When I first started looking into alpacas I kept hearing this word micron. What the heck is a micron? After listening, asking questions and reading research I think I have it figured out. Pretty important word to know as an alpaca breeder. So here is what I found. . . .
Micron count is a way of evaluating each hair or fiber on the alpaca. So in many ways a micron is a tool. It’s a way to figure out the value of your alpaca’s fleece. Like this . . . . .
I shear my alpacas, send the side sample off to Yocom-McColl which is a lab that use microscopes, scanners and computers to evaluate that sample and then tells me the results. Based on the micron count, that they tell me, I then know the best use of the fiber.
Like this. . . . . . .
Very fine 20 – 22 micron count
I have an alpaca that has a micro count of less than 20 up to 22 microns then I’ll want to make something that is next to the skin and will be gently used maybe a shawl or baby items.
Most versatile 23 – 28 Micron count
Micron counts that are 23 – 28 are the most versatile and can be used for lots of items that are worn very comfortable next to your skin. Because alpaca is so soft, alpaca breeders want everyone to feel this comfortable fiber.
Then there is the higher number of micron count such as 29 – 32 this might start to feel a little less comfortable. There is still a use for this warm and cozy alpaca fiber and that would be to use it in batts, felt or outerwear.
What is a micron?
A micron is a tool that alpaca breeders use, to determine what product to make from the raw alpaca fiber that comes off their alpacas. A micron is a tool that helps alpaca breeders breed for that product. Do you want your alpacas to make rugs, felt, batts, outerwear OR baby soft blankets and shawl? It’s helpful to know this word micron. What is your goal for breeding alpacas? Now you know, plan accordingly.