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HTF - Alpacas @ Triple Tree

HTF - Alpacas @ Triple Tree

How do you get started raising an animal like alpacas in Iowa?

If you get started raising alpacas, it could turn into a lifetime hobby, like it did for the folks at Alpacas @ Triple Tree near Sheldon, IA.

Myron and Jackie Belchin have family to thank for getting involved with these furry animals.

"My sister had mentioned this animal," said Myron. "Which we had never heard of."

But after 10 years, the husband and wife couldn't be happier with their herd, of around 60 animals.

Turns out alpaca aren't difficult to take care for.

The animals only get up to about 150 pounds and don't eat much.

"A 50 pound bale of hay will feed an alpaca for 20 days," said Myron.

And they mostly "do their business" in one spot.

"You can keep the pastures clean pretty easily," said Myron.

Spring weather, when the temperature only reaches 50 to 60 degrees, is nearly alpaca-perfect.

Plus, the animals love being in herds.

"They usually want to stick together, so if they lay around for awhile, then all of a sudden one wants to go start grazing," said Myron. "Then they'll all start wandering across the pasture to do some grazing."

That's why Summer the alpaca didn't want to get caught and separated, but, we needed to get a closer look at her fleece.

When it comes to the alpaca, it's called "fiber."

"First impression is: looks like a sheep, so probably feels like a sheep," said Myron. "But this is a much lower micron, so it is softer to the touch."

The lower the micron, the smaller around and softer the fiber.

Myron and Jackie make a lot of products with it.

They sell saddle pads, shoe sole inserts, even rugs.

"You can actually use this cord yarn to make rugs," said Myron, pointing to alpaca yarn, another product offered for sale.

It's a good thing the two love these furry animals, too, because they can live a long time.

"Alpacas have a life-span of 20 to 25 years," said Myron.

If you want to find out more about the alpaca products Myron and Jackie sell, check out the "Alpacas @ Triple Tree" web site here: tripletree.us.

If you think of a farmer that might be great on "Proud to be a Hometown Farmer," please email Jake at: jheller@siouxlandnews.com.

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