Quality Breeding Stock, Luxury Fibre in North Wales
01341 450762, firstname.lastname@example.org
We strive to breed animals that are consistently healthy and well-developed, with strong bones and strong constitutions, able to thrive in our sometimes harsh mountain environment. These are qualities heavily influenced by environmental factors, of course, particularly diet and supplements during pregnancy and lactation. These factors are largely under our control. In the rare case of a defect of suspected genetic origin, the alpaca will be withheld from breeding, unless as a surrogate for an embryo transfer. Strength and health are one area where the stud’s contribution can really shine, and we choose to use only studs who are physically outstanding.
We believe that the future of the UK alpaca industry lies in fine fibre and lots of it. It is the silky softness of the best alpaca yarn and textiles that makes people say, “Wow!” and provides confirmation that we’re producing something unique and valued. The main fleece properties we measure and strive to improve still further are:
By monitoring individuals over time, we can see that some tend to keep their fineness, others “balloon out” after just a few years. It is common for new breeders to buy their initial stock young, near the peak of their fleece quality, when unfortunately any propensity to coarsen will not yet be apparent . As the UK herd ages and more breeders see their animals living into their 20s, we expect the importance of longevity of fineness to be more widely appreciated. In the meantime we are working to eliminate fast-coarsening animals from our breeding pool.
We love all shades of alpaca fleece, but aim for solid colours for ease of processing, particularly with an eye to large-scale processing in the UK in the future. Colour is notoriously unpredictable in alpacas except where there are several generations of solid whites or solid blacks (even then, it’ s never a certainty.) Browns and fawns have not yet had the same degree of selection, and as our herd is almost all glorious shades of brown and fawn, our cria colours are often a surprise. Two fawns or even two browns frequently make a white! We have also had brown cria from white+fawn. All colours are fine by us, however we do discourage spottiness whenever it emerges. A small patch of a different colour, perhaps out of the way on the head of an alpaca, may be cute – these animals are often the first attraction for farm visitors and for anyone looking for non-breeding fibre stock – but spots are highly heritable and may become much larger and more unfortunately- placed in the next generation. Spots can also be hidden – a fawn alpaca may genetically be fawn with fawn spots, which only become apparent when the spots become brown spots in the next generation! For breeding decisions and sales sheets, we assess alpaca colour based on the whole animal, not just the nominal blanket colour required by the registry.