‘Shearing’ the love at Cowboy Camelids Alpaca Ranch and Gift Shop
Tired, anxious, stressed?
Maybe you need to spend a day with an alpaca. Or a whole herd of 16 for that matter at Cowboy Camelids Alpaca Ranch in Bosque Farms, where Bill and Angela Richardson and their 3-year-old son, Travis, raise alpacas and operate an alpaca ranch and gift store.
The ranch and store are open to the public 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday through Sunday, or by appointment. They provide the public with the opportunity to meet and learn about these fascinating creatures.
“People can visit, hang out, get to meet the animals and learn about them,” said Bill.
The family began transforming their property into an alpaca haven in August after Angela fell in love with these fluffy, big-eyed animals and introduced them to her husband, who also fell in love with them.
The ranch officially opened to the public the weekend of Sept. 24, which coincided with the National Alpaca Farm Days.
Angela’s first encounter with alpacas was when her friend took her to an alpaca ranch a few years ago.
“It was a rainy, windy, nasty day,” she remembered, but said when she left the ranch she “felt so much more relaxed and at peace” that she called the ranch owner to tell her about it.
“Yes, the alpacas really have that effect on people,” the ranch owner told her.
Bill says if someone is having a stressful day, just spending a little time around the animals is all it takes to make you feel happy again.
He said the alpacas will hum to you, similar to the way a cat purrs, and that they also understand voice commands, such as their name and simple directions, kind of like a dog.
Groups and children are also welcomed visitors at the ranch, and the Girl Scouts have already been out to visit the herd.
Bill said he is working to get disabled veterans out to the ranch since the animals have such a therapeutic and calming effect.
He says the best part of raising alpacas has been watching visitors with them, especially children.
“We teach them what we can about the alpacas and how they are to own,” said Bill. “They give back a lot.”
The alpacas are for sale, and Bill says if a person doesn’t have a place for their alpaca, they can board it at the Camelids Ranch and take care for it there.
However, if a person plans on raising or keeping alpacas at home, they should know that it is a herd animal, so there must be at least two of them.
The Cowboy Camelids Alpaca Gift Store, located on the ranch, is also a must see. It’s a little store full of wearable items made with the high quality alpaca fiber, which is both fire and water resistant.
The fiber is versatile and ranges from silky to coarse, depending on the quality.
Naturally, baby alpaca fiber is delicate and soft, and Bill says an adult animal can produce as much as five pounds of fleece and requires a person with special training in alpaca shearing.
Angela says her best selling item are the alpaca fiber socks, which will make the toes on even the most unfriendly foot smile.
The store also carries unique vintage items and other nick knacks. Right now, the alpaca fiber items are imported from Peru, where the alpaca originates from.
But the family plans to start working with local spinners and weavers in the future, as well as start offering workshops in spinning, weaving and felting.
Meanwhile, Bill is working to create a 4-H program for alpacas in which youngsters can work to own or work to board their own alpaca.
He says his ultimate goal is “to raise high quality, people friendly alpacas for sale and show.”
For information about Cowboy Camelids Alpaca Ranch in Bosque Farms, visit the ranch’s website at www.CowboyCamelids.com, or give the ranch a call at 869-2133.
The ranch, located at 150 North Bosque Loop in Bosque Farms, is open during the weekend between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
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