Held in conjunction with Dressage at Saratoga, this
exciting event takes place at the historic Saratoga Race Course in
Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
The beauty and majesty of llamas and alpacas is featured each day in
the 1 P.M. Parade of Llamas & Alpacas as narration accompanying
Andean music highlights each of the participating farms. An exciting
new way to have fun with llamas and alpacas - The All Star Leaping
Llama Contest! - immediately follows with llamas, alpacas, and their
handlers leaping to new heights! It's a real crowd pleaser that you
won't want to miss!
Daily demonstrations at the top of each hour feature the varied and
multiple uses of these wonderful creatures and their fiber. See how
llamas can be used for cart driving, packing into the backcountry,
or taking a peaceful hike! Marvel at the many ways llama and alpaca
fiber is prepared from fleece into roving and then spun into yarn
that weavers and knitters cherish. Watch as shearing and grooming
demonstrations prepare the animals for show quality performances.
Learn about the joys of llama/alpaca ownership in the new owner's
clinic and about the financial potential in the investment seminar!
After visiting all the breeders and farm displays, you may find
yourself so captivated by these delightful and versatile companion
animals that you decide to take some home with you! Yes - select
llamas and alpacas are for sale!
There are also hand-crafted llama and alpaca items, as well as
T-shirts, caps, sweaters, etc. available for purchase. A Silent
auction to benefit llama/alpaca research through the Morris Animal
Foundation offers a daily assortment of unique, one-of-a-kind gifts
for the discriminating buyer.
Why llamas and alpacas? Any good reason that comes to mind for
raising an animal can apply to llamas and alpacas! They are very
intelligent, strikingly beautiful, gentle, easy to train, and
extremely responsive as well as adaptable. They come in every color,
size, and price range. Llamas and alpacas travel in most vehicles -
cars, van, carriers on trucks, and trailers. They are used as
companion and show animals, breeding stock for those who seek an
investment, and are producers of fine fiber that usually sells by
Lamas (single "L"), which include the llama (double "L"), alpaca,
guanaco, and vicuna are members of the camelid family. Originating
in the Central Plains of North America about 10 million years ago,
the lama predecessors migrated to South America about 2.5 million
years ago. Their cousin, the camel, relocated to Asia and the
Middle East. The end of the Ice
Age marked the extinction of the camelid in North America. llamas
and alpacas were domesticated in Peru 5,000 to 6,000 years ago and
are among the world's oldest domesticated animals. They have been
selectively bred for the gentle dispositions and fine fiber. Llamas
and alpacas are amazingly hardy and relatively disease-free.
However, a regular preventative inoculation program is recommended
to keep them in good health for their lifetime. A routine deworming
program and regular toenail trimming are other parts of good llama
and alpaca care. With their efficient three-chambered stomach,
llamas and alpacas cost significantly less to feed than other
comparable-sized animals. An acre of good pasture can easily support
a small herd of animals.
Sure-footed and agile, llamas are used extensively as pack animals
and can carry an average of 80 pounds or 25% of their body weight.
Their two-toed foot with its leathery pad gives the llama a low
impact on any terrain, making them popular with environmentally
conscious users and managers of our public state, and national park
lands. Llamas mature by four years of age, reach an average weight
of 250 to 400 pounds, and have a lifespan of 15 to 25 years. Females
are generally first bred at 18 to 36 months of age. They do not have
a heat cycle but instead are induced ovulators and are receptive to
breeding at anytime. The gestation period is 11.5 months, resulting
in a single baby ("cria") weighing between 20 to 35 pounds.
Potty-trained from birth, llamas generally use a communal dung pile
making pasture maintenance a relatively easy task. Llamas are often
promoted as the only animal that stacks its own manure!
As intelligent, sensitive animals, llamas can quickly learn to
accept a halter, follow on a lead, load in and out of vehicles,
carry a pack, pull a cart, or compete in shows. They are excellent
"PR" animals that visit schools, nursing homes, and participate in
animal facilitated therapy. Llamas have also proven to be very
effective guard animals for sheep, deer, and goat herds,
dramatically reducing herd losses due to predators.
Alpacas were a cherished treasure of the ancient Inca civilization.
They played a central part in the Incan culture that was located on
the high Andean plateau and mountains of South America. Alpacas
produce a fine cashmere-like fleece, once reserved for Incan
royalty. Together with the llama, these amazing animals provided the
food, fuel, clothing, and transportation for a civilization that
thrived in an otherwise hostile environment.
With the Spanish conquest of the Incas came the almost total
annihilation of the alpaca and llama in an effort to destroy the
economy of the ancient Incan Empire. These wonderful animals
survived only because of their importance to the Indian people and
their incredible ability to live at altitudes and under conditions
which cannot sustain the life of other domestic animals.
Following Sir Titus Salt of
London's discovery of the
fabulous qualities of alpaca fiber in the mid-1800's, the alpaca
regained its prominence in the world textile industry. Today, the
center of the alpaca textile industry is in Arequipa, Peru with major export markets
in Europe and Japan. Outside of their native South America, the number of
alpacas is extremely limited with over 99 percent found in Peru,
Bolivia, and Chile.
Alpacas share many of the characteristics of llamas but are
generally about one-half to one-third the size of a llama in the 100
to 175 pound weight range. Their birth weight is usually around 15
to 19 pounds and, as the llamas, can often stand and nurse within an
hour of their birth. Alpacas usually come in solid colors with 22
basic colors. There are two types or breeds of the alpaca: the
Huacaya, which has a lustrous fine fiber with no crimp, and the Suri,
whose fleece has a crimp or wavy quality than enhances its use in
spinning. The Suri has only recently been introduced into the United
States and the current domestic population is small. Even world
wide, the population of alpacas is 90% Huacaya and 10% Suri.
There are llamas and alpacas to fit every individual's taste and
interest level. Come share in the joy of these majestic creatures
and enjoy great family fun at the SARATOGA LLAMA & ALPACA SPRING
FESTIVAL! For more information, contact Tony or Linda Woods at
SARATOGA LLAMAS, P.O. Box 946, Saratoga Springs, N.Y. 12866 or call (518) 587-5140.