Nigel Ashton and Yvonne Gardner of Bonheur Alpacas in France write about their alpaca venture in the Limousin.
Well off we go then, put the kettle on whilst I gather my thoughts, won’t take long, there are not many coherent ones, and I’ll witter on to myself for a while. Right, first point of importance to know is that the ‘pacas do enjoy themselves and don’t seem to have a problem with the language, a hum is a hum in any country and they sniff and snort happily with our neighbour’s French sheep to one side and the Portugese Sorraia horses to the other. It’s only us English owners who seem to make fools of ourselves with our strange accents and appalling pronunciation… still, it makes the French laugh.
We found out quite soon after moving here to the Limousin in 2011 that there is a very healthy ‘cottage industry’ around the production of wool, be it merino, angora, alpaca, yak or anything with a coat that’s spinnable, weaveable, plaitable or feltable. We were invited to join ‘their gang’, the ‘Laine Locale Reseau Limousin’ the moment they spotted the ‘pacas in the field and have been very friendly and helpful to us in marketing our fibre and introducing us to all the local fêtes and events.
lot of our ‘prime blanket’ can be sold directly at shearing to hand spinners and knitters and we increasingly have to fight to keep some back for ourselves to send to the mill to process into balls and skeins for us to sell.
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