BILLINGS- ‘Tis the season for those family Christmas photos with Santa, and this year a Billings family is offering a different experience for the yearly holiday greeting card: Christmas photos with alpacas.
The Mule Trail Alpaca Ranch on Mule Trail Road in Molt has 63 alpacas living their best lives raised by the Cox family.
The family started with 13 alpacas and, three years later, has more than tripled their herd.
The fibers from the alpacas are shaved just like sheep, and in turn, are weaved into luxurious garments.
“Mittens, scarves, hats, insoles for shoes, socks. Socks are great,” said Angie Lynby-Cox, who operates the ranch with her husband and kids.
“Alpaca fiber is a wonderful fiber,” she said. “The shawl I’m wearing is made out of alpaca fiber.”
The alpaca stems from the camel family and come from South America.
“So they will spit and they are known for growing very luxurious fiber. It was once reserved for royalty,” said Lynby-Cox.
At Mule Trail Alpaca Ranch, the family has a few different kinds of alpaca breeds which can make different varieties of fibers.
“It’s very warm. It has wicking properties. It has antimicrobial properties as well, so it’s just a great fiber,” he said.
And Lynby-Cox says the best part about these alpacas is their friendly and welcoming personality, something she says is great for pictures.
During recent holiday seasons and largely trending on social media, the alpaca and llama animal caricature has taken on a kind of stardom. Alpaca fans find themselves sharing funny GIFs and customers decorating their homes with alpaca and llama merchandise from ornaments to pillows to cards.
Lynby-Cox has noticed the trend and because of that is inviting the public to come to S-Bar-S Building Supply in Lockwood on Saturday for a chance to take Christmas-themed pictures with the alpacas.
Out at the alpaca ranch, Lynby-Cox showed off her summer alpaca babies, the youngest born in August is the smallest of all the alpacas, but arguably the spunkiest.
“We will be there with alpaca products with all of our mamas and babies and a few of the yearlings.”
The alpacas and goods will be available for sale and pictures for the public from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. again in Lockwood at S-Bar-S Building Supply.