CLEARFIELD – Clearfield County has a new niche destination hidden in the hills of the Mahaffey and Burnside area.
Denny Born, of Ultimate Alpacas, shared the details of a rapidly growing alpaca farm that’s locally owned by Jerry Tibbott with board members of the Clearfield County Recreation and Tourism Authority.
Born said the farm was established in 2008 after a couple years of thought and time spent on intricate facility details.
He said they began with a population of about 14 alpacas, which more than doubled to 32 by the end of their first year. He said they currently have a steady population of 50 alpacas.
Of their present alpacas, he said it includes 29 breeding females, 11 males and 10 cria. He said alpacas, which originate from South America, have two bread-types – Suri and Huacaya.
Born said they are mild-tempered and docile animals and a part of the camelid (camel) family. He said the two bread-types are physiologically similar, but the main physical difference is found in their fleece.
According to him, the Huacaya fleece has degrees of crimp, giving them a more fluffy appearance. In contrast, he said the Suris don’t have any crimp in their fleece. He said their fiber clings to itself and forms “pencil locks” that hang down from their body.
He said the alpacas are raised for their fleece, which is sheered once a year. He said the fleece yields roughly five to 10 pounds and requires little preparation to for it to be spun into yarn or used to make felt.
Born said alpacas typically stand around 36 inches tall at the withers, or area where their neck and spine come together. He said they can weigh anywhere from 100 to 200 pounds.
Born said they require modest amounts of food that amounts to approximately 1.5 – 2 percent of their body weight in hay per day. He said they also need free-access to fresh water and free-choice minerals.
While he said it’s a full-time job to care for alpacas, he said it’s easy to tend to the animal. He said their fleece is a high-end product that’s comparable to cashmere.
At the farm, he said they have a store in which they sell clothing items, such as socks, sweaters, scarves and blankets. He said their farm has regular business hours from 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. and remains open on weekends.
Born said they will sheer their alpacas at the farm on Thursday, May 13. He said they welcome the public, especially children, to come see and help sheer the animals.
Ultimate Alpacas is located at 886 Nebo Road in Mahaffey in southern Clearfield County. Interested persons can contact the farm by phone at 814-277-4580, e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or on-line.