When I asked Mark Gilbride, owner of Lazy Acre Alpacas, how he started the business, he laughed.

“I was looking for a way to control ‘the back 40’ so I wouldn’t have to mow it, and I started investigating livestock. My wife Sharon grew up on a dairy farm. Since her father missed every holiday morning because he had to milk, we ruled out cows.”

Lazy Acre Alpacas

Lazy Acre Alpacas

The Gilbrides had considered almost every option and were about ready to give up when they discovered Alpacas.  There seemed to be no downside, so eight years ago, they bought seven pregnant Alpacas.

Today, they have more than 90 Alpacas and Mark knows each by name. The farm is a family business and they raise Alpacas for breeding, to show and for the fluffy fleece used to make ultra-warm sweaters, gloves and socks.

Alpacas are cousins to camels, llamas, guanacos, and vicunas and grow to about 1/3 the size of llamas. There are two breeds of alpacas – the suri and the huacaya – and the Gilbrides raise the second type which, when in full fleece resemble fluffy teddy bears. They come in approximately 22 different colors as well as blends of those colors.

Alpacas are gentle, curious creatures. At first meeting, you might get the sense that they are going to kiss you because they come close enough to smell your breath.

My daughters make friends with an alpaca

My daughters make friends with an alpaca

Lazy Acre Alpacas is located at 8830 Baker Road in Bloomfield, NY in the Little Lakes Region of the Finger Lakes. (CLICK HERE FOR MAP) Visitors are requested to make reservations in advance to tour this working farm to “meet” the alpacas and see the farm’s birthing and medical care centers. Reservations can be made by calling (585) 624-5477 and tours are $5 per person. The onsite shop also sells beautiful products made from Alpaca fur. The owners of this farm also have another shop named Alpaca Country located at 4 North Main Street in downtown Pittsford.

This is a terrific year-round outing for the whole family! And hey, you may come home with a new pet to cherish, provide warm fiber and help you keep your ‘back 40’ shorn!

For more information, visit: http://www.lazyacrealpacas.com