Butlers Farm Alpacas offers several options for a day out with what will be your new favorite friend! My husband and I went one weekend for a group tour which was lovely. We met Liz at the farm and she took us around to view the farm.
We started in the paddock with the yearling boys. They were the friendliest of all, and so inquisitive! I brought my ten month old son and the Alpacas just loved him. They were sniffing him and humming to him, being ever so gentle!
Liz tells us that alpacas get bored of us adults rather quickly, but children are very interesting!
In the boys pen Liz shared some rich alpaca history with us while we got up close and personal with lightning and some of his friends. The sounds they make are the most adorable thing I have ever heard. I was a bit worried that they would spit when we first arrived but Liz relaxed us rather quickly with the news that llamas are the spitters, and have given her lovely alpacas a bad reputation.
After learning a little bit of basic alpaca info, we headed to the next pen where the yearling girls were. They were a little less friendly but still so inquisitive that they soon came around as well. I can tell you there is nothing softer than an alpaca! From there we went to have a look at the nursery paddock as I like to call it! Lots of mums waiting to have their babies, called cria. There was one adorable cria that was only a week old born to Cinnamon. She is a good mum and kept careful watch over baby so we only got to see from a distance!
After chatting with Liz for a while we headed inside to the alpaca shop where we learned about the alpaca fiber being turned into a wide array of products. I was amazed at how versatile it is! My favorites was a beautiful alpaca rug, just perfect for your toes on those cold English nights, some warm socks that don't stink, even after you've had them on a week (I've been told), and a miniature alpaca stuffed toy that's nearly as cute and just as soft as the real thing!
Liz shared with us the benefits of Alpaca fiber over sheeps wool and we had a lovely cup of tea and a biscuit to end the day. I enjoyed the group tour SO much, I decided I had to come back for one of Liz's 'Alpaca Experience Days'!
The Alpaca Experience Days start from just £15 per person, and are a real one-on-one experience, and included a walk with your very own alpaca!
This part is recommended for ages from ten and up as the alpacas are good size, and do best with a mature handler.
So, I returned a couple of weeks later (with my very pregnant friend) for a full walking experience and the weather was just gorgeous. Blue skies for miles and the warm sun shining. Every one was happy, even the alpacas, though I think I picked out a feisty one! The two year old "ladies" were all named after chocolates and sweets and I picked out a nice brown one named Toffee. Between you and I, I think Toffee was a bit suspicious of me to begin with, but she settled right in for
our walk. We went for a short walk around the farm and had a great photo opportunity in one of the nearby fields where we got to give our fluffy friends a treat and a cuddle. It was very relaxing, and peaceful. I could have stayed there all day!
After our walk we returned to the shop for a lovely cup of tea and a stroll around the shop.
I will be going back again, several times!
The best part was just being up close and personal with these gentle souls and the worst part? Well, simply that I couldn't take home my own "pack" of alpacas.
So, to sum it up, both experiences were excellent, and included lots of time to just hang out with the alpacas, tons of info, a tour around the store, refreshments, and as many answers as you had questions.
It basically comes down to whether you're up for a walk or not, and at least 10 years old of course.
I felt the prices for both experiences were very reasonable and I'd expect to spend at least two hours at the farm for either experience! You can go rain or shine, but as its booked ahead it's hard to tell what the weather will be. Though The alpacas won't mind, you may want to take your wellies!
Liz was an excellent guide and had a good sense of humor. On our way back to the barn, my chosen alpaca decided she needed to stop for a toilet break, though to be honest she could have read a novel in the time she was doing her business. We all had a good laugh and I promised to bring her something to read for next time.
It was clear that Liz has such a passion for what she does and it's catching. I left wanting an alpaca, or three, for myself!
The Alpaca Experience Days start from just £15 per person
The Alpaca Shop Ltd,
Essex CM5 0QL.