An Alpaca herd grazing along the highway caught my family’s attention while traveling through Central Oregon. The emerald pastures and quaint 1911 white farmhouse of Crescent Moon Ranch incited an impromptu visit. Crescent Moon Ranch gleams like a jewel among the high desert’s craggy lava rocks, Juniper trees, and tumbleweed. The Cascade Mountain Range’s Three Sisters and Mt. Jefferson, and Oregon’s beloved Smith Rock flank the ranch’s famous Alpacas.
Owners Scott and Debbie Miller welcome visitors at Crescent Moon Ranch and encourage guests to hand-feed the Alpacas, stroll along their pastures, and shop in The Alpaca Boutique, a former potato cellar. The Alpaca Boutique sells a variety of products including Alpaca clothing and home accessories, and other non-fleece mementos of a ranch visit. Shorn each spring, Alpacas produce 22 colors of fleece considered one of the softest and rarest natural fibers worldwide. Their fleece is even hypoallergenic.
Crescent Moon Ranch set two world records when it separately bought and sold the most expensive Alpacas. The Millers’ championship breeding program includes breeding, raising, boarding, buying and selling Alpacas. Alpacas originated in mountainous regions of South America, providing warmth and revenue from their fleece, and as a food source. These herbivores are part of the camel family and cousins to llamas. Only two breeds of Alpacas exist. The common Huacaya breed’s crimped fleece resembles the classic Teddy Bear. The rare Suri breed’s fleece grows into long ropes similar to Dred Locks.
Experts describe Alpacas as gentle, intelligent, and shy. They reproduce one cria (baby Alpaca) per year during their lifespan of 15-20 years. The average adult weighs 125-175 pounds and measures 32-38 inches at its withers. The average cria weighs 15-20 pounds and nurses for six months, with mama already pregnant within a few weeks of each birth.
My family arrived at Crescent Moon Ranch in time to witness two simultaneous births in the pasture, from pregnancy to first wobbly steps. The newborn pictured is Ophelia’s handsome little guy. He was strong and determined to stand up despite the common interference of his curious herd. Crescent Moon Ranch and its visitors will enjoy seeing his personality develop!
Crescent Moon Ranch and the boutique are open for visitors daily from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at 7566 N Hwy. 97 in Terrebonne, Oregon. The mailing address is PO Box 600, Terrebonne, OR 97760. For information, go to crescentmoonranch.com or call (541) 923-2285.
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