Thursday, July 5, 2012

Pool party!

Hot Hot Hot!  100 degrees 4 out of 7 days this week.  Heat like this is dangerous both to humans and animals.  Imagine wearing a fur coat in this weather.  Alpaca fiber is amazing; it is lighter than wool, but warmer, because it has a hollow shaft that holds your body heat. Suri alpaca fiber is unique in that it is almost as soft as silk because it has the lowest scale height of any natural fiber. (Except silk witch has no scale).
  What is scale height?  You have seen the shampoo commercials where they say the shampoo will help damaged hair and they show the little scales along the strand of hair claiming the shampoo will tame the frizzes.  That’s scale.  If you measure how high this scale sticks up from the shaft this is scale height.  We call it prickle factor, you know how itchy some things can be against you skin, it’s these scales.  Suri alpaca has the lowest scale height, even if the micron is lower  (how big around the individual hair is) in other fiber animals. Australian sheep breeders have gotten the micron down to as low as 10 or 11!  Wow, that’s amazing, these bales of wool are auctions off for big $$$ however there is nothing they can do about scale height, scale height is the itch.
  So if you’re an alpaca with this amazing fiber, how do you keep cool in this weather? It is much cooler in the Andes Mountains where they come from.  So here in Ohio where it is HOT and HUMID in summer, it is hard work to keep them cool.  Heat stress could kill an animal; babies and older animals are more at risk.  I use lots of fans, and swimming pools, my alpacas love being hosed off, and soaking in the cool water, then they head straight for the fan… ahhhh    

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