Alpacas are adorable, smart, and docile. But you can see for yourself at a free, family fun event Saturday, September 25, 2021, from 10 AM — 5 PM at Cotton Creek Farms in Thompsonville, Michigan! They welcome the public to an open house to celebrate National Alpaca Farm Day. Families will be able to explore the 27-acre farm, watch demonstrations, learn about alpacas, and get some photo ops with the animals.
The owners, Jason and Rebecca Gill traded the suburbs of Detroit and their high-pressure jobs at the peak of their careers for a more tranquil life in Northern Michigan. Their modest goal of having a hobby farm has grown from a few alpacas to a herd. Their son, Hunter, fell in love with the furry creatures, too. His labor on the farm makes Cotton Creek Farms a true family business.
The Gills name all their alpacas and in just a couple days, Attie’s cria (baby) is due to be born — just in time for the open house! Alpacas range from 8–23 pounds when they are born. Adults range from 100–200 pounds and average height is 35 inches at the shoulder. They live 15–20 years, but the oldest known alpaca is 27.
During the open house, you will learn all kinds of fun facts about these amazing animals. Alpacas won’t bite you. They are trainable and can learn hand signals, commands, and even perform tricks! They use a communal litter box, so you don’t have to worry about stepping into any road apples. They are sheared once a year in the springtime and enjoy losing their extra “weight.” Plus, they have three stomach compartments to digest the hay they graze on all day.
Cooler Michigan weather is on the horizon and in a few months, it’s going to get downright frigid. If you want to skate through winter, you’re going to want to stock up on luxurious hats, gloves, and lap blankets. Alpacas are bred for their luxurious fiber. You can find over 50 alpaca products in the 1200 square foot farm store and yarn shop. The store is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 12 PM — 5 PM. You can also shop online.
Cotton Creek Farms offers ponchos, socks, outwear, and other items to keep you cozy in the colder months. What’s so special about alpaca fiber? A lot! It is superior to cashmere and mohair. It is hypoallergenic. Your clothing will keep its shape, even after getting wet. Even though the fiber is very warm, it is lightweight and silky. Apparel made from alpaca fiber doesn’t wear out. It will last years, making it a good investment.
The farm store also sells dryer balls. They are the size of a tennis ball. Put three or four of them in your dryer to replace dryer sheets. They are an eco-friendly way to soften clothes as they are dye and chemical free. They prevent clothing from tangling and clothes dry faster.
Cotton Creek Farms also have nesting balls. They are made of grapevines twisted into a ball and then stuffed with alpaca fiber. Hang them outside in the springtime and birds will pull out the fibers and use the material to build their nests. Talk about a toasty home to welcome their babies! Nesting balls make a great gift for nature lovers!
I hope you’ll be able to attend the open house at Cotton Creek Farms located at 11885 Jewell Road, Thompsonville, Michigan. It is sure to be a memorable learning experience the whole family will enjoy. If you have clothing or items made from alpaca fiber, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the material in the comments!