ANYONE driving by Billinghay might be forgiven for thinking they have suddenly been transported to South America when they catch sight of alpacas.
The four alpacas belong to Denise and Phil Barritt and their children Lewis and Libby.
Denise and Phil decided to keep alpacas, which are native to South America, after meeting a couple on holiday a few years ago who had an alpaca farm.
Then, on her 40th birthday, Denise, who said she had always loved these ‘very pretty’ animals, asked her husband for an alpaca ‘instead of a diamond’.
That’s when Noah and Oscar, the white alpacas, came to live with the Barritts three years ago. Theo arrived in February 2011, followed by Hugo in February this year.
Secretly, Denise said her favourite alpaca is Oscar because of his cheeky nature, while newest addition Hugo has the cutest face.
She said: “Oscar is the dominant one. He gets very jealous if Noah gets more attention than him, while Theo and Hugo are more timid.”
The alpacas can be spotted going for daily walks down the lanes around the farm.
Denise said they are very low maintenance animals and easy to take care of. They are also very considerate and will only pull up a certain amount of grass to eat, making sure they leave some for the other alpacas. They even queue to go to the toilet.
She added: “We only need to keep an eye on their teeth and hooves and we shear them once a year.”
Alpaca wool is hollow fibred, which helps them stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The wool grows up to six inches long and is soft to the touch and less coarse than sheep’s wool.
Denise uses it to create a variety of gifts which are on sale to the public, including hats, scarves, purses, children’s accessories and phone socks.
She added that the alpacas are wonderfully serene animals and bring a sense of calm to the farm’s other residents, including Peppa the pot-bellied pig.
White alpacas Oscar and Noah can be seen at shows all over Lincolnshire. They have also been taken to WI groups and, most recently, residential homes, to give people a better understanding of these animals.
To find out more about alpacas, visit Cherrydale Alpacas’ website at www.cherrydalealpacas.co.uk