Alpacas no joking matter at Baggy Britches Farm

Staff Writer

FREDERICK, Md. (Feb. 3, 2015) — Lynn Cherish, at Baggy Britches Farm, has been raising alpacas since her brother bought her one “as a joke” after she saw some at the fair and kept talking about them being “the neatest animal.”
“You can’t have just one alpaca,” Cherish said, so we bought two males and three females,” she said.
Cherish and her husband, Nick, an engineer, had moved back to Maryland from Missouri in 1986, to her family’s mostly wooded 68-acre farm in northern Frederick County, at the foot of the Catoctin Mountains, and began raising goats.
When they added alpacas to the farm, they found they were easy to care for and since they are mainly a forage animal, they require mostly hay and some grain.
The name, “Baggy Britches Farm” came about when her husband looked at that  first Alpaca, Abe, which they still have, and said “They look like they’re in pajama pants.”
“We name the ones we breed after clothing,” Cherish said, “ like ‘PJ’.”
A native of Frederick County, Cherish grew up raising horses and has a background in business and economics but she has also worked as a substitute teacher and loves doing fiber demonstrations at elementary schools like Walkersville in Frederick County.
She also mans a booth at The Great Frederick Fair Careers Fair every year promoting the Alpacas.
She is quick with the positive aspects of alpaca fleece, its versatility and its quality.
“Alpaca fiber is warmer than many other fibers. stronger than Mohair, finer than Cashmere, smoother than silk, softer than cotton, warmer than goose down, more durable than wool and breathes better than thermal knits, according to my sources,” Cherish said.
It also can be blended with other fibers like sheep wool and other wools and silk. It is very soft and lustrous, she added.
Alpacas come in 22 natural colors from white through shades of brown and black.
Cherish has some of her wool processed at a mill in Pennsylvania but does some of her own carding. She spins, dyes some of the yarn, sells yarn and fiber products as well as some of her animals. Cherish hires a shearer to shear her Alpacas once a year.
Cherish added it can be difficult to find a veterinarian experienced with Alpacas and she uses Dr. Sarah Link who owns Link Veterinary Associates.
Cherish now has 33 Alpacas, twelve males and two of the females are due in the spring.
Sires are both bred and purchased for herd growth.
She has five herd sires including Diablo which she purchased from a Tennessee breeder.
“I always try to upgrade by breeding,” she said.
All of Cherish’s Alpacas are registered with the Alpaca Owners Association and registered Alpacas also have the information inserted in a micro chip implanted in the animal.
“I try to show as at many fairs and shows as I can and one of my Alpacas took third place at a National Show. She sometimes transports her Alpacas to a show in her mini van and she also shows at fleece shows.
“My primary concern is to make sure my animals are well cared for whether in the field, at a show, or being fed.”