Monday, 16 January 2012

None the wiser.

Well, we really are none much the wiser as to which of our females has miscarried. We did use Legacy to spit-off all of the females in the group, and every one spat, with the exception of 3 girls; who neither sat nor spat. The females in question are the two white girls that were purchased at the Blueberry auction; Nicola and Renata; and Beck Brow Pepsi Lola. We really didn't see the point in over stressing the girls (as two are obviously pregnant) so we will just keep an eye on them.

Looking back at our mating records: Nicola sat readily when first mated; Renata took a little more persuading; and Pepsi was never does that point the finger at Pepsi...I do hope not...this will be the first year that our 'home grown' females will be having their own does make it extra special.

For that same reason I was so pleased that it wasn't Beck Brow Lucie. Lucie's mum (Nancy) came to us at foot with one of the first three females that we purchased. We chose to mate Nancy with EPC Top Account of Fowberry and we were delighted when she produced such a beautiful female, who has now joined our core herd. Lucie, who has fawn in her pedigree,  is now pregnant to our own Waradene St Patrick of EPC. The resulting cria really will give us a chance to evaluate our own breeding is a long process even without any mishaps!

Beck Brow Pepsi Lola (full sister to Poppet)

Beck Brow Lucie

We have had another lovely weekend...treating ourselves to the 10 course tasting menu at the Michelin starred Sharrow Bay Hotel, situated on Lake Ullswater. We went with Robyn and Craig having decided to make this a Christmas present to each other this year. We chose the option to have a different wine (half glass) to accompany each course, so as you can imagine we had rather a jolly time! Hence on Sunday we went walking in an attempt to burn off a few calories...unfortunately I don't think we quite managed to negate the previous evenings intake! Anyone looking to celebrate a special occasion I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Sharrow Bay. We have stayed at the Hotel on a number of occasions but this time decided to save some pennies by staying in a lovely B&B nearby, which we will definitely do again.

Lastly, I have had a complaint about my biased blogging...sorry Colin...I know that Velvet gets much more blog space than Tyke...but she is far naughtier...any way here is a photo of Tyke in his winter gear!

Tyke...who was having a few alpaca problems this one recognised him in his tartan coat!

I have just replied to an email asking for our opinion on the BAS magazine article featuring a local breeder who produces alpaca meat. This was the final paragraph of my reply:

I really do feel that we will be doing a massive disservice to those breeders who have done so much to improve the standards of our national herd, and to our alpaca industry on the whole, if we are to start breeding alpacas with an eye on the dinner table rather than an eye on Saville Row.

All those in favour say aye!


  1. Aye. BTW is Lucy related to Kenzie ? There is a look about them.

  2. Now that you point it out I can see it relation at all though...just fine and bright fleeces in common...they both have that look that suggests such a fleece will be revealed upon closer inspection!

  3. Exceptionally well said Barbara. If alpacas start being eaten, how will we build alpaca numbers to a critical mass to produce the weight of fleece to be taken seriously by the largest mills, who import alpaca tops from Peru in a month what the UK national herd would be able to produce in a year.

  4. Aye! Is that Saville Row tailoring that Tyke is sporting, what a perfect model.

  5. Aye...even though we don't have enough alpacas over here for it to spare any for the table! As we're in Brittany, where they eat everything they keep, (well, maybe not their dogs and cats!), when they ask me whether we eat our alpacas, I tell them that we don't because alpaca tastes disgusting! I guess we should just keep such a myth doing the rounds!!

  6. AYE AYE AYE AYE AYE AYE AYE AYE AYE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    If I remember rightly one of the reasons for sending the alpacas to the abbatoir was that they couldn't sell them as live animals to anyone. If that is the case then they aren't bloody trying hard enough!

  7. Aye..indeed..!!!
    Im just hoping that the responsible breeders out there...value their animals whole heartidly and don't go for the table option...I believe that most of us are not in it for that reason....and I do hope it stays that way....its a sad slippery which I will NOT be going down !!......I can assure you !!....Jayne

  8. Interesting discussion about the question of meat. It's a fairly fundamental one about where the industry is going - is it a niche supporting a dog-show community with a sideline in pets, is it going to be a fleece industry, a meat industry or some combination of all of the above.

    I think that most Aussie breeders at the moment would say the latter - a combination. If it is to make that jump to larger-scale commercial farming - the sort of thing that could support a fibre industry, then meat probably does have to come into the equation at some point. Whether it comes in sooner or later is, of course, a personal opinion.

    This means asking ourselves difficult questions sometimes. If we have a small operation (I'm calling small anything less than 100 alpacas) we probably don't need to worry too much - we should be able to sell all we need to, and if we don't, well we can just breed to our capacity. Once you get past that stage though the pet and hobby market for your spare animals is finite and you have to decide what you are doing with the ones that are not 'making the grade'. Some will always be pets - we have quite a few of little or no value that we wouldn't part with for the world but, if we are serious about building a fleece industry then we have to concentrate on the animals with the inheritable commercial characteristics - low micron that is consistent across as much of the body as possible, low SD, high weight and minimal colour contamination.

    Sadly, we (as an emerging rural industry) do have a history of breeding far too many third rate alpacas in the hope that they will sell to newcomers or that the odd diamond will turn up.

    It's a decision that we haven't had to make yet - we're just at that magic 100 animals mark, but we want to grow. I have to accept that the realities when we reach 200, 500 or more maybe will be quite different.

    I want too see a mature commercial fibre industry built around alpacas. I think it's possible in Australia within the next 5 years - Europe has longer to go, but you're in a great position to learn from our mistakes. I just cannot see any way for the sums to add up unless you factor in a meat sector.

  9. Thanks Perry, interesting to hear what is happening elsewhere. My full reply did touch on many of the points that you have made. However, the BAS magazine article was a feature about a specific breeder (the only one I know of in the UK) who is sending her alpacas for slaughter, and has suggested that that is the only market. This is a very small scale breeder (under 30 registered alpacas although none have been registered in the past 5 years so this must be higher)and I think the views are that we are far from a situation where alpacas can not be sold as pets and our efforts should be about continually improving the standard of our herd by selecting only the best males rather than breeding for numbers, as you have pointed out. It is an interesting debate and I am sure an on-going one!

  10. Love the Pic of young Tyke, looking very smart in the Tartan outfit, I think the lad needs to get naughtier.

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