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All sorts of items are available in the
tidy farm shop, including alpaca-wool
boot inserts, stuffed animals, sweaters
and piles of butter-soft yarn.
The public is welcome on the fourth
Saturday of each month from 10 AM to
4 PM and for special events (scotiaacres.
● Stockton HUNTERDON COUNTY
WoodsEdge Wools Farm claims it was
the first alpaca breeding farm in New
Jersey. Linda Walker bought a few
alpacas in 1989 to join her sheep and llamas. She found a market for the alpacas’
soft fleece, and her herd began to grow.
According to her son, Brent, who
runs WoodsEdge with his wife, Amy
Serridge, the farm’s alpaca count
swelled to a high of 300 in 2005. Now
they have about 100.
“They’re very easy keepers,” Serridge
says of alpacas. “There are not a lot of
challenges with these animals.”
Walker calls them “a great alterna-
tive” to sheep, goats or horses. “They’re
gentle, they’re not noisy like goats or
sheep, and if they step on your foot like
a horse or cow, they’re not going to
break your toe,” he adds. “Our dog takes
more maintenance than our alpacas.”
Walker and Serridge welcome visi-
tors every Friday through Sunday start-
ing November 7. (They’re booked up
with weddings until then.)
You can meet alpacas and see the
farm’s llamas and Tibetan yaks as well.
There’s also a “field-to-fashion” boutique—with alpaca and llama clothing
and gifts—along with grass-fed beef and
yak meat for sale (
● Chesterfield BURLINGTON COUNTY
Jackie Armiger started Windy Farm
Alpacas in 1999 “on a whim.” She had
no farming experience, but a lifelong
love of animals and the outdoors. To
house her alpacas, she retrofitted an
old dairy barn. Six barn cats she adopted from a Bronx rescue group share
Armiger’s 46 alpacas— 12 grown
males and 32 moms and babies—
wander from barn to field as they please,
but when they hear Armiger open a
container and start scooping out grain,
they swiftly appear in the barn doorway
On open-house days, Armiger lets
visitors enter the alpaca pastures and
hand-feed grain to her animals. When
one ambles over and gently vacuums up
the food from your palm, you’ll realize
how small they are. Unlike their llama
cousins, which can weigh up to 450
pounds, alpacas are usually between
100 to 175 pounds and about 3 feet tall.
They’re mostly fluff, especially the
further they get from their annual May
Armiger cleans the water basins, delivers hay and puts out grain once a day,
usually around 5 PM. The whole thing
takes her about an hour.
“They’re low maintenance on a daily
basis,” she says, “but on an overall basis,
there’s a lot of projects. There are gates
that break, trees that fall, weeds to mow,
pasture to reseed.” There’s also manure
to shovel—fortunately alpacas poop in
communal piles—and fiber to process,
hay to order and trips to various farmers’ markets.
Despite of the work, “I love them as
much now as I did when I started,” Ar-
miger says. “They’re beautiful, charm-
ing, and entertaining. Very endearing—
perhaps that’s the word to use.”
Armiger requires appointments for
a visit to Windy Farm, but she throws
open the gates from 10 AM to 5 PM on
scheduled weekends, including this
September 26 and 27 and a weekend
to be announced in December (windy-
● New Lisbon BURLINGTON COUNTY
Stephan Thompson, president of the
New Jersey Alpaca Community, opened
his South Jersey breeding farm in 1996.
He says that alpacas have individual
personalities. Some are aloof, others
sweet and friendly.
When Thompson talks about Nelly,
born in October 2013, he makes her
sound more like a new child than a
baby alpaca. Nelly’s mom had a difficult
delivery, so Nelly lived in Thompson’s
house for her first five months. She slept
in his bedroom at night for the first
three months so he could bottle-feed
her every few hours. During the day, she
hung out in his living room.
Nelly’s out with the herd now, but she
still comes when Thompson calls her
name, even if she’s across the pasture.
He made a special cake for her first
birthday party last fall.
That level of domestication is rare
on alpaca farms, but Thompson isn’t
the only one who loves his herd. It’s
easy to get attached to animals when
you know they’re not headed for a
plate, and the farms we visited all use
their alpacas strictly for fiber and occasional breeding.
Thompson’s farm accepts visitors by
appointment only (kinkorafarmalpacas.
com; 609-893-5552). ■
☛Some alpaca farms are more open to visits
than others. Check the farm’s website for
visiting policies and special events. If none
are listed, call or e-mail. Make sure to ask
the farmer what you can—and can’t—bring.
If it’s important to you, ask whether you’ll
be able to touch or feed the animals. Photographing the animals is usually fine.
☛Dogs, on the other hand, are generally not
welcome. Because of their prey instinct, al-
alpacas also are afraid of snakes, snapping
turtles and even cats. But alpacas are not
entirely timid. Nuessle once watched her
herd stand their ground against a coyote.
The animals shrieked and screamed until
it slunk away.
☛Note: This year’s National Alpaca Farm
Days will be observed September 26 and
27. Most alpaca farms in the state will
be open to visitors that weekend—even
those that don’t normally accept guests.
Call before you go.