National Alpaca Farm Days
What: Alpaca ranch open house with farm-related activities for the family
When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Where: Macedo's Mini Acre, 20721 Highway 140, Stevinson
Alpaca farmers around the Central Valley are tidying up their ranches, dusting off their spinning looms, and getting their animals photo-ready for National Alpaca Farm Days.
On Saturday and Sunday, alpaca breeders across the United States and Canada will invite the public to come to their farm or ranch to meet their alpacas and learn more about these inquisitive, unique animals, the luxury fiber they produce, and why the alpaca business is perfect for environmentally conscious individuals.
Macedo's Mini Acre in Stevinson will welcome guests to join them for activities including needle felting, spinning and knitting demonstrations, coloring pages for kids, meet and greet alpacas and miniature from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. both days.
“We currently have 73 alpacas ready to be showcased,” said Maureen Macedo. “We also have two newborn alpacas that I’m sure the little kids will love. We will also have a meet and greet area for kids to pet the alpacas and feed them hay if they wish to.”
For seven years, Maureen and her husband Larry Macedo have dedicated their time and energy to ensuring their alpacas are properly taken care of. Maureen's degree in genetics from UC Davis plus Larry's degree in accounting from Chico State give a unique dimension to the ranch.
“We have experience in animal nutrition from years of working for a major research facility,” said Larry.
Both Turlock natives, Larry grew up on a dairy and has farmed products from hay to turkeys. Maureen lived in town, but spent many hours on her grandpa's farm and especially enjoyed helping with the livestock. Grandpa’s talks while performing chores together often included ideas of raising something besides horses, cows, pigs, rabbits and chickens – like ostriches or buffalo. While he kept to the traditional, it stirred Maureen’s imagination.
Maureen bought her first alpacas when her daughter, an avid knitter, tired of purchasing expensive alpaca yarn and asked her mom to buy an animal for the wool. Maureen and her daughter went a few weeks later to an alpaca ranch to pick out their first animals.
“We researched bloodlines, visited ranches and attended seminars,” said Maureen. “Larry looked over the financial aspects of alpaca ownership and decided that they could become a business that we could both enjoy as well as being profitable. These animals are properly taken care of and none of them have to be taken to the slaughter houses.”
Alpacas are shorn, without harm, every 12 to 18 months and produce five to 10 pounds of luxurious fiber.
Products made from alpaca fiber will also be on display and for sale at the Farm Day event.
Macedo’s Mini Acre is located at 20721 Highway 140, Stevinson.