Local couple raises feisty, personable alpacas
Mike and Melissa Hall don't have an ordinary farm. While some people would like to have traditional farm animals like cows and chickens, they choose to have alpacas.
“It all started when we went on vacation to the mountains,” Melissa said. “On one side of the cabin there was a small creek on the other an Alpaca farm. We knew by the end of the trip we had to have our own.”
Mike and Melissa have 14 alpacas. One of them is currently being borrowed for breeding purposes. They’ve had them for a little over a year but have owned them for two years. Their first year had to be spent on an alpaca farm located in North Carolina.
“We were looking for something to occupy us post retirement. I believe that they’ll be able to fill the job,” Mike said with a laugh. “They never cease to give us a chuckle.
“They are the cutest animals. Each one has a different style and personality. They definately make barn chores a lot more fun to say the least,” Mike said.
There are a lot more to alpacas than just their looks though. They are mainly used for the fiber that is located in their fleece. The fiber is used to make yarns for rugs, exterior garments and much more.
“The fiber from the alpacas along with their fleece is unlike any other animal. It’s not itchy and it’s warm because the fleece has a hollowed shaft making it also water proof,” Melissa said.
“Textile industries come to us many times through the year wanting the fiber from the alpacas, but it’s hard because we only sheer once a year. That’s why the industry hasn’t truly gotten into full swing yet, but I believe it will in the future,” Mike said.
One of the main reasons why the alpaca fiber is so popular is because of its ability to absorb colors, although the alpacas can be 22 different colors. Sometimes Melissa will dye the yarn to make products to sell.
“I like to sew scarves, hats, gloves, socks, dolls and a lot more. By dying the yarn it makes the products more unique and original,” she said.
The Halls also show their alpacas in different competitions throughout the year. Mike, usually participates in the events with the animals. Their alpaca Sophie won Alpaca of the Year. Sophie received the honor through a point system that judged on qualities such as fiber, fleece and much more. Their other alpacas have received awards as well, such as the Spirit of the Industry award that was given to alpaca Rider.
“Alpaca competitions aren’t like other completions. The people are friendlier and everyone seems like family. There’s no cutthroat business. We often say that the alpaca lifestyle is always filled with many laughs” Mike said.
MIke and Melissa Hall raise 14 alpacas on their farm, and harvest their wool for yarn.