Twins Chen Chen and Molley May are alpacas at the National Western Stock Show in Denver.
Twins Chen Chen and Molley May are alpacas at the National Western Stock Show in Denver. They belong to Cheryl Keydel, a woman who raises alpacas on a ranch called Ancient Treasures Alpaca Ranch in Arvada, Colorado. Surprisingly, Cheryl did not grow up with alpacas. She grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin. About 14 years ago, Cheryl decided to raise alpacas because it was a job she could do and still spend time with her kids. Now she has 15 alpacas but Molley May and Chen Chen are the only two she is showing at the Stock Show. Cheryl goes to the Stock Show every year with her alpacas to teach people about them.
One of Cheryl’s employees, Teresa Dew helps train the alpacas so Cheryl can show them. A few of Cheryl’s alpacas have won a prize at the Stock Show. A funny thing that Cheryl’s alpacas do is try and undo the Velcro on their pens with their mouths. They also make interesting noises such as humming. Cheryl explained that alpacas are very important to Colorado because they are part of an agricultural business to help the economy be strong, and they are also environmentally friendly. To make a living, Cheryl breeds the female alpacas and sells their young. Also, she sells their fur and turns that into yarn and clothing. Alpaca fur is very soft and warm.
Cheryl says that over 300 people in Colorado raise alpacas. Here in Colorado, it is easy to raise alpacas and all you need to provide for them is food, water, and a three-walled shelter. At her ranch in Arvada, Cheryl offers tours to schools, scout troups, disabled children and elderly groups. She says, “Alpacas teach people how to be sensitive to other people’s needs because if you are not sensitive to an alpaca’s needs, they will be afraid.”