Meet Audrey Hackbarth, the “Alpaca Whisperer” who has turned her passion for these four-legged, furry friends into a full-time endeavor. Her story began in 2010 when a severe car accident left her housebound. Her husband Mark, looking for a way to cheer her up, bought her a baby alpaca named Chiquita to keep her company. Audrey fell in love with the adorable creature and, soon after, started a hobby of raising alpacas. Little did she know it would turn into a lifelong passion.
Now, Audrey has dozens of alpacas on her property and is known as “Alpaca Audrey” by her friends. She does everything from shearing, washing, carding, spinning, dyeing, weaving, felting, and making rugs and slippers from fleece. Her alpacas have even become celebrities around Wisconsin Rapids as she often loads one up in her “car” and drives into town, stopping at the local strip mall or alongside the road to sheer the alpaca for all to see.
For Audrey, raising alpacas has been a life-changing experience. As she says, “You can go out on your worst day, and they can make you feel really good. They see me at the front gate in the morning, and they all come running.” And the lesson she’s learned from this experience? “You can’t just have one potato chip; you must have more.” Just like her love for alpacas, you can’t get enough once you get a taste.
Audrey’s alpaca farm has become a destination for visitors and tourists who want to learn more about these fascinating animals. Audrey offers tours of her farm. Visitors can meet the alpacas, learn about their care and breeding, and even try their hand at spinning and weaving with alpaca fleece.
But Audrey’s work with alpacas continues further. She is also active in promoting the benefits of alpaca fleece and raising awareness about the importance of sustainable farming practices. She participates in local fairs and festivals and is always eager to share her knowledge and experiences with anyone interested.
Audrey’s love for alpacas has also led her to become a mentor for new alpaca farmers, sharing her expertise and helping them navigate the unique challenges of raising these animals. She is a true advocate for alpacas and the benefits they bring to the community.
In a world where technology and urbanization are dominating, Audrey’s farm is a breath of fresh air. It’s a reminder of the simple pleasures of life and the importance of connecting with nature and the animals around us. Audrey’s alpacas are more than just animals, they’re a part of her family, and her farm is a sanctuary where visitors can experience the joy and tranquility that these gentle creatures bring.