A Little Time and a Keyboard: Enchanted by the Darling Alpacas of Magic Meadows Alpacas in Wonder Lake, Illinois

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Enchanted by the Darling Alpacas of Magic Meadows Alpacas in Wonder Lake, Illinois



Meeting the Sweet Suri Alpacas of Magic Meadows Alpacas

Over the past year, I have been connecting with Sally, co-owner of Magic Meadows Alpacas, over Instagram. Seeing her sweet alpacas and chatting with Sally always provided a bright spot as we navigated the pandemic. So, I knew I would have to visit Magic Meadow Alpacas to not only meet Sally but also to learn about the precious alpacas! This October, we spent a morning at Magic Meadows Alpacas enjoying quite an extraordinary time exploring the farm.

At Magic Meadows Alpacas, we felt just like one of the pack.
At Magic Meadows Alpacas, we felt just like one of the pack.

Learning about Alpacas

Before meeting the alpacas, Sally and her husband Mike shared a bit of an intro. The couple knew they wanted to have a sustainable farm where animals could live out their normal lives while contributing. Sally became acquainted with alpacas on an Elgin farm and quickly knew they would be the right animal for their farm. After 15 years of searching for the perfect spot, Sally and Mike found their dream farmette in Wonder Lake. Magical Meadows Alpacas was born!

We learned that there are two types of alpacas -- Huayaca and Suri alpacas which can be distinguished by their fleece. The alpacas of Magic Meadows are Suri alpacas. We observed that Suri alpacas have a fleece that grows into and hangs in curly clumps. When you look at a Suri, the fleece looks a bit like a series of sweet, curly locks -- at least it did to me. Shearing isn't until spring, so I totally loved seeing some of the longer pieces of hair! The fleece of a Suri can get to about 3-4 inches long! 

The Suri alpacas of Magic Meadows Alpacas enjoying the morning.
The Suri alpacas of Magic Meadows Alpacas enjoying the morning.

Sally taught us about the history of alpacas in the US. Originally from Peru, alpacas were initially brought to the US more for showing rather than for their fiber. However, in more recent years interest in their luxurious fleece has increased. Alpaca fibers can be used for knitting, weaving, felting, and more. Alpaca fleece is quite silky and sumptuous as well as water repellant. A fantastic fiber!

Rainier saying hello!

After learning about the alpacas, we joined them to feed them. They were pretty excited to receive a snack but did still displayed their overall precious dispositions. While excited to eat, we did not find them overly aggressive. They also were very inquisitive, watching to see what we were doing during our whole visit. Such a fun experience!

Fun feeding the alpacas of Magic Meadows Alpacas.
Fun feeding the alpacas.

While a bit shy, Suri alpacas are some of the sweetest animals you will meet. They definitely exhibit sparks of curiosity but also like to be on their own. We did constantly meet their gazes as they assessed what we were doing. A few of Magic Meadow's alpacas are exceedingly friendly including darling Black Velvet! Every time we were near, she seemed to be in tow. 

Black Velvet at Magic Meadows Alpacas saying hi! She definitely likes a little attention!
Black Velvet saying hi! She definitely likes a little attention!

We did learn that a baby alpaca is called a cria up until a year old at which point they are called yearlings. Alpacas can live to about 18-years-old. Shirley Temple is one of Magic Meadows' first alpacas. She had a cria 11 months after joining the farm. We learned in fact that most females purchased are already pregnant!

Interesting Fact: Llamas are used in protecting alpaca herds.

Shirley Temple is Magic Meadows Alpacas first alpaca! She has a lovely, caramel and cream fleece!
Shirley Temple is Magic Meadows Alpacas first alpaca! She has a lovely, caramel and cream fleece!

Another interesting tidbit we learned --- alpacas have soft footpads reminding me more of those of my shelties. I actually thought they would have more of a hoof! So, just like with my shelties -- they have to be careful in the brutal cold that we can have during winter.

What Do You Use Alpaca Fleece For?

Sally is working on felting and has created some breathtaking designs. I tried my hand at felting with my daughter a few years ago and it was difficult for us so I totally admire Sally's talent. The pieces she showed me were incredible including this horse which I think would be a stunning piece for a home or cabin.

Felted horse on a divine alpaca fleece from Shirley Temple at Magic Meadows Alpacas.
Felted horse on a divine alpaca fleece from Shirley Temple!

Sally also makes all-natural pet beds from alpaca wool. As a dog mom myself, having an all-natural pet bed is definitely a comfort. Other products sold by Magic Meadows Alpacas include socks, finger puppets, stuffed alpacas, and more!

Magic Meadows collaborates with a local mill called Alpaca Pines in Poplar Grove. Alpaca Pines processes fiber into felted sheets, yarns, and more. Speaking of yarns, yarns crafted from Magic Meadows Alpacas' fibers are award-winning!

Magic Meadows Alpacas lovely pet beds as well as socks, finger puppets, mini alpacas, and more!
Magic Meadows Alpacas' lovely pet beds as well as socks, finger puppets, mini alpacas, and more!

Milk and Honey loved getting in on the selfie with Sally and me!
Milk and Honey loved getting in on the selfie with Sally and me!


Activities at Magic Meadows Alpacas:

Magic Meadows does give tours May - October. They are by reservation only. Additionally, you can arrange times to visit the farm with your group. Magic Meadows collaborates with Sweet Feet Yoga for yoga classes with alpacas! The alpacas are so sweet and gentle during yoga sessions. After, practitioners can help feed them! I am looking forward to checking this out next spring! Additionally, you can schedule an alpaca photoshoot!

Memorable Experience at Magic Meadows Alpacas

Meeting Sally and Mike was like meeting up with old friends! They are so engaging to talk to and show their enthusiasm for their alpacas! They both show joy in spreading awareness about these gentle animals. Our adventure to Magic Meadows Alpacas certainly was magical! Sally and Mike have truly forged an incredible space for alpacas to enjoy their lives while contributing their silky fleece. Furthermore, Sally and Mike have opened up the world of alpacas to all of us so we can learn about these sweethearts! We are so grateful that Sally and Mike shared their farm with us!


Enchanted by the Darling Suri Alpacas of Magic Meadows Alpacas in Wonder Lake, Illinois






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