Spinning Alpacca v. sheep wool

More
10 years 6 months ago #30031 by barnes
Anyone here spun both alpacca and sheep, and how do you think it compared spinning wise?

Have read that alpacca is harder to keep a continous yarn as it does not have the scales that wool does.

Have also heard that alpacca makes for a more even yarn as it is softer, longer, and that the slipperyness makes it feed nicely.

Any comments?
What is your preference?

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 years 6 months ago #406026 by Mich
Replied by Mich on topic Spinning Alpacca v. sheep wool
Not being anything more than a reluctant and very inexperienced spinner, I can't help with the technicalities, Barnes, but I do know what a beautiful mix alpaca/wool is. Are you planning a project?
Cheers, Mich.

Good exercise for the heart is to bend down and help someone up. Anon.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 years 5 months ago #406072 by barnes
Well, thing is we have sheep now, but are having problems with worms etc, and (although not yet this year, and if the cool weather keeps up probably not) flystrike as well.

So considering swapping to alpacas, but since alpacas are pricey little girls, I want to check and double check every possible side first.

Thing is, if we swapped to alpaca, we would have to get rid of the sheep entirely, otherwise there would be no advantage, and the alpaca would pick up the sheep worm burden, so while I have some stored wool that I could mix initially, pretty soon I would be on entirely alpaca for spinning.

Or mixed with possum, which would be a truly divine finished product, but would definitely not help the cohesion of fibers.

So would be nice to have an idea of what it would spin like.

Will also have to ask about actual practical experience in care of the alpaca too.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 years 5 months ago #406083 by Belle Bosse

barnes;401915 wrote:

So considering swapping to alpacas, but since alpacas are pricey little girls, I want to check and double check every possible side first.

So would be nice to have an idea of what it would spin like.

Will also have to ask about actual practical experience in care of the alpaca too.


Great to see you are doing your homework first! It is a wise move!

I'm no spinner (yet) and I have no sheep or alpacas (yet), but I have spent the last 6 months researching everything we are considering for our bare block and its development direction, for when we finally get there.
The Suri Alpaca has caught my interest, but that does not mean I will eventually own any or not... Learning to spin is also on the "Wish List" along with lustrous wool sheep.

From what I have learned ... in brief:
The neutered male Alpacas are a low priced option you may wish to look into/at for starters.

Alpacas are herd animals and are only sold in companion pairs unless you already have alpacas. Having some neutered boys already, may be handy later, if you decide to make the more expensive purchase of a female or pregnant females.

Browse through "Trade Me, Livestock" for an over-view of what is available, for interest sake. You will also find some breeders advertising their animals there.
Look up the Alpaca Association NZ or Alpaca Breeders Association of NZ to help you locate many of the breeders... many of their websites are very informative.
Go and visit an Alpaca breeder near where you live. Ask questions!

On Trade Me there are also alpaca family pets looking for new homes because of change of circumstance in the family/ sale of property etc.

Many Alpaca websites I've visited, have offered support and training for new Alpaca owners. They want to see their animals cared for in the best possible way and are happy to share their knowledge and experience.

Other option:
There are Spinning groups that may have fleeces for sale.
Some of the Alpaca breeders have fleeces for sale. Im sure you could ask about buying a small amount to see how the alpaca fleece spins.

Another option:
You could put your questions on Alpaca care in the Your Place section of this forum. There are a number of Alpaca owners here.
There is also a lot of information on Alpaca care along with the care of farm animals on this website.

Sorry I can't be of more assistance to you at the moment, but let us know how you go. I for one would be interested.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 years 5 months ago #406115 by barnes
Yes have noticed that the neutered males are a lot more affordable.

Would definitely potentially like to breed them though, so would rather have entire males from the start, that way if (when) I get a couple of girls I already have a start.

However to look on the bright side of that, males appear to be plentiful, and (except for the really fancy registered ones), the intact machos appear to be similarly priced to the neuters.

Also bear in mind: if it is a neuter, then someone has neutered it. (May appear obvious I know, but bear with me ..)

They may simply have too many, but they may also have seen something that they don't want ever breeding. This may be harmless, but it may also be a physical or health problem, or even simply that the fleece wouldn't make decent carpet.

Similarly with the pets ... people do of course want to shear and sell their pets wool, so there should be a decent percentage of good fleeces there, and they would be well handled and halter trained etc.

But on the other hand, as with neutering, not many breeders will sell as a pet a really good fleeced animal.

Alpacas generally have a good and fine fleece, and you won't get really rough customers like you can with sheep, but there are still degrees, and if hand spinning you want a decent fleece.

What I am considering doing is finding someone who has alpacas with decent, but not necessarily extraordinary, fleeces, and doesn't double their prices till they can't stop laughing, and getting a couple of young machos to start off with.

Then at a later date getting a couple of females (er .. hembra I think), to continue with.

Ideally about two or three years old, and pregnant, but considering the price, that may change to either young weaners, or some of the older girls (around 12-13) who are past their prime but still good for a new owner, who would be experienced with shearing, and mothering.(and hopefully, but not unnegotiably, pregnant)

Hopefully, that way, I will a) come up with a good colour mix, and b), having two males, instead of one, I will be able to avoid any inbreeding should I decide to keep some youngsters.

I think a "Good colour mix" will be a pure white, a pitch black, a good brown, and one of the paler interesting colours like rose or blue fawns)

Am going to ask on the main forum here about care for alpacas, as I can find everything I need to know on the net, but lack the actual practical experience of it.

The net can tell me about clipping toenails, and that white alpacas nails grow faster, but it can't tell me actually how much faster, or how co-operative they are about the trimming.

It can tell me that some alpacas may need their teeth grinding occasionally (which could be more of an issue, since its supposed to be done by a professional), but not how often this is actually necessary.

It can also tell me they are harder to breed than most animals, but then the figures refute that by saying that each hembra usually produces a cria per year, and that actual problems are rare.

So here I go over to "Your place" for more info. There have to be people around here with plenty of alpaca knowledge!

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 years 5 months ago #406122 by Mich
Replied by Mich on topic Spinning Alpacca v. sheep wool
I second Belle Bosse's comment about the research - good on you. I think what you both say smacks of a very common-sense approach.

Just on the subject of neutering (and I'm speaking as a sheep breeder here, but I guess the same applies with alpaca) it can be the case that wethers actually have nicer fibre than ewes, so I wouldn't automatically dismiss them if your goal is to have a nice spinning fleece. I also wouldn't expect a serious breeder to sell me their best animals (either from a fleece or conformation aspect). The challenge is to get as good an animal as you can afford with as many positive traits as possible and use them to build up your existing flock.

One thing you might find useful is to visit the A&P Shows where they often have a good variety of alpaca to view, as well as fleeces. By noting which breeders consistently win prizes, you should get a good idea of who you could approach for your initial animals, as well as potential replacements. It's a good place to chat to a number of breeders at once. By joining the Alpaca Association (am I correct in thinking there was a split and there are now two groups, not just the one?) and attending field days, you'll soon get a feel for which breeders you prefer.

I'm pretty one-eyed when it comes to sheep as my preferred animal [;)], but I do love alpaca fibre and wish you all the very best with your prospective new venture. Really looking forward to reading more about it.
Cheers, Mich.

PS - oh, and the big advantage of alpaca over sheep is that they poo in the one place, LOL. So easy to harvest for the garden... :-)

Good exercise for the heart is to bend down and help someone up. Anon.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 years 5 months ago #406123 by Stu_R
I would have to say .. after going up to Computrons place and dagging the wether boys she brought from Mich
They have lovely fleeces :)
so i am guessing same can be said for Alpaca's to

5 retired Greyhounds ( Bridgette , Lilly, GoGo,Sam and now Lenny) 15 friendly sheep all of whom are named and come when you call them :) , 2 goats, Mollie and Eee Bee :
Olive trees , .. old bugger doing the best he can with no money or land :)

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Time to create page: 0.190 seconds