Alpacas in New England are raised to sell off their offspring, and to produce their very soft fleeces that are shorn once a year, usually in May. New England alpacas produce anywhere from three to ten pounds of raw fleece worth about $40/lb.
Sheep's wool, by comparison, might get in the range of $4/lb and has significant amounts of waste material as well as lanolin. Alpaca fiber will be stronger (more crimp) and more resilient than the finest sheep's wool, warmer by weight, and more highly prized for its unique silky feel.
Here in New England, the hand spinners, weavers and knitters are particularly attracted to the natural colors...snow white, coal black, rose gray, reddish brown and cream...some 32 distinguishable colors in all.
Most of the fiber produced by New England alpaca farmers is processed at mini-mills which custom process lots into yarn and roving...often as small as five pounds. There are more of these mills in New England, and in particular in Maine, than anywhere else in the United States.
Hopefully, you will find these articles to be helpful whether you are a crafter, breeder, or anyone in between!