Barbara and Piotr Okólski from Korczyna have been breeding alpacas for 13 years. They are animals that come from South America. Their valuable fleece is used to make various products, mainly quilts and pillows, and the Alpax company they founded is well-known all over Poland and abroad.
Alpacas are undemanding, but like all animals, they need proper care. The photo shows Barbara and Piotr Okólski and their herd
In summer, alpacas can be seen on the hills at the foot of Królewska Góra and near Kamieniec Castle. They are animals similar in stature to llamas. They come from the camel family and their native land is South America, namely the mountainous Andes in Chile and Peru. The most valuable thing they have is a coat.
Piotr Okolskic he first saw alpacas abroad while working in Belgium. † After my return I started to learn more about these animals. At the time they were not that popular in Poland and it was difficult to find information – he remembers.
Despite this, in 2008, together with his wife, they bought the first herd, which consisted of 4 Huacaya breeds. At one point it grew to even 30 pieces. Alpacas lived in wooden buildings on straw beds, they got their fences and pastures on a farm of more than 2 hectares.
The Okólski herd currently has 12 alpacas
Soft as cashmere
Alpaca wool is recognized as one of the best natural wools in the world. † It feels like cashmere – extremely soft and light, and at the same time very warm and durable. It is three times stronger than sheep’s wool and six times warmer than it. In addition, it contains almost no lanolin, so it is anti-allergic – says Mr Piotr.
It also has many other health properties: it soothes neuralgia, ensures healthy and restful sleep, does not collect dust and sweat and eliminates mites. It helps in the treatment of many diseases, especially rheumatic diseases.
Editing is not easy
When buying a herd, Mr. Piotr had an idea of how he would use the fur of his animals. He decided to process it. The case was a little easier because Mrs Barbara she is a seamstress. † As a child I helped my grandmother make quilts from sheep wool and anilaan – say.
Alpacas are animals that have been gaining popularity lately. They are bought for communions, birthdays or other occasions without realizing that they need proper care. They live up to 25 years
They made the first threads on a spinning wheel. † After that we already had so much wool that we decided to start a spinning mill. There was a big problem finding suitable textile machines, which we only completed after about 4 years.
The processing is not the easiest, because the fleece is very exciting. † The whole process is done by hand and it takes us a lot of time. First we clean the fleece from straw and hay. Then we wash them, dry them and brush them on the machine. Then we make quilts or yarn from it – explains Mrs Barbara.
One alpaca can produce about 80 decades of finished yarn. † It is difficult to say how many runes, because it depends on the quality of the alpaca. From one animal you can get 2 to 5 kg – explains Mr. Piotr.
Huacaya alpacas are cared for once a year
To improve the quality of their products, the Okólski family sold their old herd some time ago and bought new breeding stock of much higher quality. Alpacas are not cheap animals. For a good quality animal you have to pay between 15,000 and 20,000. zloty. Men are even more expensive, it will cost up to 40 thousand. zloty.
Wool for quilts, animal for zoo therapy
Alpax mainly produces duvets and pillows. She sews quilts in all sizes, from the smallest – for children’s beds – to the largest of 220×240 cm. Their cost varies from 1 to 2 thousand. zloty.
In addition, the company makes hats, scarves, socks and part of the fleece is processed into threads. † The problem with clothes is that we lack people who can knit – say the owners.
Thanks to the spinning mill, the Okólskis also began to provide services to alpaca breeders from all over Poland and abroad, including: Denmark, Sweden, Norway. † In the beginning we only reworked our fur, and then we started taking orders from others. Friends recommended us to their friends until we became known all over Poland and beyond. Customers send us raw wool after cutting alpacas, and we make ready-made products from it.
The fiber from which the yarn is made
Currently, the Okólski herd consists of 12 animals. The young that are born are sold to those who want to establish and expand a breeding farm or improve the genetics of their herd. They also reach customers who provide alpaca therapy. It is a form of zootherapy that supports the physical and mental rehabilitation of people with disabilities.
† Not all alpacas are suitable for this, some are so wild that it is impossible to tame them. The alpaca intended for therapy must be accustomed to touch from an early age, for example during feeding – says Mr Piotr.
Breeders admit that alpacas are undemanding, but like all animals, they need care. † If someone decides to breed, keep in mind that there are no holidays or weekends off.
The company Alpax is a producer of, among other things, duvets, pillows, hats, scarves, socks and yarns
The Okólski family farm is adjacent to Kamieniec Castle and Prządki Reserve, which is why many tourists visited them before, who wanted to go for a walk with these animals. The farm has been closed to visitors for two years. † We just don’t have time for it. Maybe someday we will come back to this activity – adds Barbara.
Information about Alpax can be found on their website† Also works online shopwhere you can get acquainted with the offer.
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