often the unwitting are caught in the crossfire of one or two alpacas trying to push off the others for food.  

There are two types of spit:  A head pointed up or out and air spitting as a warning.  The other is a green bile / grass/ hay loogie which is the follow-through often after a warning. Steer clear of both.

With the green spitting, this leads to the "bubba lip" of an alpaca - a highly unattractive 15-20 minutes of the alpaca's life while recovering from spitting and/ or fighting.  The bile tastes horrible in their mouth and they may try to nibble hay or grass to clean the pallet, but to no avail.  They just have to wait it out until the nasty taste is gone.  
A new cria nursing from its mother

This younger alpaca has its tail up in submission
Tail in the air:  This can mean different things.  1. If an adult male is doing this, he is often puffing himself up to other males or wooing the ladies to make him look bigger (See photo below).  2. A baby drinking its mother milk helps with bonding and indicates it is nursing.  Mothers with young cria will often nuzzle / lick the baby's bottom to stimulate the urge to drink.  3. If a younger animal approaches older males / llamas / adults, the tail may flip up.  This is submissive, communicating it is young / not a threat and a request not to be hurt. 

Cowboy with his tail up making himself look larger
Spit lips and showing the teeth:  Too often, the funny pictures of alpacas with buck teeth mean the owner has not taken care of this alpaca.  Alpaca teeth continuously grow and if they are not lined up with the pallet, they will jut out.  (See alpaca teeth article ) This can be remedied / corrected by trimming the teeth to line back up with the pallet over time. However, if you see teeth that are proper but showing, they are smelling you with their olfactories. Olfaction has many purposes, such as the detection of hazards, pheromones, and food. It integrates with other senses to form the sense of flavor.  They are sizing up who you are and what you have.

Fran splits her upper lift to smell what I have in my hand
Warning Whistle:  Alpacas make a high pitched sound if they are scared and/ or preceive danger.  This alerts the rest of the herd, including llamas, guard dogs and anyone else around that something is not right.  If there is significant danger (we had an elk herd come through our property one morning that incited this action) the alpacas bunch into a circle with the babies in the middle, llamas form a line between the alpacas and threat and the livestock guard dogs are in front as the first line of defensive.  This could be from a mountain or elk walking by to a neighbor dog or skunk.  If they do not like it, they will let out the warning call.  Even a ground squirrel giving the stink eye could evoke a warning call.

Humming:  Another more common sound is a hum.  They will hum in the barn, in pens, in the pasture when they are calm and slightly more when they are annoyed / distressed.  This recording is from 5 ladies we put in a next door pen to give medicine and they were waiting at the gate to be let back into the main pasture - slightly annoyed but not distressed.

A new mother will hum and click constantly to its baby for the first week or two of its life.  This lets the baby recognize its mother's voice in a sea of hundreds of alpaca legs in the pasture.

Clicking:  I hear this most often when our boys are on opposites of the fence - friends or foe - posturing to each other.  Or, someone is standing proudly on a manure / hay / snow pile showing off to the other lowly alpacas / llamas.  This usually evokes a game of king of the hill which is always fun to watch.

Pregnancy testing: To test if a female is pregnant, we bring a male back in with a female 4+ days after she has been bred.  If she is pregnant, she often spits and tries to get away.  If she is unsure or not pregnant and willing to breed, they often start sucking their teeth, have a quick blink of their eyes which become glazed over, and then sit down.  This means she is willing to breed and receptive hormonally to the male.  

More humming:  When alpacas are breeding, the male hums a song to the female.  Each has its own song.  This is essentially a longer, more enthusiastic version of the hum and some are quite creative in their vocals.

This covers the basics of what you might see on a walk or two through a herd of alpacas.  

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Win $100 in Alpaca Products - Subscribe Now!

New Lifestyle Alpaca Product Videos

Sometimes, the best way to show your product is in the field-   Let us know what you think of these videos:

Winter Morning

Snowshoeing in Bridger Canyon, Bozeman, Montana

Skiing at Showdown Winter Resort

A Cozy Day In

The Cold Weather System

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The Big Reason Millions Of Americans Are Ditching Traditional Socks For Compression Socks

The Big Reason Millions Of Americans Are Ditching Traditional Socks For Compression Socks
Monday, February 11, 2019 | By Steven DeCampo
Foot pain, no matter how much or how little it hurts, it sets a precedent for underlying health issues to come...
You would think that compression gear was for the elderly or just for athletes. This is no longer the case. In fact, millions of Americans have experienced foot pain related to the arch, heel, ankle, or plantar fascia. These episodes, no matter how short or how long, determine chronic issues later with varicose veins making an appearance. These visually show how hard your heart is working to pump oxygen to the furthest points of your body, one point being, your feet. With about two thirds of our lifetime being on our feet, you can imagine how important it is to actually take care of and spend on the importance of our feet.

Compression socks aren't necessarily sexy, but they downright WILL change your life to the point where you can't live without them. Flat out, if you have tired, achy feet... you will instantly see a difference in the anti fatigue properties and soothing qualities of compression. Work in a office and stuck in a chair? Or on your feet all day ready to take off your shoes? Well you don't have to be tired and in pain any longer. Luckily we found the solution.
Renowned Podiatrist says compression socks are more beneficial than traditional socks...
The new socks dramatically reduce swelling and pain in the heels. It soothes achy tired feet and helps with the circulation of blood flow so that your feet are getting enough oxygen.

See Frequently Asked Questions on Compression Socks

The difference is astonishing! It's amazing how easy and simple it is to put them on and feel the pain disappear. Perfect for hiking, sports, gym sessions, or even wearing to work. You WILL feel a world of difference in energy flow and pain relief.
We tested it out for ourselves…
As a guy who has put on some weight since my days in college, I have had foot pain for as long as I can remember. After work, I usually can't wait to take off my socks and shoes and just prop up my feet to just rest.

The usage was easier than I could have imagined. Simply put it on and feel the compression relief start to work! I went for a 3 hour hike on a trail near my house and thought I would feel my foot pain as usual, but this time was way different. There was no pain! The compression helps the blood flow so my feet feel refreshed and it supported the soles of my feet. My heels usually have a huge amount of weight and pain, but due to the support, I felt lighter on my feet. Normally after a hike, I would have to soak my feet, but wow, I could go for a run now! It literally made my feet feel like new!
Shop Now for Compression Socks

Thursday, January 31, 2019

A nice little Sunset-In-Montana-With-Alpacas Video

The sunset was amazing this particular January evening.  The lady alpacas (and one llama) were very enthusiastic about being fed treats.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Alpacas of Montana - Dry Fusion Technology Alpaca Products

We are a Montana based alpaca textile company creating high performance socks, hats, gloves, blankets and other clothing.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Sock History - How did socks come into existence?

The History Of Socks

You might find it hard to believe, but socks are probably the oldest type of clothing that is still in use today. Socks have been around since the Stone Ages, long before the concept of trousers or t-shirts existed. Nowadays, it seems to be the most overlooked part of an outfit, sometimes because people don’t know how to wear colourful socks. This may be the case today, but socks have had a pretty wild ride throughout history. They weren’t always so easy to come by and, for a long time, they were worn only by nobility. At one point in time London even had its own ‘sock police’. Makes you appreciate those battered old socks you have laying around a bit more, doesn’t it? Without further ado, I present to you the exciting sock history.

Sock History – The Beginnings

Going back to the Stone Ages, cca. 5000 BC, the first ‘socks’ that our cavemen ancestors wore probably looked nothing like what we have today. There aren’t any socks left over from that time but we have some clues as to what they might have looked like from cave paintings and archeological finds. It seems like these rudimentary socks were made from animal skins and pelts tied around the ankle.
Fast forward a few thousand years to the 8th century BC when socks are first mentioned in writing by the Greek poet Hesiod. In his poem, “Works and Days”, Hesiod mentions ‘piloi’, a type of sock made from matted animal hair worn under sandals.
Later on, the Romans would wrap their feet in strips of leather or woven fabric. Around the 2nd century AD they started sewing the pieces of fabric together and making fitted socks. They called these ‘udones’ and they are the first socks to resemble what we are wearing today.
The first woollen socks to be discovered were unearthed at Vindolanda in Northumbria and they date back to the 2nd century AD. They are a child-sized pair made from woven wool cloth meant to protect against the rough British weather. Roman tablets found at the site even include the instruction to “send more socks”.
Also around that time, the first knit socks were being made in Ancient Egypt. The earliest known surviving pair of knitted socks, made with a technique called naalbinding, dates from 300 – 500 AD and was found at Oxyrhynchus on the Nile in Egypt. The socks feature split toes and are designed to be worn with sandals.
By the 5th century AD, holy people of Europe would wear socks called ‘puttees’ which symbolized purity.

Left: A child’s woollen sock dating back to the 2nd century AD found at Vindolanda
Right: Knit socks from cca. 500 AD found in an Ancient Egyptian tomb

Sock History – The Luxury

During the Middle Ages, the length of trousers was extended and the sock became a tight brightly-coloured cloth covering the lower part of the leg. Since socks didn’t have an elastic band, garters were placed over the top of the stockings to prevent them from falling down. When breeches became shorter, socks began to get longer (and more expensive). By the year 1000, knit and woven socks had become a status symbol of the nobility throughout much of Europe. They were initially bearing more of a resemblance to leggings and it wasn’t until the 12th century that feet were added to them.
Though Europe’s working people were certainly knitting their own homespun socks and stockings by the end of the 12th century, the hosiery of noblemen was vastly superior. Their socks were generally made of woven cloth of higher quality with a back seam and bias cut. By the 15th century, the French and Italian aristocracies led the way with their fine hand-knit silk stockings. Men found that the stretchy silk fabric had two benefits: ease of movement and an ability to show off a shapely leg. Aristocratic Britons were soon following their European neighbours, and knitted silk stockings became the rage among the British fashionable elite. Around 1490, breeches and hand knitted hosiery were joined together to become one garment, which would later be known as tights. These were made of colourful silk, wool and velvet, with each leg a different colour.
By the 16th century, hosiery, like other pieces of clothing, was strictly regulated through stringent laws. In 1566, the City of London employed surveillance techniques to ensure that nobody was wearing the wrong kind of socks anywhere in the capital. The laws were enforced by the sock police – four persons who were positioned twice a day at the gates of London, checking the legs of those entering or leaving for improper hosiery.
In 1589, the first knitting machine was invented by William Lee, an English clergyman. After receiving a pair of black stockings from William, Queen Elizabeth I ultimately declined to grant him a patent for his invention. She complained that his machine made wool stockings that were far too coarse for royal ankles. She didn’t like the feel of the stockings or their crude form and she was afraid that the machine would take away jobs from her people.
However, France’s King Henri IV saw the opportunity William’s invention provided and offered him financial support. The inventor moved to Rouen where he built a stocking factory. Before long, the French spread the knitting loom throughout Europe. Socks made for the lower classes used wool, while those made for noblemen were made of coloured silk. After the Industrial Revolution socks became easier and cheaper to produce, spreading their appeal across European society. Many of the principles William Lee developed can still be found in modern textile machinery today.
sock history - nobleman's socks in 1500sock history - silk thighs 16th century

Left: European nobleman’s stockings in the mid 1500’s (the top is tied up when worn)
Right: Silk tights worn by a nobleman in the early 17th century

Sock History – Modern Times

Over the next couple of years, sock fashion continued to change dictating different lengths (from mid-calf to knee to mid-thigh). Rather than just sticking to embroidery at the top, sock fashion expanded to include even more colours, decorations or stripes. In the late 17th century cotton became a popular choice for many garments including socks. As trousers became longer and socks became shorter, the term ‘socks’ actually started being used to refer to what was previously known as stockings.
sock history - 20th century
In pictures: Sock fashion at the beginning of the 20th century
The next revolution in sock-making came with the invention of nylon in 1938. The strength and elasticity of socks made from cotton-nylon blends led to a natural step forward in manufacturing. This blend is even used today, even in our Shosett socks, which use a type of nylon called polyamide. Later on, elastane was added to the blend to give socks extra flexibility and make them fit a wider range of wearers.
In terms of sock styles, fashion has seen a few models come and go, often to come back again after a few years. Argyle patterns, which have been hugely popular in the 1920s are making a comeback in men’s fashion. With manufacturing advances, cotton can be more accurately dyed which makes for bolder and more colourful socks. While striped socks are and will always be a popular choice for men and women, patterned socks with all kinds of crazy designs (like avocado socks) are becoming the latest fashion trend.

Friday, January 11, 2019

How to Eliminate and Prevent Smelly, Stinky Feet Video

Pretty much all feet smell at some point. If you go for a run, have been sweating in tennis shoes or have been wearing cotton socks a few hours too many, a quick shower might do the trick...

But, some of us have worse smelling feet than the rest. This chronic issue can be simply eliminated by a few easy steps.  No prescriptions needed or toxic chemicals needed.  Just utilize a few items from your local general store and a pair of Alpacas of Montana socks (from super warm winter socks to hiking and running socks) and you will be amazed at the difference.