"We have a lot to learn about alpacas and their health," said Frank. "We are fortunate to have excellent veterinary care in our area supported by OSU's Vet-Med School so we support their research. We place emphasis on good health and excellent conformation on our farm. Our fiber is top quality and we enjoy working with it and offering end products."
Alpaca fiber produces a remarkable textile, perhaps the most fabulous "wool" in the world. It is twice as warm as wool, half the weight, the most diversely colored of any fleece, soft as cashmere, strong and durable, and non allergenic. Its ability to accept color makes it a favorite of fiber enthusiasts. Suri fiber has the texture and luster of silk and the warmth of goose down. Both types of fiber blend well with wool, silk and other fine fiber and can be knit, crocheted and woven. Suri fiber is used for men and women's clothing, luxury apparel, coats, sweaters, textiles and specialty interior fabrics. The uses are endless with every scrap utilized.
"I was told you couldn't use the suri fiber by itself, that it had to be used as a blend because it didn't have the crimp like huacaya fiber," Frank said. "It just isn't true. It's wonderful by itself, holds its shape well, and works up beautifully. I crochet and it is wonderful to work with as it contains no greases and is so soft.
You will also hear that you can't mix huacaya and suri breeds in the pasture. That isn't true either. We don't breed between the two, but all of our animals get along well. They are simply unique in their own personalities."
Alpacas are raised for their fiber and are not built for carrying weight like their camelid cousin, the llama. Frank sends up to 80 percent of her fiber to a co-op for finishing, and local cottage industry users take the rest. "I save some of the best fiber to use myself," said Frank. "I have people who take the fiber from specific animals, the same animals, every year because of the color.
"Alpacas are wonderful animals," said Frank. "They are gentle, intelligent and I can easily handle these animals all by myself. They have an acute sense of smell and hearing and even my twelve studs live well together. They're fun to watch. Their communication includes their ears and tails along with posturing and vocalization. They only spit at each other, usually over food. They make great pets and 4-H projects for kids so the whole family can be involved. I also appreciate the fact that we don't have to eat what we raise.
"Alpacas are a low maintenance, high return investment, but you have to market your product. They sell themselves but you have to let others know you have them. There can be a lot of paper work involved in raising and selling large numbers of registered animals.
This is one of the few industries where you can insure your entire investment at a cost of 3 percent of their insured value. That's a lot better than the stock market! We also offer post-sales support, 24-hours a day for anyone who buys our animals. Our name is in the marketplace and we are careful to breed and sell with integrity."