Archive for Thursday, September 13, 2007

Heys’ alpaca farm to be among national effort

September 13, 2007

Rural Baldwin City residents Bob and Claudia Hey will participate in the first-ever "National Alpaca Farm Day" Sept. 29-30.

The Hey's operate "Ad Astra Alpacas" just south of Baldwin City at 168 E. 1700 Rd. Four other area alpaca farms will participate in the event, too. Two have Paola addresses and the others have Spring Hill and Gardner addresses.

For the first-ever "National Alpaca Farm Day," alpaca breeders from all over the United States and Canada will open their farms or ranches for people to get acquainted with alpacas and learn more about the inquisitive, unique animals. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day that weekend, the Heys will be open.

"We would love to have visitors come see our alpacas," said Claudia Hey. "The first-ever National Alpaca Farm Day would be a good way to get acquainted with alpacas, but we would welcome guests at other times as well. Please call first to make sure we are home.

"We can show visitors how the fleece looks and feels as it comes off the animal and we have yarn and finished garments that people can see," said Hey.

The Hey herd currently consists of 26 alpacas, but five babies are expected this fall, starting at the end of the month. To this point, they have only marketed the fiber.

"So far, we have not sold any because we've been building our herd, but we are ready to offer some for sale this fall," she said. "We will have young males, bred females, open females, and after the babies, or crias, start arriving, we would consider selling the mothers with their crias at side."

Alpacas are cousins to llamas and are native to the Andean Mountains of South America, particularly Peru, Bolivia and Chile. Alpacas were first imported into the U.S. in 1984. Since then, the alpaca industry has grown to more than 100,000 registered. There are more than 4,000 owners and breeders in North America.

Adult alpacas stand about 36 inches at the withers and generally weigh between 150 and 200 pounds. They do not have horns, hooves, claws or incisor teeth.

For more information go to www.nationalalpacafarmday.com. To find out more about Ad Astra Alpacas, call the Heys at (785)594-6767.

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