While the Incans were expert weavers and bred for extremely fine alpaca fleece, Heartfelt's products have roots in other cultures as well. Wall paintings in Turkey suggest humans were felting fiber as early as 6500-3000 BC. Siberian felts date from 600 BC. The Greeks and Romans felted clothing and military gear. Mongolian felts date from the 13th century.
What do they eat? How much time do they take? Are they disease prone?
- Alpacas eat grass and hay. Most owners supplement this with a little grain each day—nothing fancy. In fact, alpacas don't do well on high-protein diets.
- We spend up to an hour a day with ours. We scrub out and refill the water buckets, give each animal a cup of grain, rake up the hay they've rooted onto the floor and add more as needed, and clean up the dung piles. Then we usually halter one or two and go for a walk. This keeps halter training in place and gives us an excuse to mess with them a little longer.
- Dung piles? Alpacas only go to the bathroom in one or two places. (They'll even stand in line to wait their turn!) These piles need to be cleaned up each day so that they don't track dung around and get it in their fleeces.
- Every month they each get a shot of wormer to protect them from meningeal worm and gastrointestinal parasites.
- Every couple months their toenails need to be trimmed. They don't have hooves like horses or cattle. Their feet are soft pads with toenails on top.
- Once a year, they need to be sheared, or heat stress would be a real danger during the hot months.
- During the summer, we offer to squirt their legs and bellies with water. They almost always take us up on the offer!
How big are they? Are they mean? Do they spit? How long do they live? What are they good for?
- Adult alpacas get to be 150-200 pounds. They stand about three feet tall at the shoulders (withers). They can be five feet tall to the tips of their ears.
- Babies (crias) weigh 15-19 pounds.
- Alpacas are gentle animals. Unlike most domestic animals, alpacas have never been wild. Their relationship with humans extends back more than 5,000 years. In fact, they may have been the world's first domestic animals.
- Yes, they spit, but only very, very rarely at humans—unless you get caught in the cross-fire! Most often they spit when they are jostling for position at feeding time or when a female receives unwelcome advances from a male.
- Alpacas live 15-20 years.
- Alpaca fiber is softer, stronger, and warmer than wool. Almost all the other US supplies of this kind of luxury fiber, like cashmere, are from foreign sources
We hope that you are as thrilled with Heartfelt's new logo and website as we are! With some wonderful guidance from alpaca marketing gurus Ken Weiss and Ken Mannheim and lots of help from the small business and technology specialists at Igniting Business, Heartfelt has had a make-over. We've moved away from the rather staid logo we used in our start-up years to add some color and life to our image. Adding "alpaca creations" to our name tells you more about us. The red color and heart illustrate the passion we have for our work and its quality. And we love the alpaca silhouette peeking out of the heart at us, just to be sure we really do justice to its fabulous fiber!