“This one really likes me!” exclaimed an exuberant kindergartner one cold November morning as he fed a hungry alpaca. He and about 50 of his classmates descended upon Vintage Alpacas, a third-generation breeding farm in Brooklyn Heights, to learn about this unique animal.
Owner Kim Rassi explained where alpacas come from (South America), what they eat (grass), and that their coats produce a fiber that’s warmer than wool. The children took turns feeling the raw fiber, touching the yarn into which the fiber is spun, and finally, seeing the headbands, gloves, and socks that are made from the yarn.
They fed the alpacas a dry feed consisting of barley, alfalfa, and oats. “Some of the students were a little skittish, but I explained that alpacas won’t bite because they don’t have any upper teeth. However, they should move slowly so they don’t scare them. Otherwise they might spit,” said Rassi. Among some of the questions she tactfully answered were, “How do you know if it’s a boy or a girl?”
“This is one of our most favorite field trips,”remarked kindergarten teacher Wendi Cichocki. “The students love getting up close feeding the alpacas. Kim Rassi is wonderful in providing an educational field trip in our own backyard!”