Home on the range: Wyandotte home to 40-acre alpaca farm

The Joplin Globe     
By: Kimberly Barker
Photo: Courtesy of Pixabay

Original content from The Joplin Globe.

WYANDOTTE, Okla. — On a 40-acre farm in rural Wyandotte, 27 alpacas roam the fenced-off pasture, sporting their fresh new haircuts for the spring. Although they’re related, alpacas are distinguishable from llamas with their large eyes, short ears and softer fleece, which has been called “the fiber of the gods” for its use of clothing for royalty.

Farm owner Deby Horner walks onto the grounds and calls for her pet alpacas. The naturally curious beings wander over to her in packs, some greeting her with their own unique hum, others with hay sticking from their mouths as they were in mid-lunch. Horner described her love for the alpacas as a passion, a venture she began several years ago.

“For years, we had llamas as part of our protection for our horses,” she said. “The llamas have excellent eyesight, and they work in unison with the donkeys and the horses to protect against coyotes, possums, stray dogs and coons. They’re very effective guard animals.

“When we retired from that, I actually did a trade where somebody got some miniature horses and I got some alpacas,” she added. “They’re kind of like potato chips — you can’t have just one. ... There’s five of them that I’ve had for about six or seven years. The rest of them I’ve acquired in the last year.”

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