Shear cuteness

| 02 May 2012 | 12:55

HAMPTON — April 25 was shearing day at Humming Meadows Alpaca Farm in Hampton. Owner Denise Spina said that approximately 170 pounds of alpaca fiber was sheared. The fiber is then shipped out to individuals, fiber mills, fashion designers and to a fiber cooperative. "We are hoping to expand the fiber industry here in the United States and the way to do that is to encourage people to raise alpacas," said Spina. The alpacas are sheared once a year at Humming Meadows, but another small-scale shearing is done when baby alpacas, known as cria, are born. "We like to take the cria fiber off - which is considered virgin wool - so that we can get the beautiful fiber that comes later," said Spina. Humming Meadows currently has 24 alpacas and they expect seven cria to be born this year. Alpacas carry their babies for 340 days before giving birth and only have one at a time. The mother alpaca hums to her cria to let them know where she is. "Alpacas are incredibly peaceful animals and spending time with them reduces your stress in no time flat," said Spina. "Combine that with their adorable faces and you get hooked immediately." Another interesting fact about alpacas are that they use a common manure pile. "The dominant alpaca will choose a spot and once they do that all the alpacas use the same spot," said Spina. The alpacas use the spot as a social gathering as well. "When one walks over to the pile it is not uncommon to see others look up and follow," said Spina. "My husband compares it to women out to dinner who all go to the ladies room together." Humming Meadows also has pygmy and angora goats, which are used for their wool as well. "Chickens wander around the farm and one of the stars of our numerous farm tours is Corrado, our Akbash livestock guard dog," said Spina. "He is 140 pounds of love and cares for his alpacas with all of his being." Humming Meadows Alpaca Farm is located at 131 Halsey Rd. in Hampton and is open for tours. For more information, call the farm at 973-362-0429 or visit