So what are alpacas and how are they different to llamas?
The alpacas and llamas both come from the camelid family but they are not nearly as bad tempered and smelly as their relative the camel, and are closer to llamas.
Llamas are larger than alpacas, but despite their size, alpacas give more wool as their wool is fine and in a single layer, whereas the llama has a rough outer coat, and a fine undercoat that doesn’t yield as much wool. Llamas were bred as pack-animals and have never been bred for their fiber. Because of their straighter backs they make good pack-animals, and the llama has curved ears and the alpaca has straight ears.
There are 2 types of alpacas; Huacayas, which make up about 80 % of the US market and Suri. The difference is in their fleece structure. Where the huacayas have dense, short fleece, the Suri’s fleece is a lot longer and silkier.
The Suri will produce about 2.5 kg of fleece after being shorn, and the Huacayas will produce about 2-3.5 kg of fleece.