Bruce and Macel Koerth’s relationship with alpacas began on a bit of a whim.
Bruce and Macel Koerth shared some alpaca info:
• Alpacas typically live high in the Andes Mountains, making them durable animals.
• Alpacas are farmed in the U.S. to be sold for breeding and for their fiber to be used to make clothing.
• A pregnant alpaca female can sell for up to $5,000.
• Macel called alpacas “green animals,” explaining that their soft feet and eating habits leave little impact on the land they graze.
• Alpacas rarely spit at humans: “Sometimes two animals will have a spat, and if you get between, you get spit on,” Bruce said.
The Kaw Valley Alpacas farm, 22925 Hemphill Road off U.S. Highway 24-40 between Lawrence and Tonganoxie, will be open for visitors from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. today. From noon to 3 p.m., there will be live demonstrations of turning alpaca fiber into yarn.
Bruce said Macel, his wife, saw them on TV one day and decided she wanted some. They moved from Colorado to a farm outside of Lawrence to raise a flock of the curly-haired camelids.
“We started off with two boys,” said Bruce, who is now retired. “Now we have 40 alpacas.”
The couple opened up their farm this weekend to the public in honor of National Alpaca Farm Days. On Saturday, more than 100 people came to pet and feed the South American animals that look like a cross between a camel and a sheep.
Catherine Sterling Lewis, of Lawrence, brought her two grandchildren and her daughter to see the animals.
“The kids and I love animals,” she said.
By that time in the day, the alpacas were pretty shy after eating their fill of pellets, so grandson Brian Lewis had some trouble getting near the animals.
The Koerths said exposing the public to the “gentle animals” is important.
“We wanted to get people out and show people alpacas are fun and great animals to raise,” Bruce said.