PLYMOUTH, Ill. — Little Creek Alpacas is welcoming some cute new additions to the farm. Eight new babies, or cria, have been born over the last few weeks, the latest arriving Tuesday morning.
Farm owner Lindsay Moore is waiting for one more cria to be born any day now.
Moore moved from Rock Island in 2011 to Plymouth to raise alpacas. She has around 55 on the farm right now.
"We decided we wanted to raise our kids in a more spiritual kind of serene setting, so we started looking for property," Moore said.
While she said raising alpacas isn't too difficult, it's important that caretakers understand their alpaca's personality in order to detect signs of illness.
"You do have to really know what you're doing because they don't show signs of illness," Moore said. "If you don't know their personalities, they can get sick and just like die on you. But if you know them and know what to do, then they're really hearty, healthy animals."
She also has to pay close attention when cria are born.
"The babies are really fragile that first week," Moore said. "When cria are being born and the weather's not good, that's when it gets tough because you're trying to keep them warm, you're trying to keep them dry."
One of the cria actually got his name because of the bad weather. Mr. Puddles enjoyed playing around in the rain puddles the day he was born.
It's hard for her to choose a favorite alpaca, but pregnant soon-to-be mama Toastie is one of them.
"When I met my first one, it was the big eyes, which I know sounds silly because what I do has nothing to do with how their eyes are, but I just fell in love with them," Moore said. "They're just really magical. There's something about their personalities. I think if you were to cross a human and a cat, it'd be like an alpaca."
Moore spins the alpaca fiber to make a variety of items, including winter hats, headbands and gloves.
Alpaca fiber is soft, durable, moisture wicking, flame-retardant, and water and stain resistant. The birds also use Moore's discarded fiber for nesting and she said it can also be used for gardening mulch.
"The fact that they're such a resourceful animal and sustainable, you can make so many products out of their fiber that lasts so long," she said. "I just feel like I'm doing something good for the planet in a sense, and it just feels good."
She sells at different markets and also offers people the opportunity to learn how to spin the alpaca fiber at events on the farm.
Little Creek Alpacas will host its final "Beach Party" of the season on Oct. 16 from 1-4 p.m. where you can have an opportunity to meet the alpacas and learn how to make felt pieces using the alpaca fiber.
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