If you have ever seen an alpaca firsthand, you probably remember its toothy grin as its big eyes peek at you through long, wavy bangs. If you haven't had the pleasure of seeing one, a ranch in Brownsburg, Indiana, with quite a history of its own is home to a group of these domesticated South American creatures.
Montrose Farms Alpaca Ranch sits on 10 acres at 3750 N. County Road 950 East in Brownsburg. Owner Lori Lovely goes out of her way to make the ranch accessible to the public, including numerous events throughout the year in addition to private tours.
Tucked into what has become a primarily residential area because of the town’s growth, the ranch harkens back to the past with a farmhouse, barns, pastures and, of course, alpacas!
Montrose Farms History
Lori loves history and enjoys discussing the long life of the farm. The farmhouse was built in 1876, and the biggest barn on the property has 1879 carved into its hand-hewn beams.
James Brown, a veteran of the War of 1812, acquired this property as part of the Land Act of 1820. The town of Brownsburg was even named after him. Needless to say this ranch and the land it sits on is rich with history.
But despite all the progress and growth around it, the property has remained a family farm for nearly 150 years, only changing hands a few times. Lori's family purchased the property in 2007, undertaking an extensive renovation of the historic home and readying pastures to welcome their new wooly residents.
The alpacas usually number between 20 to 30 animals. Lori loves to show off the farm and is willing to customize every tour based on interests of those attending. Just give her a bit of advanced notice, and she will happy to take a group from as small as one family to larger school groups on a private tour of the ranch.
There is a small fee for tours based on the size of the group.
Lori's Tips Before You Go
- Wear comfortable clothing.
- Alpacas are curious but nervous at the same time. The calmer and quieter you are, the better experience you will have.
- Lori compares their personality to that of a cat. She said they are more interested in you if you ignore them. For the best experience possible, let them come to you.
- Often guests, especially young children, are afraid of the alpacas, but there is no reason to be scared. They don’t bite, and they really do like people, she said.
Questions to Ask
Need inspiration for what questions to ask when you are there? Here are the most common ones -- or at least ones that might surprise people.
- Why can't they bite you?
- What part of their body do they prefer to be petted?
- What is the lifespan of alpacas?
- Why do males and females need to be housed in separate barns and pastures?
- What is an ideal way to cool them off on a hot summer day?
- Will they respond to their name?
Montrose Farms Alpaca Ranch provides a home to other animals as well. Several livestock guard dogs live among the alpacas to protect them from predators. These dogs are large but friendly to people and enjoy human attention. They also house free-range chickens on their farm.
While visiting the ranch, I had an opportunity to touch the finished goods from Suri alpaca fleece, and I couldn't believe how soft it is. Visitors can purchase blankets, hats, socks, scarves, teddy bears, mini alpaca keychains and even a children’s book that Lori wrote.
They also offer alpaca fleece dryer balls, which replace dryer sheets. They've proven to be a popular seller, as they last forever, and no chemicals are present.
You can shop during your scheduled tour, or visit on Small Business Saturday, where they will be open to the public from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Montrose Farms is always experimenting with new events to get more people to the ranch to meet the alpacas. Two of the most popular have become the annual National Alpaca Farm Day Open House, which always features activities and demonstrations that you can only see at that event, and their Alpaca Yoga events.
For something truly unique, give yoga with the alpacas a try! Here’s a list of some upcoming events, but check their website for more information and for updates:
- Wine Tasting with the Alpacas – Sept. 2
- Alpaca Yoga – 1st and 3rd Saturdays through October
- National Alpaca Farm Day Open House – Sept. 23
- Holiday Shopping – Nov. 25
Lori said she also occasionally hosts engagement dinners and other special private gatherings at the farm. You can contact her about availability and rates.
Photos are always welcome at the farm, and Lori said people especially love to get selfies with the alpacas.
Of course, you will come across many more photo opportunities during this truly unique Hendricks County experience.