Alpaca World Magazine Autumn 2012

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Classical Publishing Ltd © 2012


The only independent magazine reporting on the international alpaca industry. Distributed by subscription worldwide and through country stores across the UK, Alpaca World Magazine reaches the largest readership in its market.

Issue 43 Autumn 2012 ISSN 1477–7088 Editor: Rachel Hebditch Vulscombe Farm, Pennymoor, Tiverton, Devon, EX16 8NB Telephone: 01884 243579 Mobile: 07540 748803 Email: Advertising: Heidi Hardy Telephone 01598 752799 Email: heidi@ Copy deadline for the next issue: 7th December 2012 Design and Production: TRG Design 68 Rivermead Road Exeter EX2 4RL Telephone: 01392 279371 Email: Printed in England by: Magazine Printing Company Plc. The material contained in Alpaca World Magazine is compiled by the publishers for information purposes only. Although the material included has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, no guarantees are given as to its accuracy or completeness. Readers are reminded that expert advice should always be sought in individual cases.

WE HOPE YOU ENJOY ANOTHER ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE JAM PACKED WITH USEFUL AND INTERESTING ARTICLES. THIS QUARTER WE HAVE SUFFERED AN ADVERTISING DOWNTURN BUT DECIDED TO KEEP THE MAGAZINE AT ITS PRESENT SIZE TO GIVE YOU AS MUCH TO READ AS POSSIBLE. We would like to ask you to think of us when working out your advertising strategies and if you are not yet a subscriber, please subscribe. Alpaca World magazine is read all over Europe and the rest of the world, it is sent to over 100 country stores to help our advertisers reach the widest possible audience and distributed at most alpaca shows. We feel Alpaca World magazine does a good job for the industry promoting the alpaca and providing readers with all the latest husbandry advice. If you, like us, want the magazine to survive in these tough times, please consider advertising with us, in print or online. Happy Christmas to you all.

Inside Alpaca World Magazine Autumn 2012 18

Front cover: Alpacas in Snowdonia, Karen Goswell


British Alpaca Futurity returns to Birmingham


Northumberland Show, Tynedale Park


Southern Alpaca Group Romsey Show

6-7 Alpaca Classic gets off to a flying start

Whilst every care has been taken in the compilation of the material contained in this issue the publisher does not accept responsibility for any loss arising out of such changes or inaccuracies nor for any other loss suffered as a result of information contained in this issue. Notice to Advertisers: It is a condition of acceptance of advertisement orders that the publishers, Classical Publishing Ltd, do not guarantee the insertion of a particular advertisement on a specific date, or at all, although every effort will be made to meet the wishes of advertisers; further the company does not accept liability for any loss or damage caused by any error or inaccuracy in the printing or non appearance of any advertisement, or if we decide to edit or delete any objectionable wording, or reject any advertisement. Although every advertisement is carefully checked, occasionally mistakes do occur. We therefore ask advertisers to assist us by checking their advertisements carefully and to advise us by the deadline given should an error occur. We regret that we cannot accept responsibility for more than one incorrect insertion and that no republication or discount will be granted in the case of typographic or minor changes which do not affect the value of the advertisement.



Honiton Show… mud, tractors and all

10 The Passing of a legend 10 Calling all owners and breeders 10 Stat-Pak bTB testing challenged

SPECIAL FEATURES 12 Trial by export 18 The call of the wild 32 Hidden Secrets of the Fleece histogram


FEATURES 24 Folk on Trent 38 Colourbration 2012 58 Letter from Belgium

24 64

64 Alpacas as fire masks

HEALTH & WELFARE 40 Parasite paradise 48 Rickets: the silent killer 52 Ask the vet

REGULAR FEATURES 68 Letter from France 72 Breeders directory ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE | Autumn 2012 | 3


If you have news of events or developments within the alpaca industry which you would like to share with others please send it to: The Editor, Alpaca World Magazine, Vulscombe Farm, Pennymoor, Tiverton, Devon EX16 8NB, United Kingdom Email:

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NATIONAL SHOWPIECE RETURNS TO BIRMINGHAM IN 2013 British Alpaca Futurity, March 15th & 16th 2013

THE LARGEST ALPACA EVENT in Europe, the British Alpaca Futurity 2013, will once again be staged at the National Exhibition Centre, near Birmingham. A celebration of all things alpaca and a showpiece for the British industry, the Futurity will take place on Friday, March 15 and Saturday March 16 at Hall 3A. More than 400 alpacas are expected to take part in the halter classes for suris and huacayas and there will be an international fleece competition. This year's Futurity saw the


introduction of the Alpaca Fibre Arts Village where fibre artists in alpaca and other fibres could display and sell their work. The Futurity 2013 will host a much expanded Alpaca Fibre Arts Village with more sellers who will also demonstrate their craft to the public. There will be trade stands available for sellers of alpaca equipment, feed, textiles, bedding, clothing and so on. The many fibre enthusiasts, photographers and artists in the UK are invited to put their

skills to the test and enter the Photographic, Art and Craft competition. All the entries will be displayed at the Futurity. An auction of elite alpacas is planned for the early evening of the Friday in the show ring and on the Saturday there will be an invitation only dinner, prize draw and the awards ceremony. The Futurity is a non profit making show backed and organised by a group of alpaca breeders, The Alpaca Stud, Houghton Hall Alpacas, EP

Cambridge UK, Classical MileEnd Alpacas, Bozedown Alpacas and Moonsbrook Alpacas. The full information pack will be available on the website in November. For more information before that is published, please contact the Futurity Production Manager Chas Brooke chas@ or 01884 243579. If you would like to join the mailing list for our regular email updates please let us know at


NORTHUMBERLAND SHOW BIDS A FOND FAREWELL TO TYNEDALE PARK CHAMPION’S SASHES were shared out amongst six different breeders at this year’s Northumberland Show, judged by Jay Holland. Supreme Champion was awarded to Houghton King of Fallowfield. As well as the halter classes a fine array of knitwear and yarns was offered for sale and brisk trade was done. As always the Alpaca Show drew huge crowds and once judging had finished the public were allowed into the marquee to see the animals up close. HUACAYA CHAMPIONS Black Female: Nero Black Boudica, Nero Black Alpaca Black Male: Nero Black, Nero Black Alpaca Grey: Little Eskrigg Looby, Little Eskrigg Alpacas Brown Female: Barnacre Meketaten, Barnacre Alpacas Brown Male: Westyett Talisman, Westyett Alpacas Fawn Female: Fallowfield Minerva II, Fallowfield Alpacas Fawn Male: Houghton King, Fallowfield Alpacas

On what was a relatively fine day, by this year’s standards anyway, the entry was hit slightly by a later than usual date, and limitations on space. Next year however the show is back at its traditional date and moves to a new venue which offers us much more space. We are therefore keen to invite as many breeders as possible to get the date, 27th May, into their diaries and make 2013 the biggest and best Northumberland Alpaca Show ever. We hope to see you there. White Female: Fallowfield Petra, Fallowfield Alpacas White Male: Northumbrian Carlyle, Northumbrian Alpacas Huacaya Supreme Champion: Houghton King, Fallowfield Alpacas Best Northumbrian Alpaca: Fallowfield Petra, Fallowfield Alpacas Huacaya 3 Progeny by One Sire: Houghton King, Fallowfield Alpacas SURI SUPREME CHAMPION: Greenside Suri Romulas, Greenside Alpacas

SOUTHERN ALPACA GROUP ROMSEY SHOW ON A BEAUTIFUL sunny and very warm day on 8 September, Liz Barlow judged approximately 130 alpacas, both huacaya and suri, at our Supreme Huacaya Champion

second Regional short fleece show run as a colour champion show. Held in the beautiful grounds of the Broadlands Estate in Hampshire and as part of Romsey Agricultural Show, one of the oldest shows of its kind in England, we had the opportunity to showcase alpacas to over 25,000 people and we

attracted large crowds around our show ring all day. With exhibitors from Hampshire, Wiltshire, Dorset, Sussex, Berkshire, Somerset and Hertfordshire breeders large and small were competing against some of the best animals in the country. The intermediate white suri male Bowford Alpaca Stud Samual Hood won Supreme Suri Champion

and Alpaca Stud Nyetimber a senior grey male won Supreme Huacaya Champion. This is only the second time a grey has won a show champion ribbon, which he richly deserved for his correct conformation and remarkable fleece given his age of just over 5 years. Put the date in your diary for Romsey 2013 – 8th September it’s sure to be a very popular show.

Supreme Suri Champion



"A MILESTONE FOR THE UK ALPACA INDUSTRY" Alpaca Classic Elite Auction draws international expertise and home grown quality.

SATURDAY 15TH AND SUNDAY 16TH September 2012 saw the success of the first ever Alpaca Classic Elite Auction held at Bozedown Farm in Reading. The sale, attracting over 30 pedigree alpaca entries was the first of its kind in the United Kingdom and an exciting step forward for alpaca breeders UK wide. The show and sale organisers, Bozedown Alpacas and The Alpaca Stud wanted to make this an event, not just a sale and they did just this with special guests coming from as far as South America to be a part of it. Held over two days a number of seminars were presented on the growing industry by experts in their fields; Alonso Burgos of Peru, Brett Kaysen from America and Claire Whitehead from the UK.


The whole event was a joint venture between two of the country’s leading breeders, and buyers attended from Cumbria, Bedfordshire, Wales and across the UK. Nick Harrington-Smith of The Alpaca Stud commented on the success of the event; “Our objectives were to make available the very best genetics, provide an opportunity for education from international speakers giving international perspective on the industry, to demonstrate that there was a market place for very good animals in the UK and it was an opportunity to reinforce the Alpaca industry here in the UK." "There were plenty of things to be taken home from this event and it was rewarding to see the industry show such willingness and a desire to attend. American, Brett Kaysen was very informative and broke down how and why the American market has continued to grow from strength to strength”. The auction was held on the Saturday evening and was conducted by livestock auctioneers Harrison & Hetherington. The auctioneer was David

Thomlinson of Harrison & Hetherington and introducing all of the animals was Brett Kaysen. The two formed the perfect double act and their personalities dovetailed within the auction ring creating a competitive but fun atmosphere. The two top prices on the night night were Alpaca Stud Raziya, a two year old female who sold for 10,000 guineas and Bozedown Gracie II, another two year old female also selling for 10,000 Bozedown's Mary Jo Smith said: “We wanted to put on an event for the industry to show people where the quality of the animals was at in the United Kingdom. It was also to show that decent prices can be achieved which was certainly noted with the sale of Bozedown Gracie

II and Alpaca Stud Raziya. This was a great opportunity for breeders to meet with some of the foremost international speakers on alpacas and breeding”. Over 100 serious breeders attended and the average price achieved was around £8000 per animal. Harrison & Hetherington’s auctioneer David Thomlinson gave his feedback on the sale, “There was a great vibe and a very buoyant trade. There were some fantastic animals and this was reflected in the exceptional prices reached on the day. Overall the Alpaca Classic 2012 was a huge milestone for the industry and an event that will hopefully gain even more traction in 2013”.


CLASSIC GETS OFF TO A FLYING START! The international alpaca judge Liz Barlow gives us her thoughts on new event WOW, WHAT AN EVENT! People were not really sure what it was all about when it was first announced, but once breeders got to grips with the concept they attended and were treated to a very successful event. The Saturday was bright and sunny and a surprising number of people were there for the first speaker - Brett Kaysen from Colorado. Brett is an amusing and educational speaker. He manages to cover his topic in such a way that everyone learns something from experienced breeder to new owner. He gave three talks over the two days; “Form and Function, the foundation of success”; “America's most effective marketing tool” and “How to create a numeric scoring system that helps you to evaluate your herd” After starting off by explaining the need for sound conformation in which he used a partner in one of the host farms as an example, Brett entertained the audience again, just prior to the auction, when he dispelled some of the myths about auctions. He told us that alpaca auctions in the USA are auctions of the very best alpacas and that prices the previous week had reached $145,000 for a HALF share in a male, $43000 for a maiden Suri female and that the average was $9595. He gave us all some useful hints and tips about selling alpacas; that you have to make an effort - be there at the auction or show stand; know all the details about your alpacas, give out leaflets and freebies as reminders and offer something extra such as delivery or a free mating. Alonso Burgos had travelled all the way from Peru to bring us information in two sessions on the processing of fleece and the alpaca herd improvement programme that they have been running at Pacomarca for 12 years. After some mind boggling figures about the amount of fleece that they process (7 million kilos per year) he showed us how small a percentage of all textiles alpaca

fibre accounts for (0.01%) so there is a lot of opportunity out there in the market (synthetics account for 63.4% and cotton 28.7%). He shared with us the world prices of alpaca (which depends on micron and colour and Huacaya/Suri). The world price recently for extra fine white Huacaya which was around £ 3.73 per kilo (it is sold in Quintals which are 46 kilos!). He announced that Peruvian processors are going to start paying for colours which range from white to black, but are all solid colours and do not include grey (as this can be blended). They think that this will encourage breeders to move into these solid colours over the next few years. He explained that the Inca Group, one of the then 3 main fibre producers in Peru (now only 2) had decided to move into alpaca breeding with a genetic programme to improve the fleece quality and to then help and educate the small local producers. Their first attempt was ruined by a volcano but they started again buying seed stock from Barreda and others on the altiplano. His detailed and interesting talk explained the system of measurement and record keeping (vital to any breeder) that has helped them to major

improvements in fleece quality and to identify those traits with greater heritability. They now have over 4 million pieces of data analysed by a leading geneticist Dr Gutierrez. They measure Fineness, Density, Absence of other coloured fibres (white in black etc), Absence of guard hair and resistance. What he made clear was that although they have recently started a system of measuring conformation (using just one person to make the assessment), the aesthetic appeal of the alpaca does not play much of a part in the selection – the alpaca that has the best fleece would probably not win a show! They are also using ET which they do themselves and have their own lab. The auction was held at the end of the first day, which was somewhat different to other

auctions held in the UK – we had our traditional auctioneer who was complemented by Brett Kaysen, who had looked at each alpaca and was able to add information as the lots were paraded. His exuberance and style were something to be seen with loud “whoops” for some of the bidders. Despite the free bar the previous day and exuberance from those that had made a purchase, a surprising number of people were back at Bozedown, bright eyed and bushy tailed (well almost) for another fascinating session of talks; Brett gave us a very practical session on scoring our own herds so that we can be more systematic in our breeding decisions whilst Claire Whitehead told us about the advances in alpaca genetics and the implications for herd health and improvement.

The Inca Group, one of the then 3 main fibre producers in Peru, had decided to move into alpaca breeding with a genetic programme to improve the fleece quality and to then help and educate the small local producers.




Tractors come to the rescue... to get exhibitors IN to the Honiton Show ground! Rachel Hebditch reports. OUR GLORIOUS SUMMER meant that the Honiton Show was moved from the beginning of August to the end of the month. It was still wet, but not AS wet, and most of the exhibitors got in without incident - apart from us of course. Our


trailer ended up after an impressive slide through the mud, hopelessly skewed across one of the roads on the show site, waiting for a tractor. Tractors were hard at working towing in the late comers and the queue to get in was so long that our

judge Nick Harrington Smith was held up too. However it was a beautiful day, the alpacas dried out, judging went along at a brisk pace, the tractors became redundant and we all left under our own steam.

Supreme Champion Suri: Popham Suri Dreamcatcher, Popham Alpacas Supreme Champion Huacaya: Classical MileEnd Orlando, Classical MileEnd Alpacas




CALLING ALL OWNERS AND BREEDERS By Claire E Whitehead BVM&S MS DACVIM MRCVS, President, BVCS THE BRITISH VETERINARY CAMELID SOCIETY is organising a satellite Owners’ Conference on Sunday, October 28 alongside the annual vet conference. The main speaker is Jane Vaughan, coming all the way from Australia so come and take advantage of the chance to hear this brilliant speaker. This is a fantastic opportunity to get some great education and network with other camelid owners and breeders. Jane will be giving four lectures which are Reproductive Physiology, Difficult Breeders, Artificial Breeding of Camelids and Practical Alpaca Nutrition. Claire Whitehead will be talking about the Care of Neonatal Alpacas and Llamas and Skin Problems and How to Deal With Them whilst Karin Mueller will give a lecture on Care of Geriatric Camelids. The conference costs £115 for the day which includes lunch and refreshments and the conference proceedings. It will take place at the Donnington Valley Hotel and Spa

IT IS WITH great sadness that we have to report the passing of Wessex Rural Alianza Wiracocha at the grand old age of 20 + years. Wiracocha was a legend amongst the alpaca breeders of Peru and he was a major factor in Rural Alianza’s show success, including winning the Grand Champion at the Peruvian National Show in 1997. In 2004 Wiracocha was the first of the Plantel males to be exported to Europe. Word of his arrival at Alpacas of Wessex in Wiltshire spread very quickly as he was clearly very special and a generation ahead of other stud males in the UK. He displayed excellent bone structure, a very fine uniform fleece and great presence. He was only shown once in the UK, winning Supreme Champion at the Royal Bath and West Show in 2005. Wiracocha retained his wonderful fleece, with his 18th fleece remaining under 15 micron with a comfort factor of 90%. His contribution to the British Herd has

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been immense, siring 235 registered progeny, 119 males and 116 females. Of his sons 13 have gone on to be stud males and his progeny have enjoyed great success in the show ring. It is notable that Wiracocha's progeny are nearly all solid white, indeed he only sired 11 coloured progeny a fact that was directly related to the fact that he liked his ladies to be white and would reject any ladies presented who were coloured. Wiracocha had been in retirement at West Dorset Alpacas since 2010, although right up until this Summer he still liked to think that he was capable of working and retained his great prescence. However, towards the end he was toothless and suffering from advanced rheumatism. He was a very special gentleman who will be missed by many in the alpaca world. RIP Wiracocha and thank you for all the wonderful progeny who will carry forward your tremendous genetics.

on the outskirts of Newbury. This is an easy location to get to by car or train (only 2.5'ish miles to the local station at Newbury) and the hotel itself is a lovely spot to enjoy the weekend too - there is a golf course and health spa on site. A number of rooms have been reserved for owners at the hotel but please book early with us to avoid disappointment because rooms will be released 2-3 weeks prior to the event. Please make sure that your vet knows about the Vet Conference taking place at the same venue on 27th/28th October and encourage them to come along - details posted on our website at www. Also, the BVCS is sponsoring 2 vet student places at the Conference – if you know any budding vet students interested in camelids, please encourage them to apply. Details on the website. If you have any questions please email Graham Reed at gtr@ or Claire Whitehead at

STAT-PAK bTB TEST CHALLENGED A GROUP OF ALPACA BREEDERS have asked members of the British Alpaca Society to support an Extraordinary General Meeting to challenge the board on its stance on the Stat-Pak test for bovine tuberculosis. Special Resolutions will be tabled at the EGM that could involve the removal of the board of directors and a commitment not to sanction or recommend the test in its present form. This follows an earlier petition supported by 140 alpaca herds, representing nearly a third of the national alpaca herd, that called for an urgent meeting with Animal Health and DEFRA. That meeting has now taken place as has a meeting between the BAS Board and a group of 'commercial breeders' meaning those who wholly or largely depend on their alpaca businesses as a means of income generation. Although it

appeared at the meeting that three commercial breeders would be co-opted on to the Board, only one was asked and subsequently declined the offer. Since then the petitioners sent another letter to the BAS asking them not to recommend the Stat-Pak test to members and the BAS emailed a paper from DEFRA setting out DEFRA's proposals to recommend the Stat-Pak test for alpacas, initially on a voluntary basis. If you have not received the email asking for an Extraordinary General Meeting you can email to request a copy and you will find links there to the group's 'request to the BAS Board' of 19/9/12 and a link to the 'response to the DEFRA/BAS circular'. The DEFRA proposals and the research results into the StatPak test can be found on the BAS website

Subscribe to To be certain of obtaining future copies of Alpaca World Magazine fill in the subscription form below and return it to the address on the form. The only way to be sure of receiving every issue of Alpaca World magazine is by subscribing. The annual rates are: UK £28, Europe £38 (approx. €45) and the rest of the world £48 (approx. $72). Subscribe now by doing one of the following: 1  Using your credit card at our website: 2  Fill out the form below and post to us complete with your cheque or credit card details 3  Complete the form below and fax back to us with your credit card details I would like to subscribe to Alpaca World Magazine for the next 4 issues at an inclusive rate of UK £28, Europe £38 (approx. €45) and the rest of the world £48 (approx. $72).

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TRIAL BY EXPORT Disease surveillance and bio security has always been a priority to Tim and Tracey Hey at Inca Alpaca but earlier this year their practices and good name were put to the test with the assumptions and conclusions drawn by the Swedish authorities in relation to Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB).

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The alpacas arrived in Sweden in good health

The implications of having sent infected alpacas abroad would be devastating for us and other UK based alpaca owners.


ast winter Tracey and I confirmed a sale of four females and one young male to Jörgen Larsson of Nybo Alpacas in Sweden. We had exported alpacas to Jörgen in the past so we were prepared for the thorough testing requirements for the next export that we had planned for the spring. March came and the alpacas were blood tested for Brucellosis and skin tested for bTB in accordance with European law. We also carried out some additional testing on the alpacas including IBR, Johnes Disease and BVD. On a cool March morning our vet arrived and certified the export and shortly afterwards the lorry from John Parker International came and the alpacas were transported to Sweden. The alpacas travelled well and arrived at Jörgen’s farm in good health where they were unloaded and then put into quarantine. The Swedish government require alpacas to remain in quarantine in Sweden for 100 days post importation where they were subjected to more testing. As the Swedish quarantine process moved on, the alpacas were in perfect health and seemed to be enjoying the spring weather. In late May the Swedish authorities decided to begin serological testing all alpacas imported from the UK for bTB as Sweden claims to be bTB free. The choice of test they decided to use was the Chembio Brock Stat PAK Test which is a blood test that is designed for testing badgers for bTB by looking for antibodies to two antigens associated with a bTB infection. The authorities began to roll out the testing regime and Jorgen’s alpacas were first on their list. The vets came to Jorgen’s farm in the week beginning the 21st of May and took blood from all 5 alpacas and then sent the blood back to the UK for testing. On the 6th of June the samples reached the UK for testing and on the 8th of June we were told

that two alpacas had tested positive to bTB and that they would be destroyed immediately. This obviously came as a huge shock to Tracey and I, not to mention poor Jörgen in Sweden. On the 12th of June the two alpacas were slaughtered and post mortem testing began. The press in Sweden, in fact the majority of the Scandinavian press, went public with the result with the main headline being bTB found in alpacas imported to Sweden. We immediately questioned the result as 2 alpacas out of 5 alpacas having bTB did not fit the health and bio security profile of our herd of alpacas in England. Surely this wasn’t right?! We also questioned the accuracy of the Brock STAT Pak test as we knew it achieved a minimum of 7% false positive results and recent research in the UK indicated a much higher false positive rate when this badger test was used on alpacas. Our farm in Dorset has very tight bio security measures that we set up to limit the disease routes entering our farm. We pride ourselves on having one of the tightest bio secure alpaca farms in the world. We installed a 100% badger proof electric fence nearly 3 years earlier, we operate a 9 month quarantine on all alpacas purchased and entering the herd and these alpacas are tested for a variety of diseases before entering the premises. There are disinfection points for all visitors entering the farm and we have a 5 metre non contiguous double fence surrounding the property. Our adult mortality rate was also extremely low; less than 0.5% per year and all deaths have full post mortem examinations carried out and we have never had any confirmation or suspicion of bTB in the past. Back in February this year our vet, Alastair Hayton from Synergy Farm Health, informed us of a new ground breaking bTB serological blood test that had been developed by Enfer

The transporter lorry, to take the alpacas to Sweden

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Enfer Laboratories, Nass, Ireland

Example of typical results for 4 Alpaca blood samples

1 Scientific of Ireland with over £5million worth of private funding. The Enferplex TB test was developed to accurately detect bTB in live animals and it has been refined for commercial use in cattle and camelids. Enfer Scientific are working with Scottish scientists from MV Diagnostics in a joint venture to develop the test in alpacas and other species, including humans. Before the Swedish situation came to light, Alastair had already suggested that Inca Alpaca might like to become the first alpaca herd in the world to have this test performed on every alpaca on the farm with a view to identifying our bTB status. The events in Sweden forced us to take some immediate action to identify our herd’s bTB status. If we did have a problem we wanted to find out right away. After some intense discussions and thought, we decided to have our entire alpaca herd blood tested using the Enferplex Test with a view to proving to the Swedish authority that our herd was serologically clear of bTB. The science behind the Enferplex Test and the extensive testing that they had already carried

Our 100% badger proof electric fence

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out on over 120,000 of cattle, 1300 alpacas and many more species gave us the confidence that the Enferplex Test would give us an accurate result with a very low percentage of false positive results. The brief science of the Enferplex test is: When an alpaca is infected with TB its immune system tries to control the infection by making cell mediated responses and antibody responses. These are two separate arms of the immune system and act in different ways to try and control the TB infection. The presence of these responses can be used to diagnose the fact that the alpaca is infected with TB. Cell mediated responses can be detected by the skin test and by the gamma interferon test. These become positive early in the infection but wane as the disease gets more serious. Antibody responses can be measured by the Enferplex TB test which can become positive about 2-3 weeks after the animal becomes infected and generally gets stronger as time goes on. TB can be a very difficult infection to diagnose. Unfortunately not all animals, whether alpacas, cattle or humans, respond to TB by producing detectable skin, gamma interferon and/or antibody responses at all stages of the infection. Further the skin test is very inaccurate in alpacas and the gamma interferon test, while being a good test for cell mediated responses, is expensive, takes a long time to perform and requires very specialised facilities and expertise to make it work.



The Enferplex TB test is both sensitive (it is good at detecting infected animals) and specific (it can be set to minimise any false positives). It is easy to take the sample and get it to the lab in good condition, it is relatively inexpensive to perform, it is robust and produces objective results, and the test can produce a result within 3 hours in the lab. The Enferplex TB assay is a multiplex assay which detects antibodies to seven separate purified antigens from the TB organism. The antigens are spotted separately onto plastic and then reacted with serum from the animal. If the animal is infected with TB and has antibodies in its serum these stick to the antigen spots on the plastic. These antibodies can then be revealed with a stain which causes the spots to glow. If the animal does not have TB antibodies in its serum the spots will not glow. The amount of light produced by the spot is a measure of the amount of antibody in the serum and is recorded via a digital camera and computer. Because the antigens are in separate spots, rather than being mixed together as in other antibody tests, the response to each antigen can be measured separately. This makes the test very sensitive and very specific as the number of antigens is greater than in other tests and you can see exactly which antigens are being responded to by the animal. The problem with TB is that individual animals only make responses to a few antigens at a time and you need to use a panel of seven antigens to get the best results. This is true in humans too.


We pride ourselves on having one of the tightest bio secure alpaca farms in the world. Enferplex test procedure:

1. Blood sample

2. Test plate

3. Test Reader

4. Results analysis

Sample number 1 on the extreme left is from an uninfected animal. The other samples are from 3 infected animals and show how the different spots vary in the amount of glow. This shows that different animals produce different amounts of antibody to the different antigens and emphasises why you need a large number of antigens in the assay, and that you need to be able to analyse the response to each antigen separately (not all mixed together as in the Idexx and StatPak tests) to get maximum sensitivity and specificity.Back on the farm we quickly made preparations to take blood from the whole herd and, on the morning of the 21st of June, three vets and a number of handlers took the blood we needed and it was couriered to Ireland for testing. The results shortly followed, out of 265 alpacas, 263 alpacas tested completely negative for bTB and 2 alpacas were considered to show a very marginal positive reaction on three antigens. The advice of MV Diagnostics and Enfer Scientific was that these two animals were very likely to be negative as their antigen profiles were nowhere near the pattern seen in true positives. However, given the vital importance of clearing any doubt, following discussion with Defra, these animals were sent for a full post mortem carried out by the government body AHVLA - Animal Health Veterinary Laboratories Agency - to confirm that they showed no evidence of disease. Both alpacas were found to be completely clear of bTB and were deemed to have given false positive results in the Enferplex test. This equated to a 0.75% false positive rate when using the Enferplex Test. Meanwhile back in Sweden the authorities had carried out full post mortem examinations on the two Stat Pak positive alpacas and these two alpacas were found to be completely clear of bTB on visual assessment, microbiology, histopathology and finally by culture. These results came as a huge relief for Tracey and I as well as all the breeders that keep their alpacas on our farm. The implications of having sent infected alpacas abroad would be devastating for us and other UK based alpaca owners. We are now confident that the Stat Pak test results on the two alpacas that were slaughtered in Sweden were false positives. The fact that the Stat Pak test was not validated or licensed for use in alpacas did not stop the Swedish Authorities using it as a test that would undoubtedly change people’s lives and businesses forever. Before any attempts of confirmation of disease had been made, the authorities had notified other Scandinavian veterinary offices that we were a bTB infected herd and consequently that all alpacas exported to Scandinavia from our farm may have the

Minutes before two alpacas were slaughtered

disease and should be tracked down and checked immediately. After we received our herd negative result for bTB from Enfer Group we began to dig into the procedures that were followed by the Authorities in Sweden. We immediately made some startling discoveries as to a possible reason the alpacas probably gave a false positive result when tested using the Stat PAK test: Chembio (the manufacturers of the Stat Pak) issue the instructions for the handling of blood to be tested for bTB as follows: “Samples perform best when tested immediately after collection. Specimens should be immediately refrigerated at 2 to 8°C following collection and can be used up to 3 days. If testing within 3 days is not possible, the specimens should be frozen at -20ºC or colder until use. Avoid repeated freezing and thawing.” The National Veterinary Institute of Sweden were asked if the test material (blood) from our alpacas was frozen when it was sent to England, and they said no. The Stat Pak test was carried out in England 8 days after the blood was taken in Sweden. We cannot confirm that the mishandling of the blood was the result of the positive results or whether it is possibly due to the inherent specificity of the Brock Stat Pak Test(the Brock and Camelid Stat Pak tests no longer appear on the Chembio website as products for sale) ), but it certainly has raised some questions. What is for certain is that Tracey and I, as well as all of our customers and investors, have been through a huge amount of pain and anguish as a result of the positive results this test produced, and the consequent actions of the Swedish authorities, not to mention the heartache Jörgen and his family have had to go through in Sweden when they watched two of their prized alpacas being put to sleep. We have now been fully compensated for the loss of the alpacas by the Swedish Government and they are currently retracting their previous statements regarding the suspected disease prevalence in our herd. Through the use of the Enferplex Test, we established that our herd is serologically clear of bTB and our tough bio security measures will ensure that we remain extremely low risk for years to come. ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE | Autumn 2012 | 15

Mark Smallman A6 Advert.qxp



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The CALL of After a decade and a half living on the west coast of America, Karen Goswell upped sticks and returned to the UK to breed alpacas. Here she writes about going back to her roots in Snowdonia.

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the WILD

ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE | Autumn 2012 | 19


We were moving into unknown territory for us humans, too, away from the cosy bustle of alpacabreeding in the SW and into the relative wilds, in camelid terms


oving our alpacas to Snowdonia, North Wales, is not the wildest thing we have ever done, but at the time it felt like a bold step. Alpacas are famously tough, evolved for altitude and extreme weather. Logically, nothing in the UK should faze them… Still, our alpacas make a habit of surprising us so we could not be certain. We were moving into unknown territory for us humans, too, away from the cosy bustle of alpaca-breeding in the SW and into the relative wilds, in camelid terms. Culturally, we’ve lived abroad most of our adult lives, with nearly 15 years near cosmopolitan Seattle, amid the stunning scenery of the Pacific Northwest. Now, after six years in a very English and rather genteel area of Somerset, the move was sideways into Cymru, back to our family roots. Our younger (American) children are now enrolled in bilingual (English/Cymraeg) schools and our neighbours quietly farm sheep. Previously we were ten minutes from the veterinary school at Langford, with all its camelid experience - a great support especially in the beginning. Now we must be more self-reliant, trusting to find a vet willing to learn and to use resources and referrals as needed. We had planned to introduce ourselves in a thoughtful way of course but that went out the window, as plans do, when one of our yearling boys found a rhododendron bush the day after we moved in. The farm vet met the news of the sudden arrival of a herd of alpacas on her patch with aplomb and saved the youngster’s life, thereby becoming an instant hit with us. So the adventure began. 20 | Autumn 2012 | ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE

ROOM TO ROAM Until 2011 we had just a small herd of alpacas in Somerset, with a few neat paddocks of 0.5–3.0 acres in size, each full of lush grass. The alpacas had little to do but eat, and pose for photographs when walking parties came by on the footpaths. Seeing the animals now in the mountains has been quite a revelation, and something of a relief, as they appear to love it here just as much as we do. Given a wider space in which to roam, a variety of terrain throughout the day from little hollows to granite outcrops, free choice of a smorgasbord of herbage instead of monoculture grass, and lookout points everywhere from which they can see for miles, the herd has grown greatly in confidence. We notice it as we walk among them: they trust us more. Also different herd members are bold enough to take the lead as they explore the various parts of their domain. The pecking (spitting) order is not as inflexible or inevitable as we had previously thought. Perhaps alpacas are like humans, with a tendency toward authoritarian regimes in times of stress and scarcity, individualism flourishing when times are better! We take this relaxation of the herd hierarchy as another indicator of a low-stress experience and hope the alpacas are indeed happy, not least because happy animals are known to have stronger immune systems, to need less medical intervention, to suffer less from parasites and to give birth more easily – all very desirable. Exercise is also known independently to boost the immune system in mammals, so having to range further to forage, or being drawn to leap up rocks or across streams for fun can only be a good


thing. This all goes for us humans too, of course! As ex-software engineers heading into middle age, we appreciate all the help we can get in that department. The move to 100+ acres has required a different scale of thinking. Being far from anywhere, we invested in our own stud soon after the move and have been learning the practical side of stud management. An opportunity arose to expand the herd with a few more good-quality females and their cria. Suddenly, the herd is no longer tiny, it’s 44! Half of these are females of breeding age, which means up to 22 cria next year - the numbers really start to explode at this point. With the herd growth, we have had to become much more systematic about herd management. The days of wandering among a handful of animals in the catchpen to check body scores and give the odd injection are well behind us. Now we need to process individually through a system of pens and gates, laptop on hand, to make sure no one is missed. The herd management database is ever more vital.

PAVLOV'S ALPACA? The physical scale change has also had an effect. Where we used to stroll towards the field gate and the alpacas would see us coming and all run to meet us at the catch pen, making daily checks and routine tasks easy, the first task now is often to climb towards a vantage point in a field and locate the herd. If they’re not within hailing distance, we have to make our way closer. Then we’ll lead them back to a pen or the barn, often a walk of a quarter mile or so. Fortunately they clearly understand the voice command, “Come, girls” and its strong association with food. Stopping only for dung piles, they will usually fall into line behind whichever of us has gone to fetch them, and will follow in an orderly fashion, not overtaking until we get back to the farmyard. If they didn’t do this, herding with tape in the usual manner would take at least two people and would be tricky in the wide open spaces. We are grateful every day for the

intelligence of alpacas. Some of our boys are in a more distant field and haven’t learned any of this yet. They get breakfast brought to them for now, while we work on improving access with gates and runs. One day, the vision is that it will be possible to move a group of animals from any field to any other without passing through any occupied spaces, and there will be a handling pen in every enclosure, and we will have time for more hands-on work with everybody, but for this year improvisation is the order of the day. We no longer pick up poo, except in the barn and near the house, nor do we top, or harrow, or roll, because the terrain is too steep and rocky. It has led us to explore the larger picture, the value and culture of permanent ley, with its variety of plants, and the effect the alpacas have as part of the upland ecosystem. So far, they would seem to be kinder to the land than sheep: their feet do less damage and they don’t graze so closely. We have noticed that in a larger space the communal dung pile is not a fixed thing, where the concentration of nutrients over time would be a concern. Alpacas graze unevenly, but after a while the most grazed area suddenly becomes the new dunging area. It seems likely that over time, the fertiliser effect will even out. Having to trim toenails only rarely is a wonderful bonus! Given rocks to climb, even the white nails are wearing naturally and evenly.

LAMB OF MY FATHERS The Welsh uplands are historically sheep country. Wales still has about 11 million sheep, and only 3 million people. (Any New Zealanders reading this unimpressed by that many sheep, remember that Wales has less than a tenth of the area of New Zealand.) Most of the people live in the cities and towns, but most of the sheep live near us. More particularly, many of the sheep would like to live with us, as our relatively few alpacas are not yet having much impact on the grazing and our stocking rates are much lower than our

So far, alpacas would seem to be kinder to the land than sheep; their feet do less damage and they don’t graze so closely

ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE | Autumn 2012 | 21


neighbours’. We have had to learn a great deal very quickly about the ways of sheep, drystone walling and fences, because while we don’t have to worry about keeping out any large predators like wolves or cougars here, the biosecurity impact of a livestock incursion is potentially just as serious. Our work on renovating internal fencing is paying off so that at least we can keep the sheep from actually mingling with the alpacas on current grazing needs. The main outer boundary, which is a high drystone wall topped by posts and wire, is proving less tractable, expensive and slow to fix. A skilled drystone waller can only repair so many square meters of wall in a week (reckoned as height x length), and this boundary, being irregular, runs to about two miles. When one point of incursion is fixed, the sheep will find another one elsewhere, pushing rocks aside if need be. The Welsh Mountain Sheep are extremely agile climbers (especially over stone walls) with long memories for the location of good grazing. They possess a deep cunning and persistence, so they’re likely to be challenging our boundaries for some time to come. On the plus side, they tend to be very healthy animals, with reportedly much lower worm egg counts up here than in the lowlands. When they do need to be rounded up and evicted, we have found it best to do so in the same way as the modern sheep farmer here – by quad bike! By coincidence the bike we picked is the exact same model as the one these sheep are used to obeying,

22 | Autumn 2012 | ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE

so they generally gather and move off together on sight, apparently not yet figuring out that we have no dog with us. Our neighbours are as curious about the alpacas as people are everywhere. We have had a lot of comparative alpaca/sheep conversations, but the real marvel is the alpaca business model, which is so different from sheep in modern times. 200 years ago, the British wool industry was huge. Whole towns were built on it, yet today one farmer will typically run some hundreds of sheep and still need a day-job. Sheep wool is worth so little that our neighbour tells me his sheep would not get sheared if he were not able to do it himself. Even with meat as the product, profit margins are so slim that many hill farms could not survive without EU subsidies under farming and environment schemes. Yet here we are with a vision of a luxury-fibre based business.

INDUSTRIAL RE-EVOLUTION Wandering the hills with our alpacas around us, it’s easy to imagine large herds of alpacas thriving here. It begs the many questions of what it would take for fibre to become once again a significant source of income for ordinary people. We envision it not as a cottage industry, or a tourist attraction –albeit these are successful strategies at this stage for us and many others - nor as a support-your-localfarmer (as if he were a charity) campaign, but as a genuinely worthwhile commercial-scale product, standing on its own merits. While in the UK alpaca-breeding is still primarily a blood-stock industry and we all focus on improving quality with each generation, there must come a time when fibre production can take over as prime reason for keeping alpacas on a commercial scale. How gradual will this process be, and what are the tipping points? Does it depend on absolute numbers of alpacas with a certain quality of fleece, or is marketing the more urgent issue? Is it naïve to imagine such an alpaca industry without prices falling to the point where economic pressures turn it into a meat industry? These are the questions we ponder, the challenge after the current ones, as we watch our herd and walk the hills.

It’s easy to imagine large herds of alpacas thriving here. It begs the many questions of what it would take for fibre to become once again a significant source of income for ordinary people.

Great genetics, great nutrition, great offspring We have for sale this season a number of reasonably priced females, some with crias at foot, pregnant to our elite herd sires including EPC Top Account and Fowberry Nobility. Iquita’s 2nd fleece, 20 months: 17.0µ, 3.2SD, 18.8CV, 0.6>30, 6.6kg


Crambe Grange, Barton le Willows, York, YO60 7PQ.

Fowberry Iquita Tel: 01653 619520 & 01653 618100

Fowberry Alpacas, putting pedigree into practice

ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE | Autumn 2012 | 23




What you looking at!

W orking dogs with annual

hay cut

Mother and daughter taking a bath

r 20 12 800 Bales from oud from the top fiel

hay crop Just woken up

Steve and Debbie Clayton have been breeding alpacas since 2006. This is their story.


Off to the show

e had bought a converted barn which Steve had always wanted and it just so happened to have 1.25 acres of land with it. For a few years it was a pain keeping the grass down and as with many alpaca breeders we started with these enchanting animals as we needed a glorified grass cutter for our paddock in Lichfield. There was no particular breeding or commercial plan in place and so we bought a pregnant female and two males in 2006. The two boys had already been entered into a show and so we werecommitted to the white coats from day one, walking into the show ring within a few weeks of buying them. The female produced a lovely brown male that year who went on to win a place in a show the following year. That was it, the bug had taken hold and so in 2007 we bought a handful of good quality full Peruvian white females some purportedly from Rural Allianza understanding

that the quality fibre was inherently better on white animals. We were rapidly running out of grazing land and so rented four acres from the adjacent farm. This kept the rapidly growing herd accommodated and in late 2007 with the trend moving towards coloured animals we bought some brown and fawn female stock. Our early births were dominated by male cria so we had to redress the balance. Black females were purchased to complete the solid colour range of huacaya only alpacas and at this stage we were using the best available stud services. Our success in the show ring was steadily improving with places being earned for own bred stock. With the number of alpacas forecast for future years, we were again running out of space and so in 2008 we sought new premises. Our main wholesale business was also expanding and needed larger warehouse and office space ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE | Autumn 2012 | 25


Rio looking after the coloured girls!

Final push...

...Cria's 1 st ste p

Feed time

Social gathering

Black genetics m

Mating White on Black!

ixing it up

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so the search was on for a barn suitable for conversion within a farm with grazing paddocks and a farmhouse not too far from Lichfield, not an easy task. However we found Trent Bridge Farm with 15 acres and we just had to receive planning permission to convert the American style agricultural barn to offices and warehouse use which we were successful with and so Trent Bridge Alpacas name was born. There were also modern outbuildings we could use for shearing, skirting and sorting of the fleece and a lean to for storage of the hay bales. This move was a perfect fit for all of our needs and we could harvest the hay each year from the eight acre paddock fronting the River Trent, saving the cost of buying in hay which has seen extortionate rises in price of late. We have become educated in most things alpaca attending the fabulous Cameron Holt Fleece course which was invaluable in the appreciation of everything fibre, halter and

handling course, birthing and neonatal courses, husbandry days and in particular those conducted by Toft Alpacas, via whom we entered the ownership of these wonderful animals. By 2009 we were seeing the benefits of our breeding programme in creating males worthy of 1st places in classes at shows and the foundation of Trent Bridge Alpacas' own studs was taking place. The stud sire influence within our herd (though not forgetting how important the females are in this process) includes South American, US and Australian bloodlines, here are some of the names; Tijero Primero, Ruffo, Commisario, Neptune, Skywalker, Inti, Ledger’s Dream, The Golden Gun, Quetchuan Frottle, Centurion, Stresleckie, Canchones Witness etc. It became more efficient as our numbers grew for us to buy in pallet loads of feed and so we use Camelid Complete Feeds hard feed supplement and are stockists for the Staffordshire area. A few alpaca farms locally buy their feed from us.


This move was a perfect fit for all of our needs

New junior farm hand recruit – Coby our 18 month old getting to know the pacas

ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE | Autumn 2012 | 27


Shearing time Brown Female Champion British Futurity at the NEC 2012

Ear tagging pen for cria

Reserve Champion British Alpaca Futurity 2012

We now have the fleece skirted and sorted into colour and baby adult categories and processed into yarn. 2012 Clip being skirted & sorted

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In forming a reputable herd we have focused on the show circuit attending three or four shows per year and it became clear that something needed to be done with the fleece which we had stock piled. We now have the fleece skirted and sorted into colour and baby adult categories and processed into yarn. Local knitters have started creating products for us and we are in negotiations with a manufacturer of woollen clothing to supply yarn to them. 2011 saw us win two championships one at

Kenilworth and the other at the Three Counties Show, one white and one brown both home grown stock which we were very proud of. In 2012 we entered the British Alpaca Futurity at the NEC for the first time and won a Champion and Reserve Champion rosette. We now run a herd of 70 animals and are working our stud males on outside stud services, so it is onwards and hopefully upwards with the theme of improving fineness in the fleece yield, and continuing to show these wonderful animals.

ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE | Autumn 2012 | 29

UsE oUr gENETics To aDD ValUE To yoUr hErD Joint owners of Dovecote Jaquinto of TAS 2011 Futurity Champion Huacaya HerdSire CaToN CaLIPh Standing at Stud

CMe ProMeTheuS Standing at Stud

LMFI & TNT PeruvIaN NTherough Sire MFI Peruvian Jeremiah Standing at Stud

CMe XerXeS Standing at Stud

CMe SoCraTeS Standing at Stud

MFI PoINT BLaNk oF CMe Sire MFI Peruvian Jericho Standing at Stud

CCNF TaLoN oF CMe Sire Supernova Standing at Stud

LMFI PeruvIaN DyNaMICS Sire MFI Peruvian Jeremiah Standing at Stud

Come and visit us. We know it is a long way to Devon but it will be worth it! Our biosecurity is professionally managed and the farm perimeter is securely badger fenced. Our herd of 200 produces a show team every year that punches above its weight with a string of broad ribbons. The alpacas that are for sale are excellent value in a range of prices to suit every pocket. Our stud males for sale have real depth in their pedigrees and we have the colours - brown, fawn, black and white.

Join us on this journey by using our genetics in your herd development Whether you are new to alpacas or an existing breeder, we have a depth of choice, service and sixteen years experience to help you. With world class bloodlines in our herd always available at affordable prices, we can offer a package of quality alpacas, stud services and outstanding after sales

Vulscombe Farm, Pennymoor, Tiverton, Devon, EX16 8NB Telephone: 01884 243579 1 Email: Alpaca Magazine Winter 2009 30 | Autumn 2012 |World ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE

support.More information can be found on our website or please get in touch if you would like to arrange to visit our stud farm. Based in Mid Devon, we’re just twenty minutes from the M5 junction 27.

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32 | Autumn 2012 | ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE


We return once more to the joys of the histogram with Bob Kingwell (BSc) of Monga Alpacas whose farm is south of Sydney in Australia. Bob and his wife Helen run a herd of 150 white huacaya with 55 cria expected this coming season. In a previous life Bob was an hydrologist, a geohydrologist, a fruit and vegetable farmer in North Queensland and is currently a partner with Helen in a retail aquarium shop in Canberra.


here is more to the fleece histogram than meets the eye. Within the histogram are hidden secrets that will help you assess the effectiveness of your breeding program and enable you to class your fleece to a high micron uniformity. This article, which is the first of three, reveals these secrets. The second article will explain how these secrets can be used to evaluate your breeding program and the third will enable you to class your valuable fleece to a much higher micron uniformity than is currently being practiced.

INTRODUCTION The histogram that accompanies your test results is a visual representation of all the fibres in the tested sample. Figures 1 and 2 show histograms for one of my alpacas second and fourth fleece. The horizontal axis represents the range of fibre diameters and the vertical axis the percentage of fibres of each diameter. The average fibre diameter (FD) determines the position of the histogram along the horizontal axis and the standard deviation of fibre diameters (SD) the shape of the histogram. As the FD increases the histogram moves along the horizontal axis, away from the vertical axis and as the SD increases the shape changes. When the SD is small, the histogram is tall and narrow with only a small coarse fibre tail and as the SD increases the shape flattens and broadens and the tail becomes longer.

The FD and SD are therefore the fundamental parameters that determine the other features of the histogram such as the coarse edge micron and the comfort factor. When a histogram is symmetrical about the mean, or in this case the FD, then 2SD each side of the mean together includes 95% of the fibres and only half of the remaining 5% or 2½% of these fibres will lie within the coarse fibre tail. But fleece histograms are not symmetrical. They are skewed towards the coarse fibre tail and, as an alpaca ages, the skewness increases. This means that more than 2½% of the fibres end up lying within this tail.

Within the histogram are hidden secrets that will help you assess the effectiveness of your breeding program and enable you to class your fleece to a high micron uniformity. ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE | Autumn 2012 | 33


THE COARSE EDGE MICRON The coarse edge micron (CEM) appears to be rarely used by breeders. It is however extremely useful in estimating the extent of medullation in a sample. This is because it is a measure of the extent to which the fleece histogram skews towards the coarse fibre tail. It is the number of microns separating the FD from the coarsest 5% of fibres where most of the medullation occurs. A very strong and statistically significant positive correlation (r(65)=0.96,p<0.01) has been found between the CEM and the SD where the CEM approximately equals twice the SD (Kingwell, 2010). This means that the coarsest 5% of fibres will not only be above FD+CEM microns but also FD+SD+SD microns. This indicates that, unlike a symmetrical histogram, a fleece histogram contains about 5% of the coarsest fibres within the tail beyond FD+2SD microns. The SD therefore determines the extent of

34 | Autumn 2012 | ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE

skewness in the fleece histogram and is also a measure of the degree of medulation.

THE COMFORT FACTOR The CF is measured as a percentage and represents the number of fibres in your sample that are less than 30 microns and therefore indirectly measures the percentage of fibres over 30μ. If the CF is 95% then 5% of fibres will be over 30μ. In this case the CEM will be the number of microns between the FD and 30μ. Fibres start to become medullated or hollow as their diameter approaches 20μ and has been found in fibres as low as 17μ (Watts, 2010). The fibres start to lose their crimp and become straighter and stiffer as their diameter increases. Above about 35μ, fibres increasingly become fully medullated with large hollow centres. They become straight and rigid and include the guard hairs of a fleece (Watts, 2010). If enough fibres in

The fibres start to lose their crimp and become straighter and stiffer as their diameter increases a garment are greater than 30μ, then the extent of medullation is considered sufficient for the garment to start feeling prickly or uncomfortable on soft skin. It is generally recognised that this occurs when the number exceeds 5% and the CF is therefore below 95%. The histograms at Figures 1 and 2 show that as the FD and SD increase, the number of fibres over 30μ also increase. This suggests that the CF is determined by the sum of FD and SD.

founded on experience

ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE | Autumn 2012 | 35


You can test this out yourself by using the results from some of your better alpacas in these formulas. You should get a similar value from each formula. THE SCORE OF UNIFORM MICRON The graph at Figure 3 is a plot of FD+SD against CF for my herd of 122 alpacas and shows that there is indeed a very strong negative correlation between the two. I have called the FD+SD the Score of Uniform Micron or SUM where SUM=FD+SD. It is evident from the graph that when the SUM is less than or equal to 21 then the CF will usually be 100% and fibres are unlikely to be over 30Îź. It is also evident that when the SUM is less than or equal to 26 the CF will usually be at least 95% and no more than 5% of the fibres are likely to be over 30Îź. The line of best fit on the graph indicates that the strength of the correlation between SUM and CF starts to decrease as the SUM exceeds about 26 and the CF falls below 95%. It is therefore not uncommon to find fleece results in which the 36 | Autumn 2012 | ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE

SUM is more than 26 when the CF is still at or above 95%. This strong correlation between SUM and CF indicates that the SUM can reliably be used to compare fleeces from alpacas of similar age that have a CF greater than 95% and is particularly relevant when the fleeces being compared all have the same CF of 100%. The SUM takes over when the CF reaches 100%. An advantage of using the SUM rather than the CF is that, although it is referred to as a score, its unit is microns. This gives it mathematical advantages when estimating the extent of medullation in a sample since the coarsest 5% of fibres will generally be above the micron obtained from the formula SUM+SD. This micron could also be obtained from the formula FD+CEM or FD+SD+SD.

CONCLUSIONS So what are the hidden secrets within the fleece histogram? I have shown that the SD determines the extent to which the histogram skews towards the coarse micron tail and that 2SD approximately equals the CEM. This means that the coarsest 5% of fibres will not only be above FD+CEM microns but also generally above SUM+SD microns. You can test this out yourself by using the results from some of your better alpacas in these formulas. You should get a similar value from each formula. I have also shown that the FD and SD together determine the CF and indicates that the CF is much more than a comfort measurement. It is also an indication of both the fineness and uniformity of a sample. The strong correlation between FD+SD and CF also indicates that the CF can be expressed in terms of microns as well as a percentage. This means that the SUM can be used to compare fleeces that all have the same CF of 100%. It also means that it can be used to estimate the extent of medullation in a sample. Most importantly however I have shown you that the FD, SD, CEM and CF are all intimately related and that the CEM and CF are determined by the FD and SD. In the next two articles I will show you how you can use the sum of these two values, or the SUM as I have called it, to help you assess the performance of your breeding program and to class your fleece to a high micron uniformity.

REFERENCES Watts, J., 2010. SRS Alpaca Newsletter: June 2010. Kingwell, R., 2010. Can Guard Hair Be Bred Out Of Alpaca Fleece? Alpacas Australia Issue 60: Winter 2010.

ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE | Autumn 2012 | 37



Jenny Ford, Vista del Sud Alpacas, Victoria, Australia, on behalf of Team Colourbration


reaking all records Colourbration 2012 received 579 animal entries and 207 fleece entries, rivalling the size and quality of any National Show. Colourbration was the first colour show in Australia starting in 2004 and is now held annually by the Victorian Central Region of the Australian Alpaca Association at the Bendigo Exhibition Centre at the Prince of Wales Showgrounds. Each colour huacaya and suri has its own show, where males and females are each judged in their age classes . Both male and female champions are awarded broad ribbons and they then compete for the title of Supreme of their colour. Check in was on Friday afternoon and evening, with only Saturday and Sunday available for judging. The installation of a high tech admin desk, (aka ‘the war room’), and plasma TV screens were essential in providing timely and correct information to the exhibitors, chief steward, marshalls and a bevy of volunteers . Our crack team ensured the show ran to schedule. The halter judges, Lyn Dickson and Angela Preuss, worked 12 hour plus days (starting at 7am) to judge the huge number of huacaya and suri in alternating shows, (another innovation which worked really well and ensured good crowds at all shows). As volunteers Lyn and Angela well and truly earned their lunch money!!! Here are a couple of comments from Lyn: ‘It was a wonderful show and the quality was right up there with National quality.’ ‘As judges it was great to see all the champions parade again for Best in Show and as Angela mentioned on the PA system at the time – it enabled us to see that it had all come together beautifully.’ On that note it was great to see so many breeders and visitors in the stands to witness the awesome spectacle that the parade of champions provided on Sunday evening. The parallel lines of the supreme colour suris and huacayas brought a tear to a few eyes....well it was pretty late! The trial

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‘best in show’ awards were well deserved but may not be repeated depending on feedback to the Showing and Judging panel. The introduction of mature classes and supreme fancy awards was well received. The parade of champions and commentary will ideally be expanded with an earlier finish time allowing exhibitors and members of the public to truly ‘celebrate colour’ and the high quality achieved across the wonderful range of natural colours that are uniquely alpaca. For the first time the fleeces were judged off

site at the Catholic College Bendigo, and then transported to be displayed in prime position on the show floor. The supreme ribbons were presented to the proud winners in the show ring directly after the corresponding animal show. Fleece judge Karen Caldwell commended the

venue and the team of stewards, assistants and students which allowed her to judge the huge number of fleeces in a calm, well lit and airconditioned environment over two and a half days prior to the weekend halter shows. Agricultural studies students and teachers from the College were also a tremendous help in setting up the pens and show ring, preparing exhibitor show bags and assisting exhibitors pen their alpacas. A large number of international visitors, predominately from New Zealand and Europe, were extremely positive about the show and the quality of alpacas entered. Alpaca sales totalling close to half a million dollars were concluded during or immediately following the show which reflects the healthy market for elite quality Australian huacaya and suri. Team Colourbration has collated the exhibitor & visitor feedback and, with assistance from the AAA ‘Showing & Judging’ committee and valued suggestions from our judges, (Karen, Lyn and Angela), we are already working on implementing some ground breaking innovations to ensure an even bigger and better Colourbration in 2013. Why not join us in Bendigo next year?

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ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE | Autumn 2012 | 39



40 | Autumn 2012 | ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE

Haemonchus Contortus worm image: AJ Cann, Science of the Invisible

More alpacas die through parasitic infestation than virtually any other single cause, yet owners often find it difficult to spot the signs of infestation.


PARADISE Recent weather conditions have created a 'party central' for parasites amongst alpaca herds, writes parasitology expert Sue Thomas. So what should alpaca owners look out for, and what meaures can be taken?


o-one in the UK needs reminding of the dreadful weather we’ve experienced in 2012. Any thoughts of basking in the sun for much of the summer were seriously misplaced. Alpacas have been exposed to unsettled summer conditions with wet ground, a seemingly constant battering of torrential rain, and mild temperatures which have been slightly lower than the annual Met Office averages. Here on the farm we have witnessed many cria births in heavy rain, at least those we could see through the mist and swirling fog! Whilst we faced a miserable holiday season, humid air, moist grass and mild temperatures became ‘party central’ for the enemies of alpacas

Cria born in July 2012 in fog and rain – an unprecedented year for wet births!

– gastrointestinal worms! More alpacas die through parasitic infestation than virtually any other single cause, yet owners often find it difficult to spot the signs of infestation, and improve husbandry to reduce the effects. Many nematode worm species occupy sections in the gastrointestinal tract of your alpacas. From mouth to rectum is a warm, moist, dark space, perfect for feeding, growing and reproducing. Consider it from the worms’ perspective, life could not be better, tucked away with constant warm temperature, food and protection at no cost to them. Of course, as in all ecosystems, and the digestive tract of your alpacas is an ecosystem,

there will be competition between worms for the best ‘pitch’. Different species of worm favour different spaces within the tract. The worm must avoid immune responses of the host but in the main the gut is a very hospitable place for worms to survive, hence their success. These insidious parasites share a common objective; to shelter, grow and reproduce within their host, bringing nothing to the party whilst taking all they can.

WHICH ALPACAS ARE AT RISK? Before starting to tackle any gastrointestinal parasite problem on your farm there are few helpful basic. Parasitic worms are not spread evenly in your herd rather populations aggregate or clump together with the majority of the parasite burden carried by only 10% of your herd. Young stock, the nutritionally challenged and animals under stress are particularly vulnerable. A history of good nutrition and health puts alpacas in the best position to defend against invading worm larvae. When exposed to infective parasites, some alpacas simply don’t get sick. They may have built a strong immunity, so can keep the parasites at bay. ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE | Autumn 2012 | 41


The majority of worm parasites develop on pasture, waiting to be ingested by animals to complete their life cycle. If you treat your alpacas with ‘dewormers’ or anthelmintics on a regular basis, it is likely that you are unnecessarily treating the majority of your herd, wasting time and money, but worse, building the likelihood of anthelmintic resistance, now common in sheep flocks around the world.

PARASITE CHALLENGE So here is the parasite challenge…to identify the alpacas carrying high parasite burdens and treat effectively to minimise contamination to others, without compromising future herd health by encouraging anthelmintic resistance.

BARBER’S POLE WORM A key player in the gastrointestinal parasite team is the Barber’s Pole worm (Haemonchus contortus). The worm is so named as the adult females display white ovaries which spiral around a red, blood filled intestine, giving the appearance of a traditional Barber’s Pole. Performing faecal diagnostic services for alpaca keepers, and in my research on internal parasites of alpacas, I have seen a huge rise in both owner concern and the presence of H. contortus during 2012 compared with other years. As there are few obvious clinical signs (particularly the absence of diarrhoea) alpaca death may appear sudden, although infection of your alpaca may have been prolonged. The mild, wet weather has played a key role in the worms’ success this year. It is helpful to understand how.

LIFE CYCLE The life cycle of Barber’s Pole worm is direct (requires only one living host) and has an ‘in-host’ and environmental phase. The environmental phase of the life cycle presents the most danger and loss of resource to the worm population, a problem this species overcomes with a huge egg producing capability. An adult female Barber’s Pole worm, residing in the third compartment of the alpaca stomach, can produce up to 10,000 eggs per day in contrast to other worms of the digestive tract which typically produce only 100. Eggs are shed on to pasture in faeces where heavy contamination can soon build up. The faecal pad plays an important role as the incubator for eggs and food source for hatched larvae. The egg has a hard shell with the moist sanctuary of the faecal pad (alpaca faeces comprise 87-90% water at voiding) providing a perfect environment for egg development. Prolonged summer sunshine can dry the faeces and desiccate the eggs, reducing viability. 2012 provided the Barber’s Pole worm eggs perfect conditions for viability with moisture and warmth with few prolonged periods of direct sunshine, but what happens next?


Eggs hatch releasing worm larvae known as the first larval stage or L1. Larvae then begin to move from faeces to pasture. Larvae can move up to 5-10cm horizontally from the faecal pad where 42 | Autumn 2012 | ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE

moisture is available. They shed their outer cuticle to reveal second stage larvae which continue to move from the faecal pad, feeding on bacteria whilst growing. Research as long ago as the 1950’s demonstrated that Haemonchus contortus larval migration from a batch of sheep pellets kept at 14.5OC continued for over 50 days, in optimum conditions. Much of the data on Barber’s Pole comes from the sheep industry, where this worm is responsible for huge economic losses worldwide. A great deal of research information has been assembled from sheep and lambs in South Africa and Australia, but this should be interpreted with care when considering alpacas in the UK. Sheep faecal pellets are typically smaller and individually discrete when compared with alpaca faeces, which are generally larger, formed from hundreds of pellets as a mass. This will have an effect on the speed of egg desiccation in sunlight and the degree of humidity available for egg development and larval migration.

Identification of Eggs

It is worth noting that the presence of eggs in a faecal sample is not enough to identify Barber’s Pole worm. I have had many conversations with alpaca owners, frustrated that their vet or

PHOTO 2 A selection of parasitic worm eggs from an alpaca – some are readily identifiable from shape, form and measurements but others must be incubated, hatched and the larvae grown on for positive identification. This can take 7-10 days.

PHOTO 3 Worms are cultured and then identified by shape, measurements, tail sheath and number of gut cells.

lab can’t give an immediate positive diagnosis from a faecal sample even when worm eggs have been found. The Barber’s Pole worm egg looks very similar to many other worm eggs in the Trichostrongyle group of nametodes. Detailed measurement of dimension and structure may be made (morphometrics) but the only method of achieving positive identification is to incubate and hatch the eggs, then grow on to the infective larval stage (see below).

Infective Larvae

A second moult to L3 follows and the resultant third stage larvae or L3 are now on the pasture, moving across the ground and up blades of grass. A significant difference between the infective L3 stage and earlier stages is that the L3 is nonfeeding, the mouth cavity being covered by a skin or sheath. These larvae are now on borrowed time. They must survive on accumulated food reserves. Larvae move from ground level up on to grass in moist conditions and are attracted to mild sunlight. Strong sunlight repels the larvae back towards the ground. Heavy rain can wash larvae down to the soil but they can be ingested with drinking water taken by alpacas from puddles on the ground. Moisture is required for upward movement on


grass. Even in a very dry spell of weather; early morning dew will contribute to the cooler, wetter micro-climate at the base of the sward. Rapid larval development in warm, humid conditions can lead to a dramatic onset of disease as the infective larvae are eaten by grazing animals.

PHOTO 4 An alpaca 1 day before death which was confirmed at post mortem as H. contortus infestation.

Juvenile Worms

Once ingested, the worm sheds the mouth covering sheath becoming a juvenile or L4 stage larva. In as little as six hours, the juvenile worm migrates to C3 (third stomach compartment) where it begins to feed. It penetrates the gut lining with a sharp lancet in its mouth cavity and draws blood from the unsuspecting host. A faecal sample taken for analysis at this stage will fail to reveal Barber’s Pole worm as the juvenile stage is not capable of reproducing and shedding the vast number of eggs of the adult worm. It does however feed on blood and can begin the debilitating ill-thrift and anaemia that characterises haemonchosis. This means that a negative faecal egg count shouldn’t rule out the presence of Barber’s Pole worm, be vigilant and if in doubt repeat the egg count in a few days.

Blood Sucking Adult

The fourth stage juvenile moults for a final time to become a mature Barber’s Pole worm moving across the lining of C3, latching on with its mouth, lacerating the mucosa with a lancet and sucking blood from capillaries. The worm changes feeding station, releasing its hold to find a new position in C3, leaving a damaged mucosa which continues to seep and bleed. Observations on bleeding caused by Barber’s Pole worm in sheep recorded that bleeding often continued for more than 7 minutes following the worm’s move to a new site. Each worm will remove around 0.05ml of blood per day, either by direct ingestion or loss to the gut as the worm moves around and re-penetrates the gut wall. An alpaca infected with 10,000 Barber’s Pole worms may lose up to 500ml of blood per day. Blood can be replaced by manufacture of new cells but bone marrow soon becomes exhausted.

Protein Loss

Protein loss into C3 from parasitic damage can lead to oedema as water is drawn down into cellular spaces. This is often noticeable by swelling in the lower jaw area, a sign known as ‘bottle jaw’. Feeding female worms now reproduce shedding thousands of eggs each day, perpetuating the cycle of parasitic infection and pasture contamination. This is of particular concern when cria, with immature immune systems, are beginning to graze. Pasture management is important to parasite control systems. Remove faeces where possible or move alpacas onto fresh or ‘safe’ ground as often as possible, particularly if stocking density is high. Treating an entire herd with anthelmintics, whether or not they require treatment, may build resistance to drugs over time. This could mean that when you really need to medicate, drugs may not be effective. A targeted approach to treatment is preferable. That is why identification of any ‘wormy’ alpacas is so important.


The farmer’s eye is the best guide to a change in alpaca behaviour. A depressed attitude, lack of appetite, slow to the trough and lagging behind the herd should be investigated. There could be many causes and parasitism should be ruled out.


An alpaca with a heavy burden of Barber’s Pole worms loses weight and condition quickly. Regular weighing or as minimum, body condition scoring is important. Photos 5 and 6 (overleaf) clearly demonstrate the effects of parasitic disease. These female alpacas are the same age and had similar weight profiles. Although on the same pasture one alpaca lost weight (14kg), had a high worm egg count (>1200epg mixed burden including H.contortus) and became anaemic. Treatment with anthelmintic, daily dosing with supplementary feed containing vitamins and minerals slowly led to recovery. Regular body condition scoring was a useful indicator of her progress.


Membranes of the eyes become very pale as anaemia increases. A scoring system based on the degree of red colouration of the membranes of the eyes has been developed as an on-farm test suggesting the presence of Barber’s Pole worm through associated anaemia in sheep. This test, known as FAMACHA©, developed originally for control of H. contortus in sheep and goats indicates (on a 1-5 colour scale) the level of anaemia resulting from blood loss. The 1-5 colour scale has been correlated in sheep with packed cell volume; an indication of anaemia, and forms a basis for treatment strategies. I have trialled

Much of the data on Barber’s Pole comes from the sheep industry, where this worm is responsible for huge economic losses worldwide. ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE | Autumn 2012 | 43


FAMACHA© in research with alpacas and found it a useful tool but not in isolation as the calibration of membrane colour to packed cell volume in alpacas has not been validated. FAMACHA© is not a stand-alone system but should be used as part of a strategic worm control programme. As with most on-farm control systems, successful use of the FAMACHA© scale increases with experience as the farmer develops expertise each time the herd or flock is benchmarked. Caution must be exercised, as anaemia can result from many conditions, other than infestation with H. contortus. But it is worth getting to know the look and colouration of your alpacas eye membranes (usually a bright pink/salmon red colour) so that you can spot anaemia in its early stages.

Faecal Eggs Counts

Faecal egg counts (FEC) can increase dramatically when Barber’s Pole is present, although sometimes this is recognised too late to be of use in treatment. However identification of the main worm egg shedders in your herd is useful, both for targeting treatment and decision making for breeding purposes. No-one wants a ‘wormy’ stud that may pass ‘wormy’ genetics across your developing herd! Diagnostic faecals for parasitic identification and count can be performed by your vet, or by labs such as my own. Training to perform FEC’s on your own farm is perfectly achievable with relatively low costs through an on-farm set of simple laboratory equipment. I have trained many alpaca keepers over the last few years who now test their alpacas and get a same day result, allowing confident, faster and effective treatment. Do contact me for more details of training to perform your own ‘on farm’ egg counts.

PHOTOs 5 and 6 Two female alpacas in the same group with the same grazing, one succumbs to parasites whilst the other is not affected. Body condition scoring was crucial in identification of the problem and monitoring recovery.

No Diarrhoea

Unusually with an alpaca stricken with H. contortus, there is NO diarrhoea. This confounds most alpaca owners as gastro-intestinal parasitism is often associated with diarrhoea or ‘scouring’. Barber’s Pole worm infestation is in the stomach rather than the intestine so the alpaca often produces firmer faecal matter with no tell-tale staining or diarrhoea. I have seen alpacas displaying weakness, lagging behind the herd, weight loss, anaemia and constant diarrhoea, which at post mortem were diagnosed with very high levels of H. contortus. Other worms present may have caused scouring. Remember that gastro-intestinal parasitism is rarely a single source of infection. So if in doubt, always check faecals and seek veterinary advice.

A history of good nutrition and health puts alpacas in the best position to defend against invading worm larvae. 44 | Autumn 2012 | ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE

PHOTO 7 Checking membranes for colouration, salmon pink is good on the FAMACHA© scale and requires no treatment.




Behaviour – are there any alpacas lagging behind the rest, slow to feed, always at the back of the group trying to keep up? Are there cria spending too long sitting down, slow to feed and away from their dam? Weight loss – if you don’t routinely weigh your alpacas, get close and handle them and note down the body score. What looks like a healthy alpaca from a distance could be emaciated under the fleece. Anaemia – if in doubt check the membranes or ask your vet to run a blood test. Faecal egg counts – a fast route to a snapshot of the gastro-intestinal scene. Record and repeat faecal egg counts on any alpacas with high eggs per gram (epg). Look for trends which indicate a problem and promote strategic worming. FEC’s also give accurate knowledge of the parasites present allowing you and your veterinarian to select the most appropriate anthelmintic product. Gastrointestinal parasitism is rarely a single species. Physical signs – swelling under the jaw known as ‘bottle jaw’ may be present.

Don’t overgraze an area or keep alpacas at too high a density. It is not just the number of alpacas per acre but your management strategy on that acreage, do you collect faeces from the pasture? Don’t be fooled into thinking a very thin dam is only thin because she is feeding a cria. If she is lactating and is very thin, increase her ration and check faecals for worm eggs. Don’t perform faecal analysis on pooled samples as the majority of worms in your herd are carried by a small percentage of animals. Find out who the shedders are and treat accordingly. This will help to maintain untreated worm parasites in your herd and reduce the possibility of anthelmintic resistance. Don’t bring newly acquired alpacas directly into your herd. Quarantine new alpacas for a minimum of four weeks; taking FEC’s on arrival and prior to release into the herd. This will ensure that any parasites from other farms are not distributed to your herd. If in doubt – call your vet for advice – whilst 2012 weather has been grim for us, the Barber’s Pole worm population is in paradise.

Haemonchus Contortus worm image: AJ Cann, Science of the Invisible

A key player in the gastrointestinal parasite team is the Barber’s Pole Worm (Haemonchus contortus). The worm is so named as the adult females display white ovaries which spiral around a red, blood filled intestine, giving the appearance of a traditional Barber’s pole.

Barber's Pole Worm (Haemonchus Contortus)

Sue Thomas runs the Lyme Alpacas herd of 120 alpacas based in Lyme Regis, Devon. Sue offers parasitology courses for alpaca keepers who want to perform faecal testing on their own alpacas. ( She is currently part of the Infection and Immunity Group at the Royal Veterinary College in Hatfield. Her PhD research is investigating endo-parasitic interactions of South American Camelids. If you are interested in learning more or contributing to this research by periodically providing alpaca faecal samples for analysis, please contact Sue for more details. Email: or mobile 07887 511774

ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE | Autumn 2012 | 45

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ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE | Autumn 2012 | 47


VITAMIN D, PHOSPHATE AND RICKETS Elizabeth Paul from Erewhon Alpacas is well known for her book 'The Alpaca Colour Key'. She has updated this book and written two more, the 'Handbook of Alpaca Health' and 'Rickets: The Silent Killer'. This article is taken from the latter, and will be interesting for British breeders as very few give this amount of Vitamin D to their alpacas. INTRODUCTION

Fig 1: Cria - deviated legs

48 | Autumn 2012 | ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE

Almost the first thing I was told about alpacas, when I entered the industry about 14 years ago, was that they needed vitamin D. At the time, I did not pay a great deal of attention to that statement, as I was a city-bound agistee and had little to do with the daily management of my alpacas. It wasn't until one of my own alpacas became ill with what I, as a biologist, knew to be rickets, and suffered a long and painful death, that my interest in this topic became more sharply focused. However I was more interested in low levels of serum phosphate than in vitamin D, because it seemed to me that if everyone was using adequate vitamin D then low phosphate was the main problem, especially given that Australia had been in the grip of severe drought for years. However, vitamin D was beginning to be touted as having caused illness, lameness and even death due to overdosing/toxicity. I also could not help noticing that apart from a few veterinary references made early within the industry about this problem, there seemed to be little professional information available, and what there was, related

mostly to crooked legs in young crias. Rickets can and does affect animals of all ages, but I have found the most severe effects ie the highest death rates, occur in late pregnant and nursing mothers. This is almost certainly because in this age group, the signs are far more subtle, and may attributed to almost anything but the real problem. By drawing all this information together, a clear picture emerged showing that many, even most, alpaca people knew very little about either vitamin D or rickets.

WHAT IS RICKETS? Rickets is a condition where the bones either do not mineralize properly, or become demineralized over time. This produces the effect of bowing or bending of the long bones, which is most visible in young growing animals. Rickets can lead to stunted growth, without the more typical crooked leg appearance. It also leads to soft skull bones, increased occurrence of fractures, and changes in the blood, leading to severe anaemia, at least in alpacas.


Rickets is a condition where the bones either do not mineralize properly, or become demineralized over time.

Fig 2: Cria - humped back

VITAMIN D Vitamins are compounds which are vital for health, the deficiencies of which cause all sorts of severe conditions. Vitamins have to be ingested as they are not manufactured in our bodies (ruminants of course have their gut flora to manufacture most of their vitamins for them). Vitamin D however is not quite the same as other vitamins, in that it is manufactured in the body, after UV light strikes the skin. Vitamin D is fat soluble, and acts more like a hormone (which are chemical messengers, released in small amounts from certain organs which have major effects on other organs or even the whole body.) It must be noted that vitamin D does not act alone, but forms part of a complex system of absorption and utilization of the major minerals, ie calcium and phosphate, which are required to maintain not only the skeleton but also the blood system.

absorption of calcium from the gut, by up to about 10 times the base level. This event is triggered by the release of parathyroid hormone, or PTH, from the parathyroid gland. PTH production is stimulated by a decrease in circulating or serum calcium levels. As the calcium level is increased, the level of PTH falls, and thus the serum calcium level is maintained within fairly tight limits. This is part of a normal diurnal (day-night) system of the body. The system starts to fail if there is a) a dietary calcium deficiency; b) not enough vitamin D in the body to respond to the PTH message or c) an over production of PTH. These problems mean that the body will start stripping calcium from the major storage organ, the skeleton, in order to maintain its serum calcium levels. The other main function of calcium is to maintain proper muscle contraction, and the most important muscle is of course the heart.

and more easily tested marker for rickets, than more costly vitamin D tests.



The UV component of sunlight striking the bare skin activates the process of vitamin D production within the body, which is completely automatic. The body cannot make an excess of natural vitamin D, but it can fail to make sufficient amounts if exposure to UV light is severely restricted. This restriction could be due to cloudy weather; being kept indoors for prolonged periods; being physically covered up when outside or being dark in skin colour.

Phosphate is the other main component of bone, and about 80 - 85% of the body's phosphate is stored in the bones. Phosphate is also essential for cellular energy systems, in the form of ATP; and phospholipids are the major component of cellular membranes. Phosphate is lost through the various body fluids, such as milk, sweat, urine and feces, but is re-cycled to a certain extent by re-absorption through the kidneys and the saliva. The level of circulating, or serum phosphate is not as tightly controlled as the level of serum calcium, and falling serum phosphate levels do not trigger PTH production. In fact, PTH blocks the kidney re-absorption of phosphate. If the PTH production becomes out of control, phosphate can be rapidly flushed out the body. Low serum phosphate levels form a convenient

In crias, the first signs are either crooked legs, or a humped back. See Figures 1 and 2. Crias can also just stop growing. In adults, often the first signs are loss of condition, lameness, and anaemia. Owners should familiarize themselves with checking the eye membranes for anaemia, as alpacas can go chalk white overnight. There are two main reasons why adult rickets cases are not recognized. The first is the very common misconception that adults do not get rickets, because they do not usually show crooked legs. See Figures 3 and 4. Secondly a rickets animal does not otherwise show the common signs of serious illness, and the low condition or anaemia, are usually attributed to other causes such as worms. Note I am not saying they don't have something else, but I do say that rickets should be looked for as well, and probably first.

ROLE OF VITAMIN D IN CALCIUM UPTAKE The mineral calcium is the major component of bone, and almost all of the calcium found in the mammalian body is stored in the skeleton. Vitamin D is responsible for increasing the

NOTES ON PHOSPHATE SUPPLEMENTS Phosphate as a veterinary medication is readily available as sterile injectable solutions, often together with vitamin B12, making the solution pink. Refined rock or mineral phosphate, also called DCP or di-calcium phosphate is a fluffy white powder, used in human calcium tablets, and is safe to use either as a feed additive or in a drench. I do not recommend using bone meal, even if sterilized, to provide extra phosphate, as there is a risk of transmitting other diseases this way. Phosphate fertilizer also should not be used, as it could poison the alpacas.


ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE | Autumn 2012 | 49


Rickets can and does affect animals of all ages, but I have found the most severe effects, ie. the highest death rates, occur in late pregnant and nursing mothers.

TREATING RICKETS When I began treating my first rickets alpaca, I gave increasing amounts of phosphate because her serum phosphate levels were very low. I was able to raise her serum phosphate levels rapidly, but they were not being maintained. She was being given oral vitamin D, but it was not until after her death that I began to realize that she could not have had enough vitamin D to make a difference. On checking the injectable ADE products, I found that most of them had very high levels of vitamin A, eg 600,000 IU of vitamin A and relatively low levels of vitamin D3, somewhere between 25,000 and 75,000 IU D3. Obviously, to increase the levels of vitamin D3, a very much larger amount of vitamin A also has to be used, which is unnecessary for ruminant type animals. In any case, these products were designed for other animals, before alpacas came on the scene.


Fig 3: Rickets Female - straight legs

After the loss of a young male also to rickets, I and other breeders with similar problems began sourcing higher dose vitamin D products from the cattle industry. Pure vitamin D3 contains 1 million IU of D3 per ml, and comes in a 10 ml vial. The whole vial is given to the pregnant cow just before and just after calving, to prevent hypophosphatemia (ie rickets.) Assuming a large dairy cow to be about 500 kg, 10 ml gives a dose rate of 20,000 IU D3 per kg. If this dose is safe for a pregnant cow, then there seems to be no reason why it would not also be safe for a pregnant female alpaca. Other high dose products, which contain 400,000 or 500,000 IU of D3, together with

relatively smaller amounts of vitamins A and E, can also be used. It is interesting to note that the doses recommended on these products for pregnant sows and ewes, are higher than those I use for alpacas. I use pure vitamin D3 at a maintenance rate of 0.5 ml for an average weight (55-65kg) white or light fawn female, and 1 ml for a black. (Black females figure largely in my death results). This gives a rate of about 7500-9000 IU per kg for a light colour, and 15,000-18,000 IU per kg for a black. I scale it down for crias and scale up a bit for larger males. For emergency cases I may use more, or I may use a maintenance dose more often, but I will always use phosphate as well.

SUMMARY I understand the concern about overdosing or toxic levels of vitamin D or indeed any other substance. I am not saying that there is no toxic upper limit of vitamin D3 for alpacas. There may be, but at the levels that I am using, and for the years that I have been recommending these levels to other breeders, so far I have not heard of, or seen any ill effects. It must also be remembered that vitamin D is only half the story. Giving vitamin D alone may fix a young animal, if the rickets problem is not too far advanced. Oral vitamin D works faster but must be given daily. Injectable vitamin D can take a little while to be effective, but lasts longer. Vitamin D alone will have much less effect on a pregnant/nursing female far gone in rickets. Alpaca owners should have both vitamin D3 and phosphate sources available at all times, and have at least a maintenance program in place.

Elizabeth Paul's books are available from Chas Brooke at Classical MileEnd Alpacas See the Classical MileEnd Alpacas book advert on p62.

Fig 4: Rickets female – slight hump, dropped neck.

50 | Autumn 2012 | ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE


Contact Roger Mount

on 01386 853 841 or 07711044106 Email: Web:

Snowshill Alpacas,

Snowshill Hill Barn, Temple Guiting, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL54 5XX

Introducing Snowshill Ramises solid beige Stud Male. Sire: EP Cambridge Navigator of Accoyo Dam: Snowshill Alexandra Fleece stats @ 10 months: Mfd 20.8 Cv 16.6 SD 3.5 Cf 98.5 Weight of fleece 5.0kgs !!!

Introducing Snowshill Ciscero solid mid fawn Stud Male. Sire: Eringa Park Lionheart ET of Cambridge Dam: Silverstream Escudo of Anzac Fleece stats @10 months: Mfd 19.4 Cv 18.4 SD 3.6 Cf 99.3 Weight of fleece 2.7kgs

We have several other new stud boys in addition to the above (some of whom are available to be purchased), as well as our large selection of proven studs. Introductory stud fees (lower!) will apply to new stud males for bookings made prior to 1st April 2013. We, also, have pet boys and breeding females for sale in various colours. Below are a few of our established stud boys. Please visit our website for further information or, phone us. We adhere to good biosecurity practices and had badger deterrent fencing installed in 2009.

Snowshill Shadow Dancer

Stats @ 46 months Mfd 22.1 Cv 22.1 SD 4.9 Cf 94.7

Snowshill Peregrin

Stats @ 72 months Mfd 21.7 Cv 17.6 SD 3.8 Cf 97.4

Snowshill Orlando

Stats @ 21 months Mfd 23.5 Cv 21.7 SD 5.1 Cf 90.4 ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE | Autumn 2012 | 51



BVM&S MS MRCVS Diplomate ACVIM (Large Animal) Camelid Veterinary Services

BOYS KEEP S Males: Breeding, Buying, Selling, Testing

52 | Autumn 2012 | ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE



ne of the most remarkable things to me as a veterinarian is seeing the amount of money with which breeders will part in order to buy a breeding male – without having any knowledge of his current fertility! It’s a little bit like buying a sports car without bothering to take it for a test drive first… You might have many years of successful driving with it, but on the other hand, it may get around the corner from the dealership and stutter to a halt. In the equine world, prospective buyers rarely buy a horse without having it vetted for its intended use and that is for animals that may be worth of fraction of the cost (and potential breeding value) of a stud male alpaca. Clearly, a stud male is bought for breeding but if he can’t perform that function, regardless of how wonderful he looks in the show ring, he is not worth spending money on.

Fig 1: Male alpaca with two normal testicles!


Whether you are intending to select a male for breeding from among your own stock, or intend to buy a mating or the actual male, what are the key things that you should be looking for? These key things are summarised in table 1 and discussed in detail below. Feature


Good fleece characteristics Good conformation Freedom from defects Two testicles

Fineness, density, coverage, crimp, lustre… Straight legs, proportions etc

Testicular size Libido Good semen evaluation Offspring

Obvious ones + those detected by vet exam Should be present from birth or shortly after Minimum 3cm in length Only assessed once mature Tested at male breeding soundness evaluation What are they like? Are they doing well at shows?

Table 1. Key features required for a breeding male alpaca l

Good fleece characteristics – this is what alpacas are all about, so if the male doesn’t have good fleece, he’s probably not going to be worth using. Fineness of fleece has been found to be highly heritable so breeding a female to a male with better fleece is likely to result in improved fineness in the next generation. Other fleece characteristics to look for include density, coverage and crimp – but these are all things that you don’t need a vet to tell you about. Also, if he’s a mature male, looking at any offspring of a particular male can suggest how heritable those characteristics are, as well as others. If he’s an older male and still has good fleece, this is also a key finding. l Good conformation – conformation is largely governed by genetics although there can be external influences that determine limb straightness and stature, such as nutrition (including adequacy of colostrum intake soon

after birth), rickets and trauma. Looking for a male that has good conformation makes sense: even if the heritability isn’t particularly strong, why would you risk making things worse by using a male that doesn’t have good conformation to begin with. Conformation is important because longevity in alpacas is important to us as we want our alpacas to survive and be productive long into their teens… Angular limb deformities create stresses at joints that can result in abnormal weight bearing and subsequent arthritis: too post-legged in the hind-limbs can result in patella luxation. l Freedom from defects – this one is really a no-brainer. Defects can be passed on to offspring, even if a defect was not directly inherited from the parents since it may have been due to a random mutation in the genetic code. Some defects result in individuals not surviving to adulthood (choanal atresia and heart defects for example), but others may not affect their ability to live normal lives although they may be passed on. Some defects may be obvious such as wry face or extra digits, or they may only be detected on closer physical examination. One defect that I always look for in a breeding soundness evaluation is a kink at the end of the tail: this defect is insignificant in the affected individual but can be passed on as more serious spinal defects that have an impact on growth in offspring. Kinked tails can be x-rayed to determine whether the kink is due to a deformed vertebrae or something else. The heart should also always be evaluated: any murmurs should be evaluated properly to investigate the cause before such an animal is used for breeding. This should involve an echocardiogram (essentially an ultrasound of the heart) to assess the reason for the murmur. Any other irregularities found on physical examination should be critically evaluated before decisions are made about breeding suitability.


Presence of 2 Testicles in the scrotum! (Figure 1) This one seems somewhat obvious! But you would be amazed how many males have found themselves in the show ring with only one testicle – or even won show classes… If a male doesn’t have both testicles, he should not be selected for breeding regardless of how good everything else is about him. Additionally, males with only one testicle may have one testicle retained which should also be removed at the time of castration – otherwise he may remain fertile. In other species, retained testicles are more likely to become neoplastic (develop tumours). Never castrate a male that has only one testicle present in the scrotum without looking for and removing the second. l Testicular Size – Testicular size is related to sperm production: the larger the testicles, the more sperm is produced resulting in greater fertility. Although alpacas couldn’t compete with rams on this scale in a million years (the testicles of rams account for 1.4% of body weight versus 0.02-0.03% in alpacas!), testicular size has been shown to correlate with testicular function in alpacas where males having testicles that measure less than 3cm in length have no functional testicular tissue at all (Galloway, 2000). If they’re not measuring 3cm in length by the age of 3 years, avoid these males. In addition, testicular size is known to be highly heritable in bulls. Therefore, it makes good sense to choose males that are likely to sire future stud males with good testicular size by selecting for this trait. l Libido – This can easily be assessed by observing a mating. In young males sometimes it can be difficult to assess this because they may not be fully mature but unproven males that have not reached their first breeding season will be bought at a cheaper price because they have not yet been proven. A breeding soundness evaluation will typically involve assessment of libido since a semen sample is collected post-breeding. ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE | Autumn 2012 | 53


Fig 2: Alpaca sperm viewed under the microscope. This sample has been collected from the female following breeding and you can see red blood cells also in the picture. l

Semen evaluation – This is normally done by collection of a sample of semen after breeding and the semen is collected from the female at the level of the cervix or by aspiration from the uterus. This collection method avoids the use of anaesthesia with electro-ejaculation or for the male to have to learn how to breed a “dummy” female with a collection device installed. Sperm motility and morphology will be evaluated under the microscope (see figure 2). In general terms you need to see a minimum proportion of normal sperm in order to pass the exam. The morphology of sperm can vary widely during the summer months particularly in hot weather. Since sperm production can be adversely affected for 6-8 weeks following any sort of insult, whether due to illness or environmental temperature, it is advisable to carry out any breeding soundness evaluations two months after the end of any hot weather – in the UK, this is likely to be from November through until the Spring. l Offspring – Evaluation of any offspring born to a particular sire will likely give you a good idea of what good characteristics he’s passing on to his offspring. This sort of information is easily acquired at shows, particularly those of a Futurity format where the offspring of particular sires earn points for those sires. l Young Male versus Proven Male? The above gives a general idea of the sort of things that you can evaluate when assessing potential future herdsires from amongst your own stock or for potential mating or purchase. It should be apparent that there will be gaps in the database for young males versus experienced or proven males. If you are looking to buy a male, I have summarised the advantages and disadvantages of whether you choose an experienced or young male in Table 2. Generally speaking, the price asked for an experienced and proven male is likely to be higher than a young male since fertility is unknown and he has no cria available for evaluation. Additionally, males that haven’t reached puberty are a big gamble since you are not able to assess 54 | Autumn 2012 | ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE

Buying a Proven Male

Buying a Young Male

Pros • Fertility track record available • Has reached maturity: known testicular size • Evaluation of other cria aids selection • Heritability of favourable traits can be seen in offspring • Breeding soundness evaluation possible

Pros • Relatively cheaper • Longer potential breeding lifespan

Cons Cons • More expensive • Really young males: may not be able to assess • Shorter breeding lifespan depending on age of fleece/conformation potential purchase • If not fully grown, unknown potential for testicular development • Unknown fertility • Heritability of good characteristics unknown – no offspring to check • If pre-pubertal, breeding soundness evaluation will only be partial Table 2. Advantages and disadvantages of buying proven versus young males

potential fertility as their testicles are probably still growing and neither can semen be evaluated. These males are likely to be the cheapest but you are paying less in order to take that gamble: the seller is offloading some of that risk by asking a lower price but potentially losing a really good male in the bargain. If a male is old enough to breed, it is advisable to have a breeding soundness evaluation performed to check his fertility. This helps protect both the seller and the buyer. If you’re the seller, it means that you have a record of his physical and reproductive stats (recording any health problems if present, and size and appearance of testicles and reproductive organs as well as semen evaluation) such that if the buyer subsequently experiences problems, it stands that he was good at the time of purchase. As a seller, you have little control over the conditions that the alpaca is kept in post-purchase in terms of nutrition and protection from heat-stress which is well known to adversely affect fertility in males. If you’re the buyer, having a record of a breeding soundness evaluation at the time of purchase gives you the reassurance that you’re buying a male that should be fit for the intended purpose of breeding. Either way, it should help if there are subsequent apparent fertility problems and a dispute arises.

alpaca’s use as a breeding animal or warrant further investigation. This is followed by a detailed examination of the reproductive organs, including the penis and sheath, testicles and accessory sex glands. The testicles are measured with calipers and also evaluated by palpation and ultrasound (figures 3 and 4) – ultrasound may detect lesions that are not palpable and also gives further information about palpable lesions. Ultrasound also permits evaluation of the epididymis – the organ where sperm are stored prior to ejaculation. The final part of the male BSE is semen evaluation, in males that are mature. This is a crucial part of the evaluation because you are able to determine the motility of the sperm and, based on the proportion of normal and abnormal sperm, determine the likelihood of reproductive success. Certain sperm defects are known to be associated with defects at different stages of sperm development giving potential clues as to transience/permanence, or are known to be heritable problems – at least in other species. At the end of the examination, you will receive a written record of the findings. Note that findings may vary depending on the time of year or following illness so, if there is an abnormally high proportion of abnormal sperm, a repeat evaluation may be recommended.


If you are interested in booking a male for a BSE, please contact me via email on or on 07769 271506. The cost for a complete male BSE, including semen evaluation is £180.

In males, the BSE includes a full physical examination to check for any visible, palpable or auscultable defects that would preclude the Fig 3: As part of the male BSE, the testicles are measured with calipers.

Fig 4: Ultrasound picture showing a normal right testicle, and ultrasound measurements.

Camelid Veterinary SerViCeS Offered by Claire e Whitehead bVm&S mS daCVim mrCVS

The 1st exclusively camelid vet service offered in the UK (est. may 2011) Camelid-specific reproduction services including: • breeding soundness evaluation • infertility workups (male and female) • embryo transfer. Consultation on medical, reproductive and herd health issues affecting alpacas and llamas. herd health planning available. Camelid-specific diagnostic services: • Faecal testing using the modified Stolls test (prices from £16 per faecal) • Cria igG testing Farm visits available in the new Forest area in association with Pilgrims Veterinary Practice. For info/advice, contact Claire on +44 (0)7769 271506 or email her on now based in Oxfordshire.

ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE | Autumn 2012 | 55

Bozedown Alpacas Established 1989


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We are a small family run farm in West Sussex (near the A23). We breed Huacaya alpacas in most colours.

Rarest of breeds • Ultimate natural fibre Beautiful, friendly, laid-back Suris. Get top genetics from the USA into your herd. At Stud in 2012: GLR The Synergist and Pucara Sur-Real Rapper son Springfarm Krug. Mobile Stud Services available. Full After Sales Support and Husbandry Training. See our sales list on-line and visit our on-line store for original handwoven and knitted accessories. Fleece and Yarn also available.

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All animals are micro chipped and registered with the British Alpaca Society. We are breeding good quality animals with sound confirmation. We are now mostly breeding from our own stud males. We have various animals for sale and offer continuous after sales support and advice Together with the alpacas we also run a flock of Balwen Welsh Mountain sheep.


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Snowmass Studs are co-owned with The Alpaca Stud, Pure Alpacas and Melford Green Alpacas

ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE | Autumn 2012 | 57


58 | Autumn 2012 | ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE


Belinda White goes channel hopping, discovering some of the more unusual sides of judging...


his spring I seemed to be in the UK more than I was in Belgium. I started off with two days at an equestrian trade show at the NEC. Soon after this I was back at Bozedown Alpacas to take part in the first stage judging course along with Emily Brown and then hot on its heels and still reeling from it, the World Alpaca Conference! I can’t remember what I expected the course to be like but I found it to be a real ‘full on’ experience. First of all getting there was a trauma in itself. I drove over and arranged to meet up with Emily at Gatwick. We had booked a hotel in Whitchurch on Thames on line so would go straight there. I got to Gatwick ahead of Emily and while waiting I put the post code for Bozedown into the GPS and then the post code for the hotel. When I picked Emily up from arrivals she said something along the lines of ‘I can’t believe that the plan is coming together’. ‘Emily, I think that there is a flaw in the plan. Bozedown had shown a journey time of one plus hours, the hotel three plus hours. Alarm bells rang loud. We had booked a hotel in Whitchurch Shropshire. So the first 30 minutes of our journey Emily was on the phone sorting it out. Fortunately the original hotel just laughed and said that it wasn’t the first time that it had happened and the Emily found us rooms at the correct location. Did you know that there are 21 Whitchurches in the UK? The course itself started with a recap but you were expected to have read through your notes and remembered all you had learnt on your foundation courses and then it was straight into judging. As I said, I can’t remember what I expected but, the clue is in the title, Judging Course. It’s one thing standing outside the ring listening to the verbal reasoning but it’s quite another standing inside the ring trying to string a logical sentence together without using words such as ‘nice’, ‘pretty’ and ‘elegant’. It is also hard to make sure you don’t say anything about the last place that makes him sound better than the first place especially with Nick Harrington Smith and Liz Barlow hanging on to your every word. Whatever makes you think that they made me

nervous? I am pleased to say that, with one or two exceptions, we all had the same problems and made the same tongue tied mistakes. What I can say is that, having stepped back from it on the first evening and ‘relaxed’ a bit, in my humble opinion, we all came back the next morning and performed far, far better. Whether Nick and Liz agree is debatable.

NEVER MIND THE... In amongst this intense alpaca experience we also had a lot of fun. Most notably with the alpaca inspections. Nick, Liz and Mary Jo had selected similar groups of alpacas for us to judge in classes of four. All the alpacas chosen seemed happy to be handled and quite relaxed about life, until the seven trainee judges arrived. Teeth were shown once and then we were let loose on them. Taking into account that it was a chilly day, after the first testicle check some of the boys decided to ‘tuck’ themselves up. In some cases so far up that for us amateurs it was very difficult to coax them out to check numbers or indeed, if they were there at all. And so began the ‘mystery of the missing testicles’. I can now say, along with the rest of the course that if there was a certificate for cold weather testicle examination, we would have it. And then the exam, with no input or encouragement from trainers or handlers it was a daunting experience. I felt pretty well wrung out as I drove back to the Channel Tunnel gaily practising my verbal reasoning out loud and getting very strange looks from fellow motorists. We then had to wait for the results, nail biting. Eventually, I started receiving text messages from various people asking had I passed, the email had gone out? I raced home and checked my e mail, nothing. More text messages, rechecked e mail, again nothing. Refreshed page any number of times but nothing. Eventually I thought that I would just check in my SPAM folder, there, nestled – and I promise that this is the truth between an advert for penis enlargement and one for erectile dysfunction was an e mail from the BAS, whew, I’d passed and I now have a certificate to prove it. Will I take stage two? I don’t know yet. I drove away from stage 1 with so much more information and, on my return to the farm, I think that I looked at my own herd and was able to identify strengths and weaknesses that hadn’t

All the alpacas chosen seemed happy to be handled and quite relaxed about life, until the seven trainee judges arrived. Teeth were shown once and then we were let loose on them. ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE | Autumn 2012 | 59


been as apparent before the course. This has to be a good thing when it comes to choosing breedings to introduce or enhance positive qualities. On the down side, breeders in Europe haven’t got the access to alpacas that breeders in the UK have. I believe that it is possible to attend shows either as a competitor or a spectator almost every week during the show season. This gives you access to look at top quality alpacas and hear the verbal reasoning behind the places. In Europe shows are so spread out that it would be almost impossible to go to them all, for time, travel and financial reasons. An example, I am considering going to the Italian show, this is about 1200 km from me and will take four days out. Also, most of the courses available are in the UK and run by the BAS. The BAS has members throughout Europe and it would be nice to have some courses held over here to make attendance easier. In the past the reason for not having courses here has been ‘the lack of top quality animals’. I don’t think that this argument stands anymore; there are some wonderful animals over here.

HUMAN GUINEA PIG Anyway, moving on. The World Alpaca Conference. It was another of those immerse yourselves in alpacas events. I met up with Emily Brown again and Thomas Luescher (Le Coutset Alpacas) both from Switzerland. Again I learnt so much and also, again, had a lot of fun along the way. The lectures were all very interesting, the dining an experience, the cabaret fantastic – apologies to Dr Julio Sumar I am told I almost killed him but, in my defence he was game for it, – incredible fashion show and the company was great. I am not ashamed to say that ours was the noisiest table with among others Emily and Thomas of course, Jacinta, Viv, Janet and Lisa Stocker (Alpakahof Linth) also Swiss, who was introduced to Pimms for the first time. The conversation moved on to discussing the judging

60 | Autumn 2012 | ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE

course as a few of us had been on it and, fuelled with enthusiasm as well as a little wine, the subject of alpaca inspections came up. We needed an alpaca! Obviously no real alpacas were there so, and I don’t know if he was coerced or volunteered, up stepped a well known Australian breeder. So, if any of you were there in the bar, you now know what was going on. One of the great benefits of a conference like this is that people from all over can get together and exchange ideas. One of the best discussions was among a group of European breeders and we are now thinking about organising a European Fleece show. It’s a long way from decided but the idea of moving the venue around Europe so that it doesn’t ‘belong’ to one country sounds appealing. If it was run alongside lectures from people who we wouldn’t normally attract to Europe, so much the better. Watch this space. Soon after my return to Belgium we went to our nearest Indian restaurant and the new waiter told us that his last job had been working in Oxford.

No real alpacas were there so, and I don’t know if he was coerced or volunteered, up stepped a well known Australian breeder. So, if any of you were there in the bar, you now know what was going on.

Oh Oxford, I said, I went to Keble College in Oxford’. He was sooooo impressed. It was the truth. The day after my return we went straight into shearing. A little earlier than I would have liked but, after all the problems the year before I just wanted it done and out of the way. We are also very fortunate that we have barn space for all the animals, in fact we could comfortably house over 500 at the moment so the weather wasn’t too much of a worry. Colin Ottery had come up from France and Alain, a new shearer from Flanders came down to help and ask questions. All went incredibly smoothly with the alpacas and the feeling of relief when the last bag was weighed and tied off was wonderful.

BLUE EYED WHITES Now on to the subject of blue eyed whites. I have decided that like mites, it is not something that is admitted to by the alpaca world as a whole. I know that they are admitted into the show ring but that they are frowned upon because of the possibility of deafness. We have never had a BEW, until this year. This year we have had two. Completely unrelated on either side, one male one female. One deaf one not deaf. Me being me, I have asked around and, when talking off the record most larger breeders will tell you that the have the odd BEW every now and again. This made me feel a lot better and I have got over the feeling that I am the only one, unclean, 2nd rate etc. I also contacted Dr Andy Merriwether who I had talked at length with at the WAC, he had foolishly told me to e- mail him with any questions. He sent me back a fantastic article on genetics and BEWs so I am feeling a lot happier. Both cria are big and strong and the deaf boy, as he is living in the herd, is thriving despite losing his Mother at four weeks of age. More of that later. He will be castrated at the earliest opportunity but I don’t think that there will be a problem finding him a home as he is so laid back and curious.


THE GREEN GREEN GRASS As with the whole of Europe we have had the wettest spring and summer for years. The positive side is that the grass has grown constantly, the negative side, people like me who rely on their neighbour to cut and bale their hay have probably missed out on getting two cuts as he only just managed to get his own first crop in during a very short dry spell at the end of May. I have managed to cut it since and it was a bumper crop of a very good quality so I can’t complain too much. Another unforeseen problem with the rich, continually growing grass was we lost a female to clostridia. She was fully vaccinated with a complete four year record. I had actually had hold of her in the morning to body score and check her over and there was absolutely nothing to worry me. Five hours later she was dead. It was the Mother of the BEW. We have had orphans before and, after a few days in the barn with companions they get the hang of a bottle so move outside with the others and come to be fed when you whistle. Not so easy with a deaf cria. We had to walk down the field and get ourselves into his line of vision so he

could see us, then he would come over. This all adds to the time it takes and makes it harder for the cria not to associate a human with his milk as when you have to stand in front of him waving your arms around he is pretty certain where the milk is coming from. This sorted itself out, as after about a week he started drinking less and less until he stopped coming over altogether. I was sure he must be feeding off another animal as he continued to gain weight but catching him at it was hard. We finally did and saw him sticking his head up between the back legs of one of the old girls usually while her cria fed. Since then we have seen him ‘bumming’ off quite a few others. My worry then was to make sure that the old girl wasn’t pulled down by feeding two so, as well as supplementing her feed we haven’t bred her this year, she’s done more than enough. Apart from that we have had a very good year. We have finished with 55% male compared to 75% last year so it’s a step in the right direction, we have plenty of hay in and the grass is still good. I can’t say that I am looking forward to the extra work that winter brings but at least we are prepared for it.

As with the whole of Europe we have had the wettest spring and summer for years – the positive side is that the grass has grown constantly...

ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE | Autumn 2012 | 61

Alpaca books & digital discs from Classical MileEnd Alpacas Now available from our online shop at or by mail order The Complete Alpaca Book 2nd Edition Eric Hoffman The most complete and comprehensive study of the alpaca. £120 + £8.50 p&p Antenatal Birthing and Cria Care Dr E McMillan and C Jinks A practical guide for the new alpaca owner written by an experienced alpaca owner and their vet. £20 + £1.50 p&p w 12 Ne 20 r fo

The Alpaca Colour Key; Rickets: The Silent Killer; Handbook of Alpaca Health Elizabeth Paul of Erehwon Alpacas Australia This trio of books are a welcome addition to the library and cover some fascinating and essential areas of animal health and inheritance not easily found elsewhere. Over 90 pages in each, plenty of supportive colour pictures and biology degrees not needed! £22 ea or £60 for all three +£1.50 p&p ea or +£4 p&p for all three

Alpaca Field Manual C. Norman Evans, DVM Down to earth, comprehensive, and simple to navigate. Its pictures and recommended drug tables will help breeders keep their alpacas healthy. £105 + £5.85 p&p Neonatal Care for Camelids David E Anderson, Toni A Cotton, Claire E Whitehead Highly recommended book from three well respected veterinarians. Covers male and female reproduction, birthing, neonatal care and weaning. A practical ring bound manual based on clinical experiences with over 50,000 alpacas and llamas. A must for all breeders and veterinarians. £85 + £3.50 p&p

Cheques payable to Classical MileEnd Alpacas. Credit/Debit card payments accepted.

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Calamity’s Bear Elaine Reeman Illustrated by Wendy Holloway Charming children’s book with lovely illustrations. £8 + £2.50 p&p The Art & Science of Alpaca Judging AOBA with Anderson, Gehly, Safley & VandenBosch Five years in the making this book will become the bible for developing breeding strategies and explaining what goes on in the show judging ring. Essential reading for both new and experienced owners. Highly recommended. £72 plus £6 p&p UK or £10 p&p Europe Orgling CD Alpaca World Magazine Fifty minutes of pure testosterone orgling courtesy of Classical Ikon. Ideal for those young males needing encouragement. £7 + £1.50 p&p Introduction to Alpacas DVD Rachel Hebditch of Classical Mile End Alpacas A 14 minute insight into these lovely animals for those thinking of owning alpacas. £10 + £1.75 p&p

Vulscombe Farm, Pennymoor, Tiverton, Devon, EX16 8NB Telephone 01884 243579 or Fax 01884 243514 Email

Bronze Alpaca sculpture

This unique sculpture: cold cast bronze with such amazing detail captured by the artist. He stands about 8� high and is so truly beautiful, so real you will marvel at his presence every day. He is priced at £65.00 including VaT, packing and delivery (UK mainland). Contact 01287 660728 Email:

Major Sponsor for Alpaca Events since 1998 16 years experience arranging specialised insurance for alpacas and llamas

ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE | Autumn 2012 | 63


ALPACAS TO PROTECT OUR BUSHFIRE FIGHTERS Alpacas are well known as effective protectors of flocks but now their fleece protects humans too, writes Mike Taylor.

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The airways of firefighters will go from being the least protected part of the body to the best protected.

Inventor Mike Taylor with his ‘Fair Air’ fire mask.


ast September a new product that uses alpaca fibre as a core ingredient was recognised at the leading Australian competition for inventors, the Bendigo Inventor of the Year Awards. Mike Taylor won the $10,000 Innovator of the Year award for his ‘Fair Air’ fire mask. Mike has long been well aware of what smoke can do to a fire fighter – he got a lungful of smoke fighting his first fire back in his teens. He has fought many fires since, mainly during his time as an Army Officer. About ten years ago he was working in Canberra and volunteered with the ACT Bush Fire Service. Issued his Personal Protective Equipment – boots rated to 300°C, Proban treated uniform, helmet, gloves, goggles, etc – he asked “What about my lungs?” and was told to use an old nappy! He thought there had to be something better but soon found out that there really wasn’t. The various masks available were either made from synthetics (potential to melt on the skin), were too hot to wear for long, interfered with speech or goggles or helmet, simply collapsed when wet or just didn’t seal properly.

He decided to make one himself with the prime aim being that only naturally fire-resistant materials would be in contact with the wearer’s skin. Other design aims he set were: • Easy to breathe through; • Comfortable to wear for long periods (as cool as possible); • Provide effective seal for all face types; • Reusable; • Maintain awareness of proximity to radiant heat; • Quick to put on/take off; • One size fits all; and • Easy to store. After considering and rejecting many materials one day Mike happened to visit an alpaca show in Canberra. It was a very fortuitous event for him – he won a dozen bottles of wine in the raffle, but more importantly found a potential new material – alpaca. One of the stalls was selling alpaca felt to be cut for shoe insoles. Mike thought there were possibilities, bought some, and after some tests regarded alpaca as very promising. ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE | Autumn 2012 | 65


Side view of the ‘Fair Air’ fire mask.

Next was to find out where it was made. At another alpaca show (was he hoping for another dozen wine?) he asked a few stallholders if they had any idea of the origin of the felt. One said that he had a fair idea but suggested that his company might be able to make something even better. The result is a needled alpaca material that is an ideal external element for the filters taking out a lot of the smoke particulates yet being non-irritating to the skin and highly fire resistant. Testing by the premier Australian scientific body, the CSIRO, showed that the particulate efficiency was high and the addition of other materials inside the alpaca raised it to outstanding - 100% for particles 5 micron and above and still 98.6% for 0.3 micron. The filter uses coloured alpaca fleece for the external side to indicate which side should be to the smoke and white on the internal. The filters are held in fire resistant cotton holders with the main component being a stretchy eyelet material with elastic for comfort and Velcro connectors. The CSIRO also tested for fire resistance and found that it is the first respirator to pass the two International Standards for protection against heat and flame – ISO 15025:2000 and ISO 9151:1995 (E). The latter requires it to take more than 17 seconds for the internal temperature to rise 24°C when exposed to a flame of 600+°C. The Fair Air mask took virtually twice as long – over 33 seconds and didn't burn through! This means 66 | Autumn 2012 | ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE

that the airways of firefighters will go from being the least protected part of the body to the best protected. The mask has been successfully trialled by some of the Australian fire agencies and also by RAAF firies in the Middle East. Hopefully all the Australian fire agencies will soon provide this missing bit of protective equipment to their bushfire fighters with resulting increased demand for alpaca fleece. For both his filtration materials fibre of less than the usual 80mm is used, even down to 30mm. A great use for rarely sell-able fibre. Many other uses have been suggested for the fire mask including protection from pollen and other allergens, pandemics, unpleasant smells, asbestos, wood dust, welding, etc. One of the CSIRO scientists says it is great when chopping onions! The product has exceeded all Mike’s design aims but he has gone even further this year. The most susceptible layer in the filter is a synthetic electrostatic material. Mike has built on attempts by the CSIRO to develop a mainly natural material using wool but instead used alpaca. This blend was successful and this mainly alpaca, electrostatic material he calls Pacastat ® which is in the final 20 entries for this year's Bendigo Inventors Awards. Mike may be contacted on his company email at or by phone on +61 411121687.

Hopefully all the Australian fire agencies will soon provide this missing bit of protective equipment to their bushfire fighters with resulting increased demand for alpaca fleece.

One of the scientists says it is great when chopping onions!


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ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE | Autumn 2012 | 67




The HOST with the ROAST Andrew Spillane reports on a summer of fêtes and a sale of hounds with love.

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ur Spring here continued wet and cool well into early summer. At least following the heavy rains in April and early May hay quantity was not going to be a problem this year. Getting a dry and long enough spell to cut, bale & store proved a different matter. Eventually we succeeded just a day before the annual Fete St Jean in our village at the end of June. KiKi, as always, produced beautiful hay with our land yielding four times the quantity per hectare compared with 2011. Fortunately we have just enough barn space to stock it all inside. Little did I realise at the time how glad we would be of the bonus in quantity and so quickly. The Fete season starts in earnest at the end of June and runs through until the first weekend in September. We enjoy a range of Fetes, lunches, Carnivals, spectacles, night markets, and dinners every weekend and some week nights throughout the summer season. Often we have a choice of two or three different venues each weekend within a 15 kilometre radius. Fete St Jean in Echourgnac is closely followed by a Sardinade at St Michel, Fete Epouvantailles (scarecrows) at St André, Musiques Espices at St Aulaye ( international music festival) and so on, not to forget the countless firework displays on Bastille Day. Further afield we can enjoy month long festivals of music and theatre in Perigueux and Bergerac or the spectacular re-enactment of the last battle of the 100 years war at Castillon La Battaille with its cast of hundreds. For Nicky and I the most memorable social event of the summer was a much smaller and very local affair. Therése Kohler is a Swiss lady living in the nearby village of Servanche. Single with five children, she owns a small farm of around four hectares. To support herself and family she has a flock of two hundred sheep and a few goats. Obviously ten acres is not enough to support her flock, in consequence her animals are constantly on the move every few days in the forest from field to orchard to light woodland. She and her two collies move them to wherever someone has spare grazing or land needing cleaning. Operating within a 15 kilometre radius of her home she regularly walks them 10 or more kilometres to

fresh grazing crossing main roads and small villages. A very tough life and hard way to make a living she nevertheless is always cheerful and greets you with a huge smile. We became friends a couple of years ago when she came to us to learn how to shear alpacas. She already had the basics from shearing her sheep and so made good progress. Now she shears a number of the smaller herds and pet alpacas in the region. Each year to thank those who help her Therése hosts a Mechoui when shearing at her farm. Mechoui is traditional spit roasted lamb or mutton over an open log fire. Guests are invited to bring along supplementary dishes of their own specialities. With around sixty guests of five different nationalities it turned into a superb summer party. As more and more people arrived so did an amazing variety and number of appetisers, quiches, savoury flans and salads. Two young shepherds from Landes region spent the morning hand turning the spit and basting the meat. Given the heat of the day and the heat of fire they looked as well cooked as the meat. Eventually they declared it ready and proceeded to serve all with delicious chunks of lamb accompanied by huge bowls of fresh salads. Cheese and desserts followed again in great variety, a truly wonderful and typical summer lunch.

Two young shepherds from Landes region spent the morning hand turning the spit and basting the meat. Given the heat of the day and the heat of fire they looked as well cooked as the meat. ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE | Autumn 2012 | 69


EXTREME AFTER SALES When we first decided to breed alpacas commercially here in France we set ourselves a number of goals and priorities. One of the first priorities was to ensure that we offered the best possible after sales service to our clients. France is a great place to live and the French have many fine qualities, but sadly good after sales service is hard to find anywhere in France and the alpaca industry was no exception. Prior to breeding alpacas we had bred Basset Bleu de Gascogne in UK and France. We had introduced this traditional French hunting hound into the UK in the early 90’s and I had formed my own pack in East Anglia. When selling surplus hounds we had always emphasised our willingness to help new owners or take back any hound without question if they did not get on. When we moved to France we brought some of our hounds with us from the pack and continued to successfully show and breed them. We sold hounds not only in France but also to a number of international clients including the USA. In the summer of 2000 we were contacted by a hunter from Wisconsin and he duly arrived with his wife late July. Corky Meyer looked like a reincarnation of Charles Manson but proved to be quiet and charming. He and his wife Sue eventually purchased three hounds and we flew them to Chicago. Despite the length of the trip they arrived fit and perky, having been well cared for by the cabin staff en route, the airline even offloading them before the first class passengers. A year later Corky purchased another breeding pair from us with different bloodlines. Over the years we have perhaps exchanged half a dozen emails at most. Then in spring this year I received an urgent request for two new bloodlines from Corky. He had searched throughout the US but could not find quality stock anywhere. I replied, pointing out that I had told him we had stopped breeding some years ago when my health problems prevented me from hunting. Corky doesn’t speak much French and asked if I knew any good breeders who would sell to the U.S. His initial plan was to buy semen for artificial insemination. As I suspected this proved impossible, far too complicated for your average breeder to be bothered with. I did find a number of breeders expecting litters and forwarded details and addresses to Corky. In July he was back in contact, he had found a breeder from my list with what looked like excellent stock available, unfortunately language was now a barrier so would I act as go between and negotiate the purchase. Reluctantly I agreed. Luckily, to 70 | Autumn 2012 | ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE

my surprise, Yann lives only half an hour away and turned out to be a delightful character with excellent hounds also using the same vets as we do. Choosing the hounds was quickly done and then the fun began. Would I organise transport? No, I recommended a specialist shipper but Corky thought to arrange it himself. Chaos ensued. His backwoods Wisconsin bank seemed unable

Despite the length of the trip they arrived fit and perky, having been well cared for by the cabin staff en route, the airline even offloading them before the first class passengers

to transfer funds internationally, could I help, ie, pay Yann? Four weeks later, after countless hiccups and confusion, the pups finally left for Chicago arriving yet again in perfect health. Extreme Service Apres Vente now discontinued for hounds.

10th SEPTEMBER As I write this I look out on our dried up arid fields. Whilst UK has suffered its wettest summer in years here in south west France we have not had any rain for over six weeks. The ground is rock hard and not a blade of grass to be seen. We are using twice as much hay per week as we normally do in winter along with beet pulp and supplement. Thank goodness for that bumper hay crop. Good news on the commercial front. After 2011 when the market for alpacas all but disappeared in France as elsewhere we are seeing a recovery. Most commercial herds are reporting good sales activity despite the continuing recession. Prices are reasonable too, not the heady figures of 2007/8/9 to be sure, being about 20% off the peak years but giving decent yields and looking sustainable in the medium term. I believe we can be cautiously optimistic for the future.

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Alpaca World Magazine’s




Alpacas de la Grange Mynas Gillian Howard-Evieux, La Grange Mynas, La Glacière, Saint Chamond, France, 42400. Tel: +33 (0) 4 77 22 85 69.  Email: Web: In the heart of France (30 mins Lyon). Prizewinning alpacas for sale. On-farm and fly-by matings posible with top-class AlpacaStud males – all colours. Initiation and full aftersales support. English/French spoken. B&Bs, holiday flats available for your visit.

Miriquidi Alpacas – Fine Black Alpacas Zum Goldenen Stern 50, 09569 Oederan OT, Memmendorf, Germany. Tel: 00 49 37292 21951 Fax: 00 49 37292 21952 Email: Web: Our herd contains a superb genetic variety and is one of the largest black herds in Germany. We have a large number of breeding females as well as excellent sires, which cover all requirements. Miriquidi Orpheus was the most successful black sire at the 2011-2012 shows, 2 x Colour Champion, 1 x Reserve Colour Champion.


Aquitaine Alpacas Lindsay Naylor, Le Mayne de Gaye, Sainte Alvere, France, 24510. Tel: +33 (0) 553 23 44 48. Email: Web: Established herd situated in the Dordogne. Breeding quality Peruvian huacayas from contented home bred stock. Sales, stud males. Practical guidance and support given on management and handling for happy alpacas. Elevage de Garenne Isabelle Leydier Delavallade, Chez le Meunier, 16110 Marillac le Franc, France, 16110. Tel: +33 685 53 80 54 Email: Web: Breeding prize winning camelids since 1990. Limited number of huacayas available. Specialising in Suri alpacas, white and coloured. Stud and agistment services available. Quelvehin Alpagas Steven & Jayne Parker, Quelvehin, Malguenac, Pontivy 56300, Brittany, France. Tel: +33 (0) 297 27 38 86 Email: Web: Breeding quality huacaya and suri alpacas. Australian and Accoyo bloodlines. Championship winning males available for stud services. Two luxury cottages on farm for holiday rentals. Spinning and felting courses held.

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IRELAND Burren Alpaca Damien Dyar, The Mohars, Murrough, Ballyvaughan, Co Clare, Ireland. Tel: 00353 (0)65 7076010. Email: Web: Ireland's premier alpaca stud. Over 10 years experience. A 'full house' of bloodline includes progeny of Australia's 'super six'; Allianza; Accoyo; ILR PPPeruvian Auzengate; FC Ultimo and Jolimont Warrior. Irish and Australian show winners at stud. Sales, agisting and full support services. Visit our farm in the beautiful Burren with a luxury thatch cottage for rental on the farm www.

ITALY Zarza Alpacas Hilary Shenton, Via Spunta 2, 06019 Umbertide (PG), Italy. Tel: 00 39 320 822 7068 Email: Web: Premier alpaca breeders in Italy. All BAS registered pedigree stock. Alpacas for sale, stud services, full training and support. Located Umbria with Associate breeders in Tuscany, San Marino, Marche, Trentino and Belluno.

Livanti Alpacas Liz Barlow, 1 Nash’s Farm, Aston Abbotts, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP22 4NT. Tel: 01296 682605 or 07976 671701. Email: Web: Established in 1999. Qualified BAS judge and trainer offers advice, herd assessments and training throughout the UK and Europe. Excellent Huacaya alpacas for sale and stud services from proven males.

Hayne Alpacas Paul and Teresa Cullen, Hayne Barton Farm, Burrington, North Devon, EX37 9JW. Tel: 01769 520384. Fax: 01769 520469. Email: Web: Established breeder offering a wide selection of excellent Huacaya and Suri alpacas for sale. On-farm or mobile mating service with a comprehensive range of support services including husbandry assistance and advice. DORSET

CORNWALL Home Manor Farm Alpacas Anne & Mike Higgins, Home Manor Farm, Trevellas, St Agnes, Cornwall, TR5 0XU. Tel/Fax: 01872 571310. Email: Web: Select Peruvian and Chilean breeding herd. Stud services available. Stock for sale with after sales support and advice. Enquiries and visitors always welcome. Come and see our wonderful animals. CUMBRIA WhyNot Alpacas Robin and Caroline Sandys-Clarke, Whynot Alpacas, Ghyllas, Sedbergh, Cumbria, LA10 5LT Tel: 01539 621246. Email: Web: Amongst the North West's largest breeders. Animals and knitwear products can be seen at many country shows. Big choice of alpacas for sale. Hands-on management instruction available for first-time buyers. DEVON Classical MileEnd Alpacas Rachel Hebditch & Chas Brooke, Vulscombe Farm, Pennymoor, Tiverton, Devon, EX16 8NB. Tel: 01884 243579. Mob: 07970 415638. Email: Website: Professional stud farm with 15 years alpaca experience. Show winning herd sires with pedigrees containing Australian, British and American genetics available for stud work. Wide selection of quality alpacas for sale as pets or as breeding stock. We pride ourselves on excellent customer support and training. Visitors welcome by appointment.

Alpha Alpacas Di Davies, Woodstock, Mapperton Lane, Melplash, Bridport, Dorset, DT6 3UF. Tel: 07739 382483 or 01308 442661. Email: Web: A small elite herd with an excellent selection of proven Australian and Peruvian genetics and a great Show record. Sales, stud services and friendly after sales service provided. Visitors welcome. Marshwood Vale Alpacas Geoff & Brenda Bugler, Payne’s Down Cottage, Marshwood, Bridport, Dorset, DT6 5QG. Tel: 01297 678181. Email: Web: Dorset – Marshwood Vale Alpacas – Warrior of Alpaca Stud (fawn) + black, lt. fawn, rose grey and white males available for services. Breeding Females, Pet Males, Guard Males, Fleece for sale. Alpaca/Llama easy-pen. Aluminium hurdles. GLOUCESTERSHIRE Snowshill Alpacas Roger Mount, Snowshill Hill Barn, Temple Guiting, Cheltenham, GL54 5XX. Tel: 01386 853841 / 07701 10444106. Fax: 01386 854791. Email: Web: Breeders of prize winning Huacaya and Suri alpacas in Gloucestershire. We usually have alpacas for sale, from pet to show quality. Stud services available from a wide selection of proven sires. After sales support and advice. We also have fabrics for sale, all made from our own alpacas and spun, woven and finished in the UK.


Book your space in the Alpaca World Breeders Directory now by telephoning Heidi Hardy on 01598 752799. An entry is priced at just £35 to cover FOUR issues Pure Alpacas Jay Holland, Torsend House, Main Road, Tirley, Glocs. GL19 4EU. Tel: 01452 780327 / 07789 257222. Email: Web: A family-run herd of both huacaya and suri with a range for sale from pets and poultry guards to elite breeding stock, all backed by professional, unrivalled support and advice. Our herd sires, from renowned bloodlines, are all proven and available for outside services. We run a variety of courses which cater for all levels of experience.




AzSu Alpacas Nikki Lenk, The Low Farm, Letton, Thetford, Norfolk, IP25 7TB. Tel: 01362 820097. Mob: 07798 522178 Fax: 01362 821333 Email: Web: Norfolk’s largest breeder offers potential and existing owners a friendly and complete service. High quality studs; breeding females and wethers for sale; practical training; caring agistment; fleece conversion; sound advice on all aspects of these magical animals.

The Alpaca Stud Nick Harrington Smith and John Potts, Bowford Farm, Goose Green, Thakeham, West Sussex, RH20 2LP. Tel. 01903 891425, 07770 586014 or 07979 651742. Fax: 01903 891425. Web: 600 huacayas and suris in all colours. 25 top stud males. Starter Packages. Shares in stud males. Free support. Courses. New Snowmass males.


Burnt Fen Alpacas Ann Nickerson, Garden Cottage, Burnt Fen, Horning, Norfolk, NR12 8LA. Tel: 01692 630553. Email: Web: We have been breeding alpacas for 12 years and have a fantastic friendly herd bred from excellent pedigree stock. Quality breeding females and gorgeous wethers are available, with genuine after sales support.


Hanley Hall Alpacas Val Fullerlove, Pool House Farm, Stock Green, Worcestershire B96 6TA. Tel: 07855 428464. Email: Web: We have concentrated on breeding quality Huacayas for 20 years with proven genetics in our home bred champions. We have females pregnant to champion males, potential herdsires with outstanding genetics and some pet boys. We are always happy to give ongoing help and advice both before and after sales, whether your interest is in showing, breeding, pets or fibre. Contact Val for more information or to arrange a visit.

Watership Alpacas Keith Taylor, Cole Henley Farm, Cole Henley, Whitchurch, Hants, RG28 7QD Tel: 01256 892154 or 07889 864269 Email: Web: Watership Alpacas invites you to visit and discover alpacas. We have all colours of BAS registered huacaya breeding females, young and pet alpacas for sale, and stud services. Ladies pure alpaca winter coats and jackets made to order locally. HERTFORDSHIRE Herts Alpacas Nigel and Katie Beckwith, Fairview Farm, Wyddial Road, Buntingford, Hertfordshire, SG9 9BS. Tel: 01763 271301 or 07802 433155. Web: 2009 award winning British Alpaca Futurity breeder. Over 80 quality alpacas for sale in all colours from world famous bloodlines. All our pregnant females are mated to the finest recognised and proven championship winning males. Stud services available, friendly halter trained pets and unbeatable after sales care. LEICESTERSHIRE Leicestershire Alpacas Tim and Jo Pickering, Kings Norton, Leicestershire, LE7 9BA. Tel: 0800 0835952. Web: Our alpacas haven't won awards nor do they have rosettes against their names. But we can guarantee they are from a strong bloodline. They are a healthy happy herd of huacaya alpacas. We provide friendly start up advice and after care support service.

NORTH YORKSHIRE Fowberry Alpacas Graham and Jenny MacHarg, Crambe Grange, Barton Le Willows, York YO60 7PQ. Tel 01653 619520. Email: Web: Your females visiting our Australian prize-winning males, have their own bio-secure paddock with a quiet, caring environment, conducive to conceiving. Each of our elite stud males has been bred or bought to improve future generations. With outstanding conformation and fleece statistics, choose a male to complement your female – inspection welcomed!

Toft Alpacas Rob & Shirley Bettinson, Toft Manor, Toft Lane, Dunchurch, Warwickshire, CV22 6NR. Tel: 01788 810626. Email: Web: Alpaca Stud Farm, est 1997. Pedigree stock for sale in all colours. Superior stud services. Stud males for sale or lease. Pets for sale. Introductory and advanced husbandry workshops. Fleece and fibre workshops. 24/7 advice and support. Holiday cottage on farm. Luxury alpaca products online and on-farm shop. WILTSHIRE

Priest Bridge Alpacas Kim and Andrew Perry, Priest Bridge Farm, Dark Lane, Bradley Green, Redditch, Worcestershire B96 6TJ Tel: 07813 509531 Email: Web: Stud services from show winning home bred stud males. Super selection of quality pregnant females with start up packages to suit your budget. Full after sales support and courses available. Fabulous fibre producing friendly halter trained pet males. Call for free friendly no obligation advice.

Pinkney Alpacas Margaret Silver, Pinkney Court, Malmesbury, Wiltshire, SN16 0PD. Tel: 07775 780345 or 01666 840540. Email: info Web: We specialise in suri alpacas and have top prize winning animals as well as ‘starter packs’ available for sale. We have a variety of champion males for stud purposes.

SOMERSET Tai Wind Alpaca Stud Lynn Pepper, Staffords-Mead Stables, Lower Rudge, Frome, Somerset, BA11 2QE. Tel: 07790 674334. Email: Web: Show quality black alpacas. Fast forward your genetics with our stud males. We have a selection of pregnant females and young stock for sale from our show herd. Import, export.

ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE | Autumn 2012 | 73

In old te rn en SP at io F ON na le S l A e OR l p ce ac a A Co w nf ar er en ds ce 20 12


th e at

2012 and it’s time to make those all important decisions about the future of your herd. Prize winning stud males in all colours (except grey). This group includes fawn and white, pure Accoyo males, with the quality of fleece that is typical of Shere Khan, Caligula and Ruffo descendants.

A wide selection of pregnant females, some with cria at foot, in all colours. We can put together groups of females to reflect both your budget and your aspirations. All dams will be pregnant to one of our stunning males.

In addition there is always a small number of high quality, potential herd sires for sale. A few of these will be pure Accoyo youngsters that would certainly make a difference to the quality of fleece in any herd. Please ask either of us for further details about any of the above alpacas, and feel welcome to come and view the herd at either of our locations - NW Oxfordshire and East Sussex. Kilnwood also has a small herd of, mainly black, alpacas in Australia. We are always happy to discuss exporting especially to the European mainland. Just ask!

for further information please contact

Mandy Wilson - - 0777 565 2207 Philip O’Conor - - 0780 110 9243 01608 683937 74 | Autumn 2012 | ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE

Friday 15 + Saturday 16 March

Hall 3A, National Exhibition Centre Birmingham B40 1NT The largest alpaca show in Europe and a celebration of all things alpaca. Halter classes with over 400 alpacas participating, an international fleece show, Alpaca Fibre Arts Village, trade stands, elite auction. Join us in March 2013 to make merry and applaud the best of British breeding. The NEC is ideally situated as it is close to the motorways, adjacent to Birmingham International Airport and the British Rail station. For more information you can also contact the Futurity Production Manager Chas Brooke at or 01884 243579 or any member of the Futurity Group

If you would like to join our mailing list for email updates, please contact us at

20 1 3

The full information pack will be available in November at:

ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE | Autumn 2012 | 75



Here at Houghton Hall Alpacas in Cambridgeshire, a friendly welcome awaits newcomers and established breeders who wish to visit our Farm to view and have a friendly chat about Alpacas. Established in 2002, Houghton Hall Alpacas is a premium independent farm set in beautiful orchards with quality pedigree Alpacas roaming though out our many paddocks. You will not be disappointed with our facilities which have been purpose built for practical alpaca management. We also offer full support with every aspect of alpaca ownership. We take great pride in our herd and are always striving to produce good quality cria. We have gained recognition through selective breeding with our prize winning stock. We travel far and wide visiting the best breeders in Australia, New Zealand and of course the UK to ensure we source the best alpacas. In 2012 we will be touring the U.S to compare the quality of their alpacas to ours in the UK. If the quality is what we are looking for, we are sure we will be bringing a few elite alpacas home.

Just look at our Stud Males Navigator


All existing clients have access to our elite Males - One single purchase from Houghton Hall Alpacas gives you access to all of our Stud Males.


In 2011 we began our Embryo Transplant Program which we have been planning for the past five years. We began with a series of successful single flushes. This is just the beginning of this exiting venture for us and we plan a much larger E T program during 2012 including super ovulation. We are now offering a select few of our recipient girls for sale, carrying elite embryos at a very competitive price. We are confident you will be delighted with the results.



Our Prize winning Herd includes:• Premium Huacayas and Suris available in a wide range of colours • Top quality pregnant females with excellent fleece quality • Recipient females, carrying elite embryos from our top breeding girls • Largest Selection of Proven Stud Males in the UK • Pet Males • Young females • New Stud’s on the block

So whatever your budget we feel sure to have an Alpackage© to suit you. If you are looking to enhance your herd with some outstanding genetics, look no further. Contact Mick or Liz today! Mick and Liz look forward to welcoming you to their farm. Please phone in advance to arrange a visit. Office: 01480 461510 Home: 01480 492959 Liz: 07791 887986 Mick: 07860 430280 Houghton Hall Alpacas, Houghton Hall, St Ives Road, Houghton, Cambridgeshire PE28 2BL Email:

76 | Autumn 2012 | ALPACA WORLD MAGAZINE

Take a look at the other sides of Mick George: &