Alpacas bring a fresh face to horse country - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Alpacas bring a fresh face to horse country

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Todd Allen Todd Allen
Shawn and Lori Mallory Shawn and Lori Mallory
Robin Gedye Robin Gedye

SPRINGFIELD, KY (WAVE) – Have you traveled around the Commonwealth lately? If so, you may have noticed horse country has taken on a fresh face.

Built in 1848, Maple Hill Manor has more to offer than their critically acclaimed breakfast and well appointed guestrooms. The picturesque landscape comes with an interactive feature.

"Guests enjoy strolling the grounds and interacting with the alpacas," Maple Hill Manor co-owner Todd Allen said.

[SLIDESHOW: These photos of Alpacas will make you smile]

Allen grew up on a dairy farm but turned his attention to alpacas after seeing them at the Kentucky State Fair. He began researching alpaca farms in other states and became one of the first 10 alpaca farm owners in Kentucky in the 90's. Now Allen and his business partner breed, show and sell alpacas.

Loved for their beautiful soft coats with high luster, their luxurious fiber is sheered once a year and turned into everything from sweaters to toy alpacas.   

Llamas are used at Maple Hill Manor as guards, protecting the herd of 36 suri alpacas from coyotes.

[SLIDESHOW: Scarves, socks and stuffed animals all made from alpaca fleece]

After all, more than livestock and livelihood all 36 of them are pets with names like Chauncey and Brimstone.       

Visitors are drawn to the oversized eyes, diverse colors and gentle dispositions.    

"People are just fascinated by them because they are so unique," Allen said. 

The fascination also seems to have spread to farm owners. "Since we started there are six other farms that have moved into the area," Allen said.

Among them is Sunshine Alpacas of Kentucky owned by Shawn and Lori Malloy. 

The former Maine residents packed up their alpacas in 2006, along with several other furry and feathered friends, and headed south.

Why Kentucky? It's not too hot or cold for the animals.

"Kentucky's a great place for ‘em. I think it's a perfect location for alpacas," Lori Mallory said.

The Malloys were welcomed to the area by alpaca farmers like Robin Gedye.

Gedye helps the Malloys run their flaggy meadow fiber mill on the property along with his sidekick and house alpaca, Angel.

"She will go in the house anytime you invite her in," he said.

Shawn Mallory, a former engineer, studied how to transform raw alpaca fiber through a series of steps.

They produce custom yarns, stoles, hats and a series of high end high performance socks for hikers, bikers and golfers under brands Altera and Kentucky Royalty. Arnold Palmer even picked up the golf sock, now on display in his kingdom magazine. 

The Malloys use their own fleece and last year they also bought 12,000 pounds of fleece from farms around the country.

When we arrived to meet the Mallorys they had 135 alpacas, but by the time we left there was 136. One of them mothers gave birth.

Alpacas appear to be the next generation of Kentucky farms so don't be surprised the next time you see an alpaca in a pasture or riding in the car beside you.

To learn more about Maple Hill Manor, click here or Sunshine Alpacas of Kentucky, click here. To view Altera products, click here. To see Kentucky Royalty products, click here.

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