As a livestock industry, there are unique terms associated with alpacas...
Accoyo: the Peruvian ranch of the world-famous alpaca breeder, Don Julio Barreda; imported animals that orignated on his ranch carry this name.
agist: board alpacas at a ranch; used originally of the feeding of cattle in the king's forests, and collecting the money for the same.
allele: the pairing of genes — dominant 'AA', recessive 'aa' or mixed dominant-recessive 'Aa'
altiplano: the foothills of the Andes moutains in Peru, Chile, and Bolivia, original home of alpacas ~ "New World camelids"
Aragon: region of Spain; symbolized by the native pomegranate, a fruit of bounty [see the Name Dance]
blanket: prime fleece on the main body of the animal; best quality for spinning
breed back: a breeding with any herdsire from the ranch from which a pregnant female is purchased, following her delivery; offered in contracts as a three-in-one deal.
brightness [of fleece]: the quality of alpaca fiber that reflects light
camelid: mammal family to which the alpaca belongs; also includes camel, llama, vicuna, and guanaco
colostrum: the initial rich milk produced by a new mother soon after delivery; vital to stimulate immunities in the newborn [see IgG]
conformation: the appropriate alignment of the alpaca's body structure in proportion to the whole animal
cria: an unweaned camelid baby; from old Spanish word for "create."
crimp: the wavy crinkle of fiber strands from a Huacaya alpaca [see photo of fleece below]
cush: upright resting position, sitting with all legs tucked under; sometimes spelled 'kush.' A female ready for breeding will cush for the male so he can get into position behind her.
dam: female parent
fhleming: male behavior of sniffing pasture areas (especially the poop pile) where females have been, lifting their nose into the air to inhale the scent, much as a person would test the aroma of a wine
fiber: the product of shearing an alpaca; interchangeable with 'fleece;' never referred to as 'fur' or 'wool.'
fighting teeth: the tiny sharp teeth that grow mid-jaw in adult alpacas; males use them to render other males in the herd impotent. These teeth are filed down in a managed herd situation.
fleece: the fiber of an alpaca; lanolin-free. Huacaya fiber is crimpy, while fleece of the Suri alpaca is silken.
gelding: a castrated male
guard hair: the longer, medulated single hairs interspersed with the finer fiber on a huacaya alpaca or llama
guanaco: the rarest relative of the alpaca, native to the Andes
hembra: adult female alpaca
herdsire: adult male alpaca used for breeding
huacaya (wah-KI-yah): one of two types of alpaca, with thick, fluffy fleece suggesting the 'teddy bear' look
humming: the most common audio communication between alpacas; a melodic, purring sound that indicates nervous attention, as a mom calling to her cria, or an adult separted from the herd.
husbandry: the watchful care and intervention by humans to the herd for optimal health maintenance; vaccinations, toe-nail trimming, nutrition, protection, etc.
ideal alpaca: perfect in every sense of conformation — proportional body, straight legs, dense fleece, overall coverage, crimpy fiber, presence and stature, aligned teeth.
IgG: Immunoglobulin G; a blood test during the first days of a cria's life determines IgG levels, to monitor absorbtion the necessasry colostral antibodies from its mothers milk.
improved alpaca: the overall look of the animal is balanced and typey
induced ovulator: the female is stimulated by the breeding process to release an egg for fertilization; cats are also induced ovulators, different from a female cycle that the male then responds to.
junior herdsire: intact young adult male alpaca, not yet mature for breeding
lama: umbrella term for sub-category of camelids that includes llamas and alpacas. An alpaca is a lama.
llama: larger cousin of the alpaca. A llama is a lama.
luster: the rich gleam of the Suri's silky fiber
macho: adult male alpaca
maiden: young adult female, not yet bred
medulated fiber: the thicker, hollow-shaft fiber that sometimes populates the fleece and sticks out beyond the finer, crimped fleece of a Huacaya
micron: one-millionth of a meter; referring to the width of single fiber of alpaca fleece
micron count: the average of measurements within a fiber sample
orgling: the trumpeting love song that a male sings to the female during breeding
orchard grass: low-protein grasses either growing in the pasture or baled as hay; not alfalfa
pasture breeding: placing a male in a pasture with females in a to breed 'at will' according to their maturity and readiness; less human involvement than with pen breeding.
pen breeding: purposefully placing one male and one female in a pen together with the intention of breeding
Ppperuvian: the 3 "p's" indicate the third Peruvian import of alpacas into the US
primitive alpaca: one whose overall conformation and structure is out of symmetry
pronk: romping, cavorting and prancing behavior, especially between young animals
proven: an animal, either male or female, who has successfully parented an offspring
retained CL: "corpus lutum" = yellow body, referring to the casing of the unfertilized egg. When not shed by the body (i.e., retained), hormones may still respond, thus giving a "false pregnancy" reading when spit-testing (see below).
roving: fiber that has been cleaned, carded and rolled (much like a clay 'snake'), ready for spinning
ruminant: having a multiple stomach digestive system, maximizing low-quality food sources
shearing: the annual clipping of the fleece off of the animal
sire: male parent
spinning: creating yarn from the fleece — using a spinning wheel or a drop spindle — to be woven, knitted, crocheted or felted into clothing and accessory items
spit test: parading a bred female in front of a potent male. If she 'spits him off, ' his services no longer interest her. This is a low-level pregnancy test.
suri : one of two types of alpacas, marked by silky fleece that hangs in long, curled pencil 'dreadlocks'
tui [too-ey] fleece: softest first fleece sheared from a young cria
typey: refers to 'ideal' look, with good conformation and proportional balance of body parts: legs, body, neck and head of similar height and relative to overall body length. Visual test: animal 'fits in a box.'
unimproved: an alpaca with characteristics more 'primitive' than 'ideal,' such as camel-like head and face, banana-shaped ears, elongated body
unproven: an animal that has not yet participated in breeding; if female, has never been pregnant; if male, he has not yet impregnated a female; no offspring has been born.
vicuña coloring: red-brown above with cream under neck, belly and insides of legs; referred to in Huacaya alpacas that probably carry vicuña genes.
weanling: a newly weaned alpaca, usually at least six months old but less than one year.