SAM ODROWKSI The Standard
UXBRIDGE: Alpacas are one of the most versatile types of livestock a person can farm.
Their wool is one of the strongest, softest, and most eco-friendly, fibres on the market today. Along with their deluxe fleece, alpacas also produce sought after poop, that acts as a fertilizer with an excellent source of nutrients.
“People who are into organic farming love to use alpaca poop for their farms,” said Sandra Bannon, owner of Forget-Me-Not Alpacas. “And people make it into [fertilizer] teas and do all kinds of things with it.”
The animals are also great for the land they live on, and are incredibly eco-friendly, according to Mrs. Bannon.
“They are really good for the land, they don’t have hooves like a horse or cow, they have feet. So it makes it really gentle on the land.” said Mrs. Bannon.
Alpacas are seven times lighter on the land than a cow, according to Mrs. Bannon.
“The way the ministry measures an animal is by a nutrient unit, and a cow would be one nutrient unit. If you have five units, you need to have a nutrient management plan. Seven alpacas make up one unit. That’s how gentle they are on the land,” said Mrs. Bannon.
She says they serve multiple purposes. “They are great animals to raise, they are quiet, and very peaceful. People do yoga with alpacas and they are now therapy animals. There [are] just so many things you can do,” Mrs. Bannon said.
Farming in general is a brand-new lifestyle for Mrs. Bannon, who was raised in Newmarket. “I grew up in the city, I worked like everyone else, a nine to five job in project management. But I’ve always been drawn to farming, the country, and being outside.”
Both her and her husband thoroughly enjoyed having their alpacas, after first purchasing them three years ago. Since starting, they have received overwhelming support from the alpaca farming community.
“The alpaca industry people are, very supportive, very wonderful people. We are just learning as much as we can from them and they are very willing to share that information,” Mrs. Bannon said. “It’s just a lovely community. I would encourage anybody interested in alpacas to look into it because there’s such a great support system.”
If anyone is interested in getting into alpaca farming, Forget-Me-Not alpacas has a few for sale, and Mrs. Bannon would happy to help anyone who is curious about farming them.
Mrs. Bannon’s farm is just outside Beaverton, at 1595 Concession Rd. 3, and can be reached by phone at 289-221-6102.
“Come to the farm and visit, even if you don’t want to buy anything, just come and see the animals. We enjoy showing them to people,” she said.
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