Traceability in textiles: Araminta the alpaca

2 Nov 2021

Six months ago we began our journey alongside Araminta the alpaca, showcasing the journey of our textiles from their first step as a cria (a baby alpaca), through to shearing and on to the use of their fleece. By following Araminta, we hope not only to provide transparency but to also share some alpaca knowledge along the way.

At six months old, Araminta and her friends have just started the weaning process. A vital part of development, Araminta’s dam has moved into a new paddock on the farm with the other dam’s with cria of weaning age. The cria have stayed in a familiar pasture with the dams and cria that are too young to wean. To make the weaning process easier, whilst Araminta is separated from Perdy (her mother), she is in full sight of her, so that both know one another is safe. Araminta is an incredibly independent cria and is rarely seen looking for Perdy – she is very happy grazing and playing with her friends!

During the weaning process special care and attention is taken with Araminta’s weight, with regular weigh-ins to ensure that she is receiving the correct nutrition. She mainly eats grass and hay, but also has free access to a ‘creep feeder’ (an area where the adult alpacas can’t enter) this allows the cria to have extra feed, where the adults can’t steal it! This is an important time for Aramita and she is maintaining a steady weight gain which is ideal and testament to Kate’s care and knowledge. This is also important for Araminta’s fibre. If the weaning process caused excessive stress or a sudden loss of weight, then she could have a tender (weak) point in her fleece, making it snap easily at that point. This might make her fibre too weak to use once shorn next May.

As Araminta and other weaning cria are in a paddock together, her breeder Kate, at Mullacott alpacas is taking this time to progress their training.

Since birth Kate has built up the confidence within her herd, with human interaction and touch. However, at six months Araminta has moved to the next stage of her training and is learning to wear a head collar and walk on a leadrein. This is a significant point in Araminta’s training, as to have her confident and comfortable with humans will ensure vet appointments, shearing and human care throughout her life are easier and not cause for too much stress.