Alpaca Farm Days to be celebrated near Lewes Sept. 29-30
Alpaca breeders across the United States and Canada invite the public to come onto their farms and meet their alpaca flocks Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 29-30. Among them are Chris Reachard of Lewes who co-owns an alpaca business, the C and C Alpaca Factory, with his friend Christian Addor, and helps maintain an alpaca farm with Del and Dawn Morris and Ryan Remmey.
“We hope to educate the general public on the animals themselves, why we have them and what they’re used for,” Reachard said. Alpacas are primarily kept for their fleece, which Reachard said is softer than cashmere, hypo-allergenic, and doesn’t itch like sheep’s wool.
None of that fleece goes to waste either. The best fleece is spun into yarn which can become garments like socks and scarves. The fleece which can’t be used for yarn and garments can make rugs and carpets and the fleece that can’t make those can make bird nests.
There will be an emphasis on crafts at Alpaca Farm Days, with spinning, knitting, crocheting and all different types of alpaca fleece products as well as information regarding alpacas, Reachard said.
In addition to the sustainability of their fiber, alpacas are environmentally friendly, Reachard said.
“Alpacas are the greenest livestock in the country,” Reachard said, “Nothing we give them affects the environment and there’s nothing that they put out that’s going to affect the environment.” Reachard added that the manure they produce doesn’t have to be cured like most livestock manures and said many of the people who use it refer to it as “Miracle Grow on steroids.”
Just five years ago they only had two alpacas, but that number has grown to 37, making them the largest alpaca farm in Delaware, Reachard said.
Dawn Morris, of Gpa’s Pacas, added that they are currently endeavoring to involve FFA classes with the alpaca farm. Also, Reachard is currently attempting to get a Delaware alpaca breeders association started since Delaware is one of the few states not to have an alpaca breeders association.
The advantages of alpacas are not purely agricultural either. Many people say that they can feel their stress melting away when they spend time at the alpaca farm, Reachard said, something he is hoping to share with the community during Alpaca Farm Days.
A foster family came to a couple of the events they had held and the foster children were very calm around the alpacas. Their therapist noticed the change in personality and Reachard is now letting them take care of three of his alpacas. These children were once going to therapy four times a week, but now they only need to go once a week, Reachard said.
Alpaca Farm Days will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the C and C Alpaca Factory Sept 29-30 and is free to the public. Food and refreshment will be provided by J&B Barbecue. The farm is at 17219 Sweet Briar Road in Lewes. For more information go to www.candcalpaca.com or call Reachard at 609-752-7894.