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There’s a lot to like about alpaca


Photo by Charles Sternaimolo

In a typical year, Island Alpaca sells 10 to 20 animals, and the customers doing the buying hail from far and wide. Ronchetti quickly rattled off the home states and towns of a few of her customers: New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, she says, Woods Hole and Osterville. Once, she delivered an alpaca by meeting the new owners—and completing the transfer—at a rest stop in Greenwich, Connecticut. The cost of individual alpacas can range from as little as $500 for a pet-quality “fiber animal,” to $50,000 for a champion herd sire. “One year,” Ronchetti adds, “a girl bought eight!”

In October of this year, the farm’s herd numbered 71 alpaca—and one llama, the 17-year-old Sadrina. Many of the animals on the farm are given Italian names, an homage to Ronchetti’s heritage. Others have names inspired by a particular characteristic or personality trait they display.

“They are all so different,” Ronchetti says. Luna, for example, has a white stripe on her head that resembles a moon. Hottie is social and feisty. “She’s hot and cold,” Ronchetti says. “She prefers men.” And then there’s Estrada, a male. “He’s very chill,” Ronchetti says. “In addition to his championship wins, his offspring carry on his chill personality.” Other members of the herd include Apollo, Arias, Bella Notte, Bosco, Eclipse, Khan d’or, Nightengale, Samuel Bellamy, Spock, Lorenzo and Zambrotta. Ronchetti adds that Angelina, an 8-year-old female, may be the most valuable of all due to her heavenly fleece.


Photo by Charles Sternaimolo

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