Alpacas are delightful, gentle 4 footed animals that are known as huacayas or camelids, in the same family as camels. They are originally native to the Andes Mountains in South America, specifically in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Chile. Generally, they grow to be between 120 and 190 lbs, and may be as tall as 3 ft at the shoulder. They tend to be extremely social animals, and generally will only thrive when they are living with other alpacas. Over the past couple of decades, alpacas have been introduced into the United States. While they are often viewed as pets, the animals are primarily farmed for the fiber of their fleece. The material has a wonderful softness of texture with a beautiful brilliance and luster. The fiber is very fine and silky. It is generally considered to be warmer than wool and not as prickly. While sheep’s wool contains lanolin, alpaca fiber does not, so it can be ideal where hypoallergenic material is needed. The fiber is harvested as the alpacas are sheared. Typically this will occur only once a year. Spring is the usual shearing season, so that the animals will be more comfortable during a hot summer. Farmers may process the fiber themselves, or sell it to other crafters. The material is commonly woven or knitted into items such as scarves and sweaters, blankets, hats and gloves and other textile products. It is also used in bedding material. The animals may have a number of different colors, allowing unique designs and patterns. As with many farm animals, or even pet animals, scales should be used to obtain accurate weights. Animal scales are required because there may be very wide variances to the size of an animal, even within a specific type. Weight is used to determine the quantity of feed required. It is also used as a means of following the general health of the animal, in terms of weight gain or loss. Most importantly, the weight of the animal is used to calculate the proper dosage of medications or other supplements. Clearly, a 190 lb animal requires a very different dosage than one which may way 30 lb. Alpaca scales have been designed by Arlyn Scales specifically for weighing these special animals. A standard veterinary scale that is used to weigh dogs or cats may not be large enough for an adult alpaca. The platform size should be about 22 x 44. This makes a comfortable space for the animal to stand with some space to spare. A washable rubber mat for the platform is included. This provides a cushioned feel for the animal, giving added comfort and stability. It also covers the shiny metallic platform, which may make the alpaca jittery. Importantly, the platform has a very low profile of only 1 7/8. The alpaca will easily be able to step up onto the rubber mat without any effort. All animal scales should be constructed from materials that can withstand a wet environment. Furthermore, animal waste material should not cause corrosion. These alpaca scales are welded from aluminum plate and aluminum extrudes channel. The actual weighing devices, the load cells, are machined from solid rods of a precipitation hardened stainless steel. Not only will they withstand the water and other liquids, but they are also capable of absorbing significant shock loads. These types of abusive loads may be experienced by the scales when they are transported. Dropping the scale platform, or dropping heavy items on the scale can cause the same shock. The most common type of material used for making load cells is aluminum. This type is much more likely to be permanently damaged from this type of abuse. Another important attribute of an excellent alpaca scale is the type of digital indicator. The Arlyn alpaca scale comes complete with a display that is housed in a water resistant, gasketed enclosure. It will not be damaged if it is left outside in a rainstorm, or if it wiped or hosed down to clean it. Of course the housing enclosed sensitive electronic circuit boards. It should not be fully submerged, nor should a high pressure or steam hose be used on it. The digital display itself is very large with excellent contrast. This permits the weight readings of the alpaca scale to be easily viewed, even in outdoor areas of bright sunlight. A membrane type switch panel permits different weight units, such as pounds or kilograms, to be selected for the display.