Alpacas Make Debut at WI Farm Show

by Marisa Cuellar
Marshfield Mall and the 33rd annual Farm Show welcomed three special guests this year — Guillermo, Midnight Thunder and Rosario, 2-year-old male alpacas from Fountain Mist Alpacas in Marshfield.
“We try to bring some live animals in if we can,” said Terry Linduski, Marshfield Mall general manager.
He said this is the first year the Farm Show has featured alpacas.

“It’s usually husbands and wives with farms, but we wanted something extra for children to see,” Linduski said.
While children grabbed at the alpacas’ fleece, adults asked the animals’ owner, Mike Fountain, if they could purchase alpacas for breeding.
“I want people to get to know about our farm and to learn about alpacas,” Fountain said about why he brought the animals to the Farm Show.
Fountain said he started out with two alpacas in 2006 and now has 43 animals.
Fountain’s herd includes both types of alpacas — Huaycayas like Midnight Thunder and Rosario and Suris like Guillermo. He explained the main difference between the two types of alpacas is their fleece.
“Huaycayas are kind of like teddy bears — kind of poofy,” Fountain said. “Suris kind of have dreadlocks.”
Fountain said he breeds the alpacas for their fleece.
A few males in the herd breed are used for studding services and to breed with females in the herd. Fountain said 18 of his alpacas are pregnant.
He shears the alpacas in May and sends the fleece to a cooperative, where it is mixed with fleece from other animals and made into socks, hats, gloves and scarves. Fountain sells the alpaca fleece products at his farm.
Fountain sells pet and breeding alpacas, but only in pairs unless the purchaser has another alpaca or a llama because lone alpacas can experience symptoms of stress. He recommends having barn space available for the animals and a 100-by-100-foot outdoor pen for three alpacas.
“They’re very good animals,” Fountain said.
He encouraged anyone interested in learning more about alpacas to call and schedule a visit at Fountain Mist Alpacas. You can also visit their website at http://www.fountainmistalpacas.com/.