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Super warm alpaca socks, accessories and luxurious yarns for sale
The Genesis Alpacas Story
Care, Shelter, Nutrition, Pastures
Ancient South American shepherds, Spanish Conquest
Alpaca Basics
Glossary of Alpaca Industry Terms - Learn the Lingo!
Alpaca Breeders Organizations, Shearing Instructions, Books, Supply Houses

 Learn the lingo!
alpaca cria
Yes- like many other fields, the alpaca industry does have some peculiar terms. Use this page as a handy reference as you read about alpacas. Is there a weird and wonderful word you keep running across, but can't find here? E-mail us and we'll see about adding it to our list!
Small, domesticated, fleece-bearing member of the camel family, native to South America. Plural: alpacas.
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Board your alpacas with another alpaca owner, who will provide complete care for them, for a fee. A short period of free agistment is often offered with the purchase of alpacas if the new owner needs time to ready his pastures and facilities.
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Alpaca Fiber Co-op of North America. Members contribute all or a portion of their alpaca fleece each year. Members may purchase, at less-than-wholesale prices, alpaca yarns and garments for their own use or to sell.
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Alpaca Owner's and Breeder's Association. Membership is open to alpaca owners worldwide.
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Alpaca Registry Incorporated. Verifies parentage of offspring of registered alpacas and issues registration certificates. Maintains database and tracks lineage of registered alpacas.
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A sheet of carded fiber, approximately to 1" thick, and several feet long. The batt can be felted, or strips can be torn off and spun.
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A handheld, mechanical or motorized device which "brushes" fibers into a batt.
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Align fibers by hand-combing or machine processing in preparation for spinning into a worsted yarn.
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A baby alpaca. Term generally used until the alpaca is 6 months old. Plural: crias.
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An "S" wave found in the fiber of a huacaya alpaca.
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Resting posture wherein the alpacas legs are folded in thirds under it. The alpaca may assume this posture to avoid moving, and the female sits this way when receptive to breeding.
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Mother of an alpaca.
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Term used somewhat interchangeably with "fleece". Typically used when speaking of the quality and characteristics of the alpaca's fleece, or the processing of it.
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An alpaca's fiber. Sometimes used when referring to the full production from one alpaca: "a fleece".
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A male whose testicles have been removed, rendering him incapable of reproduction. Males are typically gelded between the ages of 18-24 months. Gelding younger is thought to result in disproportionately long legs. Gelding is believed to stabilize the male's fleece quality, avoiding the coarsening effect of the male hormone testosterone.
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A female alpaca (South American origin- seldom used in the U.S.)
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A male used to impregnate females. Less than 5% of males possess the extraordinary features desired in a breeding male.
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One of the two types of alpacas, possessing a dense, wavy, crimped fiber that stands out from the skin at a right angle, producing a fluffy look.
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Offspring of an alpaca female and a llama male. Lacks the size and weight-bearing ability of the llama, and the fiber quality of the alpaca is compromised.
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An organized cluster of fibers, in size anywhere from a noodle to a man's thumb. In a suri, the fibers may twist together to form a ringlet.
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The glowing sheen that is desirable in alpaca fiber. Most noticeable in suri fiber.
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A male alpaca (South American origin).
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A hair-like fiber with a hollow core. Ideally these should occur very infrequently in an alpaca fleece, as they are difficult to dye and are uncomfortable to encounter in a garment.
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A measurement of fiber diameter, equal to 1/25,000 of an inch, or 1/1000th of a millimeter. Used to refer to the fineness of a fiber: a smaller micron equals a finer fiber.
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Characteristic rapid grunting sound made by breeding males during copulation.
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Remove an animal's fleece with electric shears (similar to dog clippers) or scissor-like hand shears. Alpacas are generally shorn yearly to preserve fleece quality and allow them to be comfortable in summer weather.
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Father of an alpaca.
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Remove vegetation and other contaminants from a shorn fleece.
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The process of twisting fiber into yarn, accomplished either with commercial machinery, a spinning wheel or a drop spindle.
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The length of an alpaca's fleece. Sometimes used to refer to an individual lock of fleece.
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Herdsire. (Australia: a ranch which offers stud services.)
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one of the two types of alpacas, possessing a lustrous, silky fiber which parts down the animal's back and hangs in ringlets or waves. Suris have a slim, elegant appearance.
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A narrow, cylindrical mass of fibers, ready to be spun into yarn.
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A weanling alpaca. Term generally used from weaning at approximately 6 months, until the alpaca is one year of age.
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A lofty, fuzzy yarn, suitable for knitting an article such as a sweater.
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A smooth fine yarn spun from well-aligned fibers, suitable for weaving. Also used to refer to a fairly hefty yarn weight, smaller than a bulky yarn.
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An alpaca between the ages of 12 and 24 months. This is the "teenage" phase for an alpaca.
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