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Well they’re my kids kind of cause they all have their own personalities. You can tell by their hum who’s in the barn.
Polly Michaelis

Finger Lakes Alpacas

Not just livestock, a lifestyle

The Finger Lakes Alpaca Farm
By Nick Brown

Who they are

Alongside her husband Ken, Polly Michaelis owns and operates the Finger Lakes Alpaca Farm, one of the more than 34,000 farms in New York.

Although farming is an economical staple in New York, many residents can’t even recognize an alpaca.

“Alpacas are a member of the camel family,” said Michaelis. “They’re actually most directly related to the vicuna. The llama is their cousin. So they’re not quite a cow, not quite a goat.”

What they do

The Finger Lakes Alpaca farm is a full service farm when it comes to working with these animals. They raise, breed, and board alpacas. They shear them, they birth them and they sell them. They also sell breeding services and Michaelis says they “enjoy every minute of it.”

“Alpacas are known for their fleece,” said Michaelis. “The fleece they produce make rivals cashmere. It’s wonderful.”

The Finger Lakes Alpacas Farm does sell some fleece but they don’t really focus on sales.
Michaelis says they used to have a store but they “didn’t want to be Macy’s, so we have someone else that sells” for them.

Why they do it

Michaelis explains that alpacas are very social animals and they need to be around other alpacas to be happy. They also require a certain amount of interaction with their owners to be healthy.

At the Finger Lakes Alpaca Farm, alpacas aren’t just livestock, their a way of life.