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The Illinois Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association (IAOBA) is the official Illinois Affiliate of the Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association (AOBA).

Be sure to stay updated with IAOBA and check out our News & Events Page.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have regarding this organization, alpacas or IAOBA membership

IAOBA - Illinois Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association

Welcome to IAOBA

IAOBA (Illinois Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association) is made of 34 farms and growing every day. The mission of the Illinois Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association is to band together to aid in the awareness and growth of the alpaca business in an educational, supportive, and honest manner. As a member of IAOBA you will be part of a team of positive alpaca owners that proudly represent Illinois, its success and dedication to quality genetics, understanding, and healthy alpacas. Please feel free to contact any member for more information on joining IAOBA.

What is an Alpaca?

Alpacas, cousins to the llama, are native to the Andean Mountain range of South America, particularly Peru, Bolivia, and Chile.

Alpacas were first imported into the United States in 1984. Since then, the alpaca industry has grown steadily, according to the Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association (AOBA), the backbone of the alpaca industry. Current estimates total over 100,000 registered alpacas with the Alpaca Registry, Inc. (ARI) in the United States and more than 4,000 AOBA members in North America.

There are two types of alpacas in the United States today. Although almost physically identical, what distinguishes the two types of alpacas is their fiber. The Huacaya (wa-Ki'-ah) is the more common of the two and has a fluffy, extremely fine coat. The Suri is the rarer of the two and has fiber that is silky and resembles pencil-locks.

Adult alpacas stand at approximately 36 inches at the withers and generally weigh between 150 and 200 pounds. They do not have horns, hooves, claws or incisors. Alpacas are alert, intelligent, curious, and predictable. Social animals that seek companionship, they communicate most commonly by softly humming.

Alpacas are shorn, without harm, every twelve to eighteen months. They produced five to ten pounds of luxurious fiber. Long ago, alpaca fiber was reserved for royalty. Today it is purchased in its raw fleece form by hand-spinners and fiber artists. Knitters buy it as yarn.

Because of its soft texture, alpaca fiber is sometimes compared to cashmere. Making the fiber even more coveted, it has the luster of silk. Alpaca is just as warm as, yet 1/3 the weight of wool. It comes in 22 natural colors, yet can be dyed any desired shade.

Containing no lanolin, alpaca fiber is also naturally hypoallergenic. Most people who are sensitive to wool find that they can wear alpaca without the itching or irritation they feel from wool because alpaca fiber is smooth.

Make sure you check out Rail Splitter Alpaca Show.

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