alpaca

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Alpacas

We do know Alpacas are definitely cute and people love meeting them. Here are ten things you did not know about alpacas: 

1) There are only two breeds, the huacaya (wuh-kai-ya), which has fluffy hair (fleece) akin to a teddy bear, and the suri alpaca which has long wavy hair (fleece), that hangs off its body and kinda looks like dreadlocks. 

2) Like their cousins the llamas, alpacas spit when angry or annoyed.  Lucky for us, our alpacas are well behaved and only spit at each other when I have the food bucket.  I do have to admit, I have been caught in the spitfire a couple of times.  

3)  Alpacas are gentle on the land with their soft pads on their feet, which does not churn up the paddocks like a cow or horse’s hooves.  They do have long nails (just like a dog's) and we trim them every three months. 

4) They are known as good lawnmowers as when alpacas eat grass, they snip off the top of the plant unlike some other animals that pull the grass up by the root when eating.

5) They “cush” when seated, meaning they fold their legs under their body making them easy to transport in smaller trailers. 

6) Alpacas’ tails are used to express feelings to each other. If they’re bothered by something they will twitch it back and forth. If an animal is being submissive it will raise its tail over its body and crouch down. 

7)  Alpacas always poop in the same place. They line up to use these communal dung piles in the paddock. We then scoop it up and use in our garden beds as its known as 'alpaca gold' due to no weeds being transferred.

8) Mothers almost always have their babies in the morning. By having their babies in the morning, the cria will have the whole day to dry off, begin walking around, and nurse from its mother before the temperatures begin to drop. 

9) Females have an 11.5 month gestation period and about 90% of the time they don’t need help in the delivery of the babies.

10) Alpacas love to sunbathe.  The first time I saw them sunbathing, I freaked out as they look like they are dead. You can walk right up to them and they won't hear you in their deep sunny slumber. I wish I could sleep like that!  

Don’t forget about our 4 pax farm stay where you can enjoy a full weekend of interaction with these lovely animals. Fact 11, they love to hog the camera! See our farm stay for more details.

If you have small acreage and would love some wethers as fantastic lawnmowers, please contact us as we always have several available for sale. Training and alpaca workshops are also held at Little Valley Farm.

Grown, spun & knitted in Wollombi Valley

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Beanie

100% alpaca beanie

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Waterfall Cardi

100% grown, spun & knitted in Laguna.

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Socks

Alpaca bed socks

Autumn has finally arrived and so has our 100% grown, spun and knitted alpaca garments. We are so pleased to have all these garments made in our valley. They are 100% alpaca fleece and handmade - either spun or knitted.

Our beanie with bed socks will def keep us warm this winter and we are looking forward to wearing our 100% alpaca waterfall design cardi. The cardi is one of my favourite pieces and all the fleece spun is from our herd at Little Valley Farm. For now, we are testing the knitted garments to see how the yarn reacts after several months of wearing. So far we love it!

Don’t forgot you can always buy our handspun yarn. Simply send us an email for price and quantity.

Breeding Alpaca's

Autumn is here and so its finally time to join our stud alpaca with our girls. We have changed our mating dates in the last couple of years due to the scorching heatwaves and to make it a more pleasant experience for our alpaca mum’s and cria’s.

We now prefer our births from March to June as the weather is cooler and we have plenty of enclosures to keep the cria and mum warm and out of the rain for the first couple of weeks. Rain, wind and the cold can kill a cria so make sure you have fully-enclosed shelters/pens that will accommodate mum, cria and a companion alpaca in the shed when the weather is not so nice.

What we do:

  1. Summer in the Hunter Valley can reach over 43+ degrees with several days in a row at this unpleasant temperature. So please ensure you have adequate shelter (deep shade) in each paddock. If its hot for you its hot for the alpacas.

  2. Make sure all your alpacas are shorn every year. We shear every October when the sun is not burning hot as we have witnessed sunburn on alpacas shorn December and January when the sun is at it hottest.

  3. Ensure your alpacas have deep shade as well as a large shed as a backup. They do prefer to sit under tree’s but will definitely use the shed when hail or heavy rain appears.

  4. Make sure all your water troughs are placed in a shaded area and not sitting out under the sun. Change the water daily to keep it fresh and cool and use an auto-filler trough. Some days we place ice cubes / bags / bottles inside the trough to keep it chilled.

  5. Shower the alpacas under their bellies on hot days and wet their legs where their sweat glands are. Give them the dam but please ensure they do not get their long skinny legs stuck in the mud and drown.

  6. Summer time is tick time and your young alpacas are more susceptible to ticks. We have found the older alpacas seem to fight it off. So make sure you shear October when the ticks are out and check them all the way until Autumn. Its easier to find a tick on an alpaca once they have been shorn. We have guinea fowl that roam the paddocks looking for ticks also.

  7. For cria’s born in the wind and rain make sure you have a alpaca jacket (dog jacket) for them to wear. Keep the jacket dry at all times and depending on the weather place the jacket on late afternoon and then secure in a fully enclosed pen with mum. Remove jacket early morning.

  8. Make sure your trim your alpaca’s nails every three months. Don't let them get to long and out of shape as they will never be comfortable, look good or be easy to trim again. So trim regularly and it will make the whole process a whole lot easier for you. Hint also trim after the rain as the nails are lovely and soft to cut.

  9. Lucern hay for mum and cria in the pens and some hay for cria to sit on and keep itself warm.

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Photoshoot at Little Valley Farm

Yesterday we had the most magical photo shoot at Little Valley Farm. Neve, the friendly Laguna Alpaca did not disappoint. Soon as she met the kids, she gently ate from their hands and then plonked herself right in between the kids and posed for the camera.

Neve, the friendly Laguna alpaca is amazing with her desire to be with people. She picks her people and will happily sit with them for hours in the paddock. The look of disappointment when we get up to leave is hysterical and yesterday she just wanted to sit with the kids under the huge liquid amber tree and just smile away. There are times and its always on her terms, that when she is done, she simply gets up and walks away but she really loves hanging out with people.

Before we introduce Neve and the other alpacas whom are mostly pregnant and a couple of cheeky weathers. Our working stud is in another paddock watching over us. Our advise to people when meeting our alpacas for the first time is to walk slowly to the alpacas, no loud talking and try and whisper, don't try and pat them on their head but when they are ready gently stroke their necks. Moving slowly and quietly the alpacas feel calm and relaxed and will come up to you. One thing for sure is that we keep the working stud (entire male) away from the alpaca herd and especially when we have guests over.

Alpacas are inquisitive and gentle creatures but will occasional spit when food is present. They really don’t have the the desire to spit at you but you could always be standing in the line of fire! Maybe our Little Valley Farm alpacas are just well behaved, beautifully treated and know that they are very much loved.

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Little Valley Farm is a member of the Australian Alpaca Association and sells registers and unregistered alpacas. We sell wethers as guards, alpacas as pets and or breeding females. Our alpacas are shorn every October and are regularly groomed - nails trimmed, teeth check, fleece check, vaccinated and wormed.

If you are a small farm owner and are looking for alpacas, simply let us know what you are looking for and how your farm is set up ie., shelters, fencing, water and small pens so we can give you the best advise for housing alpacas.

Registered Alpaca Breeder in Wollombi Valley

Little Valley Farm is a member of the Australian Alpaca Association. That mean’s we have a registry of our alpaca’s and their birth lines. It also means for new alpaca owners, when you purchase an alpaca from us, you know what you will get - a happy, healthy, friendly alpaca.

Little Valley Farm also runs alpaca working shops and training days. Follow our facebook page for our 2019 event listings.

Alpaca fleece buyers day happens Nov - Dec - Jan every year where you get to purchase our beautiful fleece in white, fawn and chocolate brown.

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Alpacas coming up for sale

A couple of times a year, we release several of our alpacas for sale. The best time to purchase alpacas is after shearing so you can see what’s underneath their beautiful fleece. 

This month, we will be releasing a couple of wethers. They are 3 to 5 years old. They are great mates and should be kept together. Remember alpacas are herd animals and need to be kept with other alpacas, not other livestock.

Wethers are known for their lovely soft fleece and also good guarding nature.  Please note, they can challenge a fox or kill a small domestic dog but they can not fight off a wild dog or a pack of wild dogs.  

Alpaca's need to be shorn every year and we shear every October.  We can give you a rundown on their annual vaccinations, worming, drenching, teeth and nail trimmings.  

Little Valley Farm runs training days a couple of times a year so let us know if that is something that you need to do. We can also give you advice on the best shelters and pens to house alpacas. 

To find out more about our alpaca's send us an email. 

Alpacas start from $550++ depending on age, sex and fleece quality. 



Loves to be hand fed, will follow you around the farm with a bucket of food, inquisitive and lovely natured.

Get your PIC ready before purchasing livestock

Ready more on our blog to find how we use the alpaca fleece.

The day after shearing

The day after shearing. We are exhausted. Now it can rain! The alpacas are a little naked but happy. We are now ready for the hot summer days.

A very big thank you to our shearing team. The Cole family, Kierran, Socie, Frank, Frances and Drew Shearman Our favourite shearer who is gentle and kind with our alpacas. It’s a long exhausting day in the shed with a touch of spit-dodging.

The fleece is drying and our ‘fleece buyers day’ will be happening some time in November.

#littlevalleyfarm #alpacafarm #alpacabreeder #shearing #alpacagleece#alpacas  #lagunaNSW #wollombi #visitwollombi#touristdrive33 Daniela Riccio Drew Shearman Thank you!

I will do nothing today! Thank you, Daniela


Our dear sweet Lilly.

Our dear sweet Lilly.

Slow Fashion : Alpaca Fashion

At Little Valley Farm we are very excited about the changes to the Australian Alpaca Industry. 

The Italian fleece buyers have been around for many years buying Australian fleece, now China is on a growth path as they are starting to appreciate the quality of our Australian fleece and genetics.  We can thank the Australian Alpaca Association for helping with this growth.

Over the years, there has been an increase in family run mills across Australia.  We have used a small mill to clean our fleece and make our own alpaca yarn knitting balls. We also work with a local artisan in the Wollombi Valley to hand spin our yarn.  You can see our products for sale online here.

We have made pillows, cushions, bed throws, a scarf, a beanie and a super warm and heavy winter quilt for us to use. Its heavenly! 

We will send our next batch to the clever people at Adagio Mills who are based in Orange.  Our shearing day is booked for 13th October 2018.  

We recently purchased two top fleece girls and one super stud to change our genetic and fleece structure at Little Valley Farm. With the new fleece, we will start to produce 'slow-fashion' which is 'sustainable fashion' made by family owned businesses in Australia. 

This kickstarter campaign from Adagio Mills will help take this industry to the next stage. We are in! Are you?  If you would you to help kickstart Adagio Mills then click here

Spinning 2018 fleece collection

At Little Valley farm we are getting ready for Alpaca shearing day so looking at what colours we should spin together. Should I keep our yarn knitting balls one colour or add colours to our fawn yarn ball. Here is a sample we spun which is 100% Alpaca fleece in fawn with black. Do you like? Hmmm should I do both or stick to one colour?

#littlevalleyfarm #alpaca #alpacas #australianalpacas #instaalpaca #knitting #alpacafleece #lagunaNSW #visitwollombi #touristdrive33 #myopenkitchen #myopenkitchenstories

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Shearing day is 13th October, 2018 at Little Valley Farm, we will be shearing 14 alpaca's in white, fawn and one chocolate brown alpaca. We can't wait.  If you would like to help out and get some hands-on alpaca experience please contact us. 

We also have the train and shepherd's hut accommodation available for that week. 

Alpaca cuddle anyone?

Say hello to Majestic and Suki Oberon. They are the sweetest alpacas you will meet and they will come up to you to eat out of your hand. Their fleece is outstanding with lovely crimp and we look forward to shearing them in October and then spinning their fleece.  Its glorious!  

Both girls are pregnant and due early 2019 so we will have three different blood lines at Little Valley Farm. 

Book your farm stay with us at Little Valley Farm.  Couple farm stay for 4 adults so book online before Spring 2018 books out. Alpaca cuddles are free.  

www.littlevalleyfarm.com.au

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Photo taken by Daniela 31st July 2018. You can see how dry the grass is here. We are so looking forward to some rain.  We have only received 2 mls for July. 

Bernie versus Beanie

Jack Frost is back and my 100% handmade Alpaca beanie now back on my head. It’s cold here but now my noggin Is toasty and warm. Bernie the sheep is wondering why I am wearing Alpaca..... Bernie mate, it’s a lot warmer than sheep and does not smell of lanolin like you, Matie!

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This fleece was shorn from Allessandro back in 2016. Allessandro is light fawn alpaca with a chocolate kiss on his neck. He is a sweet little thing and our first born.  We love working with the alpaca fleece as its so clean, warm and easy to use without that lanolin smell and oily feel that sheep's wool has. 

You can always purchase fleece from Little Valley Farm either raw, spun or milled. Click on our website for online sales or simply send us an email. 

Meet Neve-Maria - a very special little alpaca

Meet our one year old, Neve now called Neve-Maria for a really good reason.  Her mother is feisty Bianca and the crankiest one of the lot but she is my favourite as she keeps everyone in-check!  Bianca is my second eldest alpaca and has given us the most wonderful and full-of-personality alpacas over the years.

Usually we have several cria's born at the same time but our mating schedule did not go accordingly to plan so Neve was solely brought up by her serious and stern mother.  We do find it so much better to have several cria's born around the same time, so they can buddy-up and get up to mischief together. 

The interesting thing about Neve is that she is a very shy, quite and non-pushy alpaca - nothing like her mother!  She has never pushed in or spat at feeding time and always kept to herself - a gentle little soul. 

On the saddest day of my life, when we received news a family member has passed, I was down at the feed shed and visibly upset. This little alpaca, Neve, walked straight up to me and put her face in my face.  She then allowed me to hug her. Alpacas are generally not affectionate creatures but are definitely inquisitive creatures and Neve was one never to be touched, so this was really quite out of character for Neve. 

Anyways, after this day, whenever she see's me, she comes up to me and kisses me, sometimes she will cush (sit down) in the paddock and hang out with us mere mortals. 

Here is one of my fav photos taken by guests, @arlie4cake of @mellybic hanging out with Neve.  Looks like it should be a famous alpaca sweater commercial.  

So if you have the chance to stay at the farm, you may also be able to take a photo or three of Neve-Maria my little angel. 

This post is lovingly dedicated to Maria-Adele, Naples, Italy, 2018. Bacci!

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Photo by @arlie4cake featuring @Mellybic and Neve-Maria, the alpaca. 

Small Business Rebate 2018

Last year we applied for the Small Business Rebate for our alpaca farm.  It helped us set up some safety guide lines and have on-stock some PPE (Protective personal equipment), which we should have had from day one. 

Anyways, the rebate had us thinking about the alpaca pens set-up especially at shearing time when there are over 20+ alpacas lined up to be sheared, can be slightly chaotic especially for the couple of alpacas that are slightly nervous and flighty and the 5-6 people that are on-deck helping us out. 

We created five pens to sort and shuffle the alpacas in and out of the shearing bay. The rebate, had us thinking about the safety elements including gates and pens. 

I know its only a $500 rebate but it certainly helped out in the cost of the pens and gates.  

If you have an ABN you can apply for the $500 rebate back to small business owners who buy and install eligible safety items to address a safety problem in their workplace.

You can find out more on how to what to do to apply for Safe work NSW. Click here

Meet Sophia and Loren

Our beautiful girl, Sophia arrived at Little Valley Farm about over four years ago.  She was so pretty with her glamorous fluffy ears and long skinny legs. She was glam but over the years, she become goofy and oh so playful. She went from Sophia Loren to Lucille Ball! 

She was soo goofy in fact, we wondered what she would be like as a mother.  Well, our girl did not disappointed.  She produced a lovely little fella named Loren and then a second male, one year later. She is now feeding and caring for her new cria and loves being a mum. I do have to say, these animals are wonderful with their young and all day and night long you hear mum calling for her bub when they wonder to far. Its just simply lovely having little cria about. I think Sophia, would agree with me. 

 

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Here is Sophia and her bub. 

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Lilly and her bub born around the same time. So we have double trouble pronking about the farm. 

Contact Little Valley Farm for alpaca sales from wethers, females with cria-at-foot and pregnant females.  Training days on how to care and maintain alpaca's can be arranged. Simply email us your requiremnets and we will send you a quote.