Rita Dee Alpacas: Creature Comforts

Winston-Salem Monthly     
By: Kathy Norcross Watts
Photo: Courtesy of Alpaca Culture  

Original content from Winston-Salem Monthly

Denise and Spencer Yost raise a rainbow assortment of alpacas humming on lush trimmed fields at their Pfafftown farm, Rita Dee Alpacas. More than 30 alpacas roam the land, creating a full range of natural colors and unique markings. The Yosts breed their alpacas for fiber characteristics such as lingering fineness and micron counts.

“Since there are 22 natural colors, and since I was going to do fiber, I wanted one of every color,” Denise says. But after their first few crias—or baby alpacas—she learned, “You can’t breed for color with alpacas. They’re like a box of chocolates.”

Since 1997, the Yosts have lived on 15 acres of what was the late Sammy Sherill’s family farm. The developer, even back in the 1980s, was thinking of responsible land use, Denise says, and wanted to maintain a portion of the 81-acre tract for agricultural products.

“We try to be sustainable,” she says.

To that end, they reuse, recycle, and don’t fumigate for flies. It’s not unusual to see her weeding her pasture by hand. They add alpaca manure to their garden and mow pastures every week to contain white clover and promote grass growth. They cut hay three times a year to feed their alpacas through the winter.

Read the rest of this story and view the photos at Winston-Salem Monthly.