With any new experience, hobby or job, there’s always a learning curve to overcome, some of course are much steeper than others! Becoming a parent for the first time was certainly the steepest learning curve I’ve ever experienced. I still remember the bewilderment of leaving the hospital with our tiny wrinkly newborn in her huge car seat, not having a clue what to do with her. We had no instruction manual, she had no ‘off’ switch and there was no receipt to return her. Like all new parents, we were learning on the job whilst sleep deprived – straight in at the deep end.
Ironically, purchasing our pet rabbits this year involved a lot more questions on our knowledge and how we’d care for them, a much thorough interrogation than we’d received at the hospital with our three children.
So that leads me onto alpacas and the learning curve they have put us on. In all honesty, six months ago we knew very little about them, only that they looked like a small llama and probably spat like one. I had previously joked to Edd, my husband, that we should get a couple of alpacas to safeguard our commercial chickens from predators. With 14,000 free range hens, we were rather unfortunate to find ourselves as the local fox’s number one eatery.
Time has since moved on, and we will shortly be taking a hiatus from our free range chickens, and gaining alpacas instead. Farming is always moving forward, and we need to be constantly thinking of new ways to diversify and change with the times.
Unlike sheep wool (and every other fibre in the world), alpaca fibre contains no lanolin, which makes it much more suitable for people with sensitive skin. As people become more aware of allergies, alpaca fibre can only increase in popularity in the clothing industry. Sustainability is also a huge buzz word right now. The consumer wants to know that the product they are buying isn’t destroying the planet, and if it’s local, even better.
Along with learning about the qualities of alpaca fibre (and what to do with it!), I also have a great deal more to learn in these last six weeks until our girls arrive:
- Running a business
- Breeding alpacas (analysing genetics and fibre qualities)
- Alpaca husbandry
- Showing our alpacas
- Building a website & blogging
It’s a rather steep learning curve but hopefully I’ll swim, not sink. I’ve survived the first-time-parent learning curve after all!