Alpaca Spring 2024

Page 1 The fibre breed British Alpaca Society Alpaca British Alpaca Society quarterly magazine SPRING 2024 #101



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Cover photo: BAS National Show 2024

38 What happens in the alpaca fibre mill?

Liz Wright meets Emma Taylor for a master class on processing.

42 Hand spinning with alpaca fibre A guide to getting started with your fleeces.

44 Exhibitor’s Challenge

This pattern was the Exhibitor’s Challenge from the Fibre Zone at this year’s BAS National Show.

46 How to take a winning photo

Ingrid Weel gives top tips from a professional to make your 2024 photos have that magic touch! 50 2024 is the International Year

Alpaca SPRING 2024 3
© Ingrid Weel Photography
6 National Show 2024 Impressive entry of alpacas. 20 The ill-thrifty weanling
22 Plan ahead for plasma
crias. 24 Demystifying colour genetics Dark Sky Alpacas offer a little bit of Dark Sky magic. 28 Treadmill walking Have you ever seen an alpaca on a treadmill? 30 How soil or grass testing and supplements work together 33 Apprentice Alpaca Scheme The new Apprentice Alpaca Scheme is off to a good start. 34 Grass –misunderstood and under used? How to work with your greatest asset. 36 Know your fleece quality DRAWING NO. ISSUE NO. DIMENSIONS: SIGNAGE ARTWORK 24-684 CS Item 1 MATERIAL: NOTES: FINISH: Correx 1 600 x 600 . ITEM NO. matte High Density SD: 3.3 Fibred Counted: 374 Over 30mic: FD/mm2: 59.6 S:P 20.9:1 Primary Ave: 25.1 Secondary Ave: 14.8 P-S: 10.3 Medium Density SD: 2.6 Min Mic: 13.4 Over 30mic: 0 Over 40mic: 0 S:P 9•1 Primary Ave: 24.2 Secondary Ave: 21.4 P-S: 3 Low High Density Medium Density High Density Are you interested in improving your breeding programme and increasing the quality of your alpaca herd? What is skin-Imprint? As an alternative to skin biopsy, Skin Imprint provides details regarding an alpaca’s eece quality while being non-invasive. What do we measure?
Cria are typically weaned from six months of age and weaning technique vary from farm to farm.
Dr Ami Sawran updates
on it’s uses in the


Never has spring been more welcome after a dire winter where at best, areas had saturated fields and at worst, flooding and snowfall. Anyone caring for livestock should give themselves credit for getting their livestock and themselves through these last few months. There’s no doubt many of us will be rethinking some of our winter management for next year. I know I am.

But now its spring, such a hopeful time of the year with cria expected, spring shows and breeding plans to be made and acted upon. It’s a busy time but a satisfying one and maybe it will manage to stop raining without going into a drought! Grassland is such an important part of alpaca keeping and in this issue we look at what we can do to have the best we can.


20-21 April 2024 South of England Spring Live Alpaca Halter Show

Venue: South of England Showground, RH17 6TL

27-28 April 2024 Scottish Alpaca Championships

Venue: Lanark Ag Centre, ML11 9AX

6 May 2024 North Somerset Halter Show

Venue: North Somerset Showground, BS48 1NE

16-18 May 2024 Devon County Show

Venue: West Point, Clyst St Mary, EX5 1DJ

25 May 2024 Northumberland Championship Halter Show

Venue: Bywell, Northumberland NE43 7AB

20 July 2024 Cornwall Fleece Show

The National Show features in this edition and was a celebration of all that is best about the British Alpaca community. The event went smoothly and alongside the main business of the competitions (halter, fleece, and fibre zone) there was plenty of time for old friends to catch up and new friends to be made. The 2024 Show will be the last one in Telford with the 2025 Show booked for Stafford Show ground on 21-23 March in the Bingley Hall. The design of the Bingley Hall means that all alpacas will be penned in one space improving inclusivity.

Looking even further ahead BAS are planning a conference for members,

There are Affiliate Courses on offer UK wide so do have a look at the website, they are always so worthwhile and consolidate knowledge for the future.

And don’t forget this spring that we want your pictures for a calendar so have a look at our expert’s guide to taking good photographs and get snapping. We can’t wait to see them. Please let me have your contributions or ideas for the summer issue by 10 June and look out for your copy of Alpaca in the mail in July.

which will include the AGM, for the weekend of the 4-5 October 2025 in Stoke-on-Trent. Planning is underway and an interesting speaker line-up is taking shape including overseas guests as well as familiar ones from closer to home. Save the date and watch out for further information on the usual BAS channels.

As we approach the birthing season remember there are a couple of excellent Webinars on the BAS YouTube channel (access through the members area of the website) that cover preparation for this exciting (and sometimes stressful) time of year as well as covering common problems and how to tackle them. I hope you all have a stress-free shearing, birthing, and mating season!

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Duncan Pullar:
Liz at Gorefield Alpacas Photo: Karen Harvey
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A show that showcases the quality of our UK alpacas.

In excess of 500 visitors joined the throng of exhibitors to see the impressive entry of alpacas at Telford. There were many in attendance from overseas including from Ireland, Belgium, Poland, The Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand, to name only a few.

This venue has held the show for the last ten years and 2024 was the final year. This venue and show has been much enjoyed during this tenure. There have been some memorable alpacas seen here, with friendships made and celebrated every year, between members. BAS want to say a big thank you to everyone who helped to make this year’s show the huge success it was and they are already planning next year’s at its new venue.

If you missed the show, then you can catch some of the atmosphere and see the very best of alpaca breeding by going to the YouTube Channel.

Catch up on YouTube

Ring 1:


Ring 2


Next year's show

Watch out for next year’s show at the Stafford Showground on 21-23 March 2025


Mary Jo Smith was one of the judges for the Halter Show. She gives her view from inside the ring.

“ I thoroughly enjoyed my third time judging this wonderful show,” said Mary-Jo. “The organisation of the show and the quality keeps improving year on year.”

Mary-Jo went on to say that the National Show committee works very hard to make sure that the show is excellent and again this year the screens behind the show ring were outstanding in how they were able to highlight, what the judges were seeing particularly with the close-up fleece shots. Other advertisements and observations on alpacas shown between

Mary Jo Smith

the judging were outstanding. All this made the show even more interesting to those there and of course, those watching the stream, and it was indeed a great show to end ten years at Telford.

Mary-Jo’s thoughts on the judging?

“On the whole the animals were presented extremely well considering the weather. We were unsure what the effects would be from a very hard winter with so much rain, This could have led to difficulties with nutrition and a worm burden, to say nothing of mud and debris deep in the fleece. Certainly, the top placed alpacas were well grown and well presented. We were very impressed with the final Championship where there was a great range across the colours in both Huacayas and Suris.

Could do better?

“The way you present and handle your alpaca can make the difference in your final position within the placings. Whilst judges make allowances for alpacas in a show situation, they still need to see them walk and to be able to get their hands on the alpaca. Prepare your show team for an experience such as this before you come to the show so they are used to different surfaces and have people they don’t know, touch them. We can only judge on what we see on the day and it really can make a difference to your placing especially if a judge is having problems deciding between two similar alpacas”.

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Halter Show results

Judges: Mary Jo Smith (females) and Shane Carey (males) 559 alpacas (200 Suri, 359 Huacaya) 76 herds

Suri Champion White Male

Champion: Springfarm D'Angelo (UKBAS44967)

Owned by Springfarm – Mr & Mrs Chris & Vicki Agar

Reserve: Faraway Haaland (BNBAS17062)

Owned by Faraway – Mrs Nikki Hayton

Suri Champion Light Male

Champion: Dark Sky Ziggy (UKBAS42360)

Owned by Dark Sky – Mr & Mrs Tom & Wendy Scott

Reserve: Evolution Foundation (BNBAS17392)

Owned by Alpaca Evolution Ltd

Huacaya Champion Black Female

Champion: Inca Serenade (UKBAS45015)

Owned by Inca Alpaca Ltd

Reserve: Inca Pirouette (UKBAS40913)

Owned by Inca Alpaca Ltd

Huacaya Champion White Male

Champion: Lane House Emperor's Quest (BNBAS13729)

Owned by Lane House – Mrs D Lane & Miss J Lane Reserve: Capital Atlas (BNBAS17260)

Owned by Capital – Kim & Stuart Murray

Huacaya Champion Light Male

Champion: Beck Brow Money Talks (UKBAS44365)

Owned by Beck Brow – Paul & Barbara Hetherington & Craig Kerr

Reserve: Beck Brow Stardom (BNBAS16956)

Owned by Beck Brow – Paul & Barbara Hetherington & Craig Kerr

Suri Champion Fawn Male

Champion: Lane House Marcello (BNBAS15968)

Owned by Lane House – Mrs D Lane & Miss J Lane Reserve: Pure Teine (BNBAS16253)

Owned by Pure – Mr Jay Holland

Huacaya Champion Fawn Male

Champion: Acton Hill Flash Forward (BNBAS17284)

Owned by Acton Hill – Angela & Stuart Wilson Reserve: Acton Hill Jailbreaker (BNBAS17277)

Owned by Acton Hill – Angela & Stuart Wilson

Huacaya Champion Brown Male

Champion: Limestone Bengal (BNBAS16305)

Owned by Limestone – Mr P Wills

Reserve: Beck Brow Hold On Tight (UKBAS44369)

Owned by Beck Brow – Paul & Barbara Hetherington & Craig Kerr

Huacaya Champion Grey Female

Champion: Limestone Bohai (UKBAS44999)

Owned by Limestone – Mr P Wills

Reserve: Usk Valley Je T'aime (UKBAS42238)

Owned by Usk Valley – Mr & Mrs Morgan

Hucaya Champion Modern Grey Female

Champion: Leven Valley Nikita Glitz (UKBAS45006)

Owned by Leven Valley – Ms Deb Watt Reserve: Snowshill Anna Blu (UKBAS36455)

Owned by Snowshill – Mr Roger & Mrs Mary Mount

Champion Suri Modern Grey Female Champion: Snowshill Aerin (UKBAS42308)

Owned by Snowshill – Mr Roger & Mrs Mary Mount Reserve: Dark Sky Desdemona (UKBAS42354)

Owned by Winsaula – Mr & Mrs Mark & Paula Winsor

Huacaya Champion Brown Female Champion: Beck Brow Simply The Best (UKBAS44222)

Owned by Beck Brow – Paul & Barbara Hetherington & Craig Kerr Reserve: Acton Hill Dendara (UKBAS44698)

Owned by Acton Hill – Angela & Stuart Wilson

Suri Champion Brown Female Champion: Wellow Hip Hip Hooray (UKBAS44714)

Owned by Wellow – Mr & Mrs Neil & Michelle Payne Reserve: Dark Sky Hnoss (UKBAS42357)

Owned by Dark Sky – Mr & Mrs Tom & Wendy Scott

Huacaya Champion Fawn Female Champion: Artwork M.S. Mimi (UKBAS42517)

Owned by Artwork – Mr K Freivokh & Miss E Windsor Reserve: Beck Brow Santorini (UKBAS42287)

Beck Brow – Paul & Barbara Hetherington & Craig Kerr

Suri Champion Fawn Female

Champion: Beck Brow Sweet Dreams (UKBAS44215)

Owned by Beck Brow – Paul & Barbara Hetherington & Craig Kerr

Reserve: Lane House Everglow (UKBAS44460)

Owned by Lane House – Mrs D Lane & Miss J Lane

Huacaya Champion Light Female

Champion: Beck Brow Save Your Kisses (UKBAS42286)

Owned by Beck Brow – Paul & Barbara Hetherington & Craig Kerr

Reserve: Acton Hill Cosette (UKBAS42132)

Owned by Acton Hill – Angela & Stuart Wilson

Suri Champion Light Female

Champion: Aylswood Thistle Down The Wind (UKBAS41676)

Owned by Aylswood – Ailene Charlton

Reserve: C-S Alpacas Happy (UKBAS42441)

Owned by C-S Alpacas – Mrs Julia & Mr Jack Corrigan-Stuart

Suri Champion Brown Male

Champion: Beck Brow Moonfest (BNBAS16961)

Owned by Beck Brow – Paul & Barbara Hetherington & Craig Kerr

Reserve: Faraway Rodri (BNBAS17059)

Owned by Faraway – Mrs Nikki Hayton


Huacaya Champion Modern Grey Male

Champion: Lane House Montezuma (BNBAS16227)

Owned by Lane House – Mrs D Lane & Miss J Lane Reserve: Snowshill Olörin (BNBAS16098)

Owned by Snowshill – Mr Roger & Mrs Mary Mount

Suri Champion Modern Grey Male

Champion: Wellow Hadenough (BNBAS17295)

Owned by Wellow – Mr & Mrs Neil & Michelle Payne Reserve: Snowshill Leonides (BNBAS15044)

Owned by Snowshill – Mr Roger & Mrs Mary Mount

Huacaya Champion Grey Male

Champion: Aylswood Dexys Midnight Runner (BNBAS17044)

Owned by Aylswood – Ailene Charlton Reserve: Capital Texugo (UKBAS45142)

Owned by Lane House – Mrs D Lane & Miss J Lane

Suri Champion Grey Male

Champion: Lane House Grey Masquerade (BNBAS15971)

Owned by Lane House – Mrs D Lane & Miss J Lane Reserve: Faraway Scarlet Fever (UKBAS41804)

Owned by SilverCloud – Kim Swetman

Suri Champion Grey Female

Champion: Dark Sky Pinot Noir (UKBAS44248)

Owned by Dark Sky – Mr & Mrs Tom & Wendy Scott

Reserve: Dark Sky La Niña (UKBAS44251)

Owned by Dark Sky – Mr & Mrs Tom & Wendy Scott

Huacaya Champion Black Male

Champion: Inca No Strings (UKBAS40608)

Owned by Inca Alpaca Ltd

Reserve: Inca Strategist (BNBAS17514)

Owned by Inca Alpaca Ltd

Suri Champion Male Black

Champion: Snowshill Remiel (BNBAS16114)

Owned by Snowshill – Mr Roger & Mrs Mary Mount

Reserve: Snowshill Black Shadow (BNBAS16104)

Owned by Snowshill – Mr Roger & Mrs Mary Mount

Best Appaloosa Huacaya

Lane House Appaloosa Domino Effect (BNBAS17156)

Owned by Lane House – Mrs D Lane & Miss J Lane

Huacaya Champion White Female

Champion: Chinchero Manuia (UKBAS45135)

Owned by Chinchero – Mr & Mrs S & B Massenhove Reserve: Beck Brow Class Act (UKBAS44219)

Owned by Beck Brow – Paul & Barbara Hetherington & Craig Kerr

Suri Champion White Female

Champion: C-S Alpacas Weismann Gecko (UKBAS44888)

Owned by C-S Alpacas – Mrs Julia & Mr Jack Corrigan-Stuart Reserve: North West Suri Helly Hanson (UKBAS44706)

Owned by North West Suri – Beverley Morgan, Neil & Michelle Payne

Suri Supreme Champion

Champion: Wellow Hip Hip Hooray (UKBAS44714)

Owned by Wellow – Mr & Mrs Neil & Michelle Payne

Best British Bred Suri

Champion: Wellow Hip Hip Hooray (UKBAS44714)

Owned by Wellow – Mr & Mrs Neil & Michelle Payne

Huacaya Supreme Champion

Champion: Chinchero Manuia (UKBAS45135)

Owned by Chinchero – Mr & Mrs S & B Massenhove

Best British Bred Huacaya

Champion: Chinchero Manuia (UKBAS45135)

Owned by Chinchero – Mr & Mrs S & B Massenhove

Alpaca SPRING 2024 11


How does it feel to be a Champion?
We asked the Suri and Huacaya owners and it seems they were just a bit pleased!

From the Wellow Herd

We are all utterly delighted with our Supreme Champion and best of British Suri alpaca female Wellow Hip Hip Hooray. She is aptly named we think, as the first female Cria after a significant number of male cria in a row, but the name also fits her new championship status quite neatly.

Our success this year was totally unexpected, some years you go to the National Show and you are particularly pleased with your alpacas and you have some hopes of going all the way but this year we have had a particular problem with tender fleece in many of our juniors and although she was our best, we feel that the darker colours (she is light brown), almost never win in Suris which makes this double win particularly sweet.

Hip Hip Hooray will now be sheared in April after a couple more shows and we will wait until she is two before we breed her because she was an August born Cria and won’t make the size this year, I have a number of possible lucky males in mind and I hope she will bring her fineness and consistency to the party and we can add even more density and keep hold of her colour. Her dam, Wellow Cracklin Rosie, consistently produces quality offspring so we will again be eagerly awaiting her cria this year.

From Chinchero Alpacas

You ask how much of a surprise? It was a whirlwind and it just kept gathering pace. We are in a state of shock and have been absolutely blown away by our results.

When picking our show team for the National, we often question ourselves as to whether our animals are good enough. With so many quality alpacas at the show, we only hope to be placed in the front row. But we do believe that Chinchero Manuia who is only eight months old, has a very good quality fleece.

Beck Brow Bring It On has been a wonderful stud male for us. We have 11 cria on the ground from him so far, and they are all peas in a pod.


Congratulations to the Huacaya Supreme Champion, Chinchero Manuia (UKBAS45135) owned by Mr & Mrs S & B Massenhove of the Chinchero herd, and the Suri Supreme Champion Wellow Hip Hip Hooray (UKBAS44714) owned by Mr & Mrs Neil & Michelle Payne of the

We are thrilled that he won the sires progeny class

His progeny went on to be awarded:

• Chinchero Oro Junior White Male

• Chinchero Tiare Junior White Female

• Chinchero Manuia Junior White Female

• Champion White Female Huacaya

• Supreme Champion Huacaya

• Best of British Huacaya

Congratulations to everybody who won awards and also to everyone who didn’t… we know how stressful shows are and just turning up and going in the ring is an achievement in itself! We always find everyone at the show is so friendly, one big community.

We would like to thank all the breeders, big and small who have helped us on our journey into the alpaca world. Your help, expertise and advice has been invaluable. Thank you to the show team committee, the judges, the ring stewards, the sponsors and everyone who works tirelessly behind the scenes to put on a fantastic show!

For anyone wondering where the name Manuia comes from…it is a South Polynesian word meaning cheers.

So on that note… Manuia

Alpaca SPRING 2024 12
Wellow herd. Wellow Hip Hip Hooray, Suri Supreme 2024 at home Beck Brow Bring It On progeny

✓ Fabulous fleece and conformation

✓ Breeding females, Stud males and pets for

✓ Genuine value for money at affordable prices

✓ Comprehensive support and training given

✓ Viewing without obligation

Is your relationship with your animals all you had hoped for?

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Camelidynamics is an approach to and collection of methods that represent the most positive, least intrusive techniques for training and managing alpacas.

This two day handling course will change the relationship you have with your animals forever.

Understand why camelids behave the way they do and learn kind and e cient methods that are science-based, for safe handling and husbandry that’s fun.

Tell your vet that we have courses for them too.

For those interested in nding out how this approach can inform and support your human/alpaca interactions in the therapeutic arena, we are now o ering courses for owners and professionals.

Working with Alpacas in Animal Assisted Activity or Therapy.


HANDLER COURSES: 29th - 30th June 31st August - 1st September

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ANIMAL ASSISTED THERAPY COURSE: 14th - 17th April 20th - 23rd June

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Alison Wiseman, organiser of the fibre zone was delighted to have Araminta Campbell as the judge this year.

With alpaca featuring so prominently in her own business and her wealth of experience with everything that goes in to creating and selling beautiful products Araminta Campbell was ideally placed to make the awards.

The quality and creativity of BAS members was on show for all to see. Araminta Campbell was impressed, she said: “The level of finish and attention to detail in all the entries was good to see, I can see and feel the quality.”

Alison (whose herd is Balnuith Alpacas) added: “ We even had two international entries from France and Belgium who are both BAS members. The entry in the machine made class was particularly large and so we split it to better reflect the items. The whole Fibre Zone looked very colourful and caught peoples’ eyes, so they stopped to take a look."

Alpaca SPRING 2024 14

Class 1: Exhibitor’s Challenge

1st Wendy Scott - Dark Sky Alpacas

Class 2: Bobble Hat

1st Anne Mathers – Ashtonelle Alpacas

Class 3: Hat with 3 or more colours

1st Ailene Charlton – Aylswood Alpacas

Class 4: Headband with a Pattern

1st Eric – Alpagas du Maquis

Class 6: Fingerless Gloves

1st Eric – Alpagas du Maquis

Class 7: Socks

1st Ailene Charlton – Aylswood Alpacas

Class 8: Scarf with Trim

1st Anne Mathers – Ashtonelle Alpacas

Class 9: Wrap over 30cm.

1st Alison Wiseman – Balnuith Alpacas

Class 10: Infinity Cowl

1st Ailene Charlton – Aylswood Alpacas

Class 11a: Wearable Item (Garment)

1st Anne Mathers – Ashtonelle Alpacas

Class 11b: Wearable Item (Accessory)

1st Tracey Carpenter – Starrywell Alpacas

Class 14: Teddy Bear

1st Alison Wiseman – Balnuith Alpacas

Class 15: Toy

1st Sheriff Alpacas

2024 Fibre Zone results

Class16 – Newborn Gift

1st Kim Swetman – Silver Cloud Alpacas

Class 17: New Home Gift

1st Liskeyborough Alpacas

Class 18: Christmas Gift

1st Elaine Matthews-Loydall – Teinteach Alpacas

Class 19: Easter Gift

1st Elaine Matthews-Loydall – Teinteach Alpacas

Class 20a: Machine Item (Neckwear)

1st Wendy Scott – Dark Sky Alpacas

Class 20b – Machine Item (Hat)

1st Eric- Alpagas du Maquis

Class 20c: Machine Item to Wear 1st Latton Alpacas

Class 21: Machine Item for the Home 1st Caroline Oakes

Class 22: Machine Item (Gift) 1st Caroline Oakes

Class 27 – Huacaya Mill Spun 1st Eric – Alpagas du Maquis

Class 28: Huacaya Hand Spun 1st Bridget Tibbs – Cotswold Alpacas

Class 29: Suri Mill Spun

1st Alison Wiseman – Balnuith Alpacas

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The fleece show at the National is truly a celebration of the best fleeces around. To qualify for the show the fleece had to have been a Champion or Reserve at a fleece show in the previous 12 months. On 24 February Barbara Hetherington took on the task of judging the 49 fleeces entered.

Alpaca SPRING 2024 16
The Faulkner’s with Judge Barbara Hetherington Jack Corrigan Stuart receiving the Suri award from Barbara Hetherington The winning fleeces Julia Corrigan-Stuart was master of ceremonies

The judging took place at CS Alpacas thanks to the generosity of Julia Corrigan-Stuart who sponsored the Fleece Show, hosted the event, organised it, and ran a very tight ship on the judging day. Julia also then set up the display at the National. A huge effort from Julia and her helpers, and much appreciated.

When Julia introduced the presentation of prizes, she explained that a slight tweak of the fleece judging rules meant that previous scores might not be repeated. Barbara Hetherington said: ”It was a joy to judge such a good showing of high-quality fleeces.”

Winner of the Supreme Huacaya Champion Fleece was Bozedown Trailblazer (UKBAS44100) with 86.75 points owned by Mr & Mrs Aaron & Lesley Faulkner from Ballymac alpacas in Northern Ireland. They collected their award in person and were highly delighted.

The winner of the Supreme Suri fleece was C-S Alpacas Happy (UKBAS42441) with 86.75 points owned by C-S Alpacas – Mrs Julia & Mr Jack Corrigan-Stuart. Resisting the temptation to present the award to herself, Jack stepped up to receive the award.

Alpaca SPRING 2024 17
Bozedown Trailblazer C-S Alpacas Happy Brillbury Goddess Gisella Springfarm Prince Caspian
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Macro studies of samples at the judging session captured by Ingrid Wheel

Huacaya Champion White

Champion (86.00): Brillbury Goddess Gisella (UKBAS42766)

Owned by Brillbury – Mr & Mrs Michael & Anne Shaw Reserve (84.00): Crewenna Corinthian (UKBAS29376)

Owned by Crewenna – Mrs Sandra J Muriel & Mr Allen Muriel

Huacaya Champion Light

Champion (86.75): Bozedown Trailblazer (UKBAS44100)

Owned by Ballymac – Mr & Mrs Aaron & Lesley Faulkner Reserve (80.75): Herts Alpacas Tonka (UKBAS40714)

Owned by Pinnacle – Mr & Mrs Tony & Hilary Monkcom

Huacaya Champion Fawn

Champion (83.50): Artwork Jack The Lad (UKBAS40095)

Owned by Artwork - Mr K Freivokh & Miss E Windsor Reserve (82.75): Artwork M.S. American Pie (UKBAS42520)

Owned by Artwork – Mr K Freivokh & Miss E Windsor

Huacaya Champion Brown

Champion (81.75): Springfarm Circe (UKBAS42609)

Owned by Springfarm – Mr & Mrs Chris & Vicki Agar Reserve (80.75): Castlings El Condor (BNBAS15297)

Owned by Castlings Alpacas

Huacaya Champion Grey

Champion (79.75): Snowshill Olörin (BNBAS16098)

Owned by Snowshill – Mr Roger & Mrs Mary Mount Reserve (77.00): Snowshill Anna Blu (UKBAS36455)

Owned by Snowshill – Mr Roger & Mrs Mary Mount

Huacaya Champion Black

Champion (72.00): Inca Oklahoma (UKBAS39039)

Owend by Inca - Inca Alpaca Ltd Reserve (71.75): Snowshill Kira (UKBAS40246)

Owned by Snowshill – Mr Roger & Mrs Mary Mount

Champion of Champions Huacaya Fleece

Champion (86.75): Bozedown Trailblazer (UKBAS44100)

Owned by Ballymac – Mr & Mrs Aaron & Lesley Faulkner Reserve (86.00): Brillbury Goddess Gisella (UKBAS42766)

Owned by Brillbury – Mr & Mrs Michael & Anne Shaw

Judges Choice Huacaya

Champion (86.00): Brillbury Goddess Gisella (UKBAS42766)

Owned by Brillbury – Mr & Mrs Michael & Anne Shaw

Best British Huacaya Fleece

Champion (86.75): Bozedown Trailblazer (UKBAS44100)

Owned by Ballymac – Mr & Mrs Aaron & Lesley Faulkner

Suri Champion White

Champion (80.25): Bozdown Shining Example (NONBAS4637)

Owned by Bozedown Alpacas Ltd Reserve (75.75): Snowshill Glorfindel (UKBAS36044)

Owned by Snowshill – Mr Roger & Mrs Mary Mount

Suri Champion Light

Champion (86.75): C-S Alpacas Happy (UKBAS42441)

Owned by C-S Alpacas – Mrs Julia & Mr Jack Corrigan-Stuart Reserve (77.75): Springfarm Blizzard (BNBAS15407)

Owned by Springfarm – Mr & Mrs Chris & Vicki Agar

Suri Champion Fawn

Champion (83.75): Springfarm Prince Caspian (UKBAS44638)

Owned by Springfarm – Mr & Mrs Chris & Vicki Agar Reserve (76.50): Springfarm Baron (BNBAS15402)

Owned by Springfarm – Mr & Mrs Chris & Vicki Agar

Suri Champion Brown Champion (80.50): Springfarm Captain (BNBAS16311)

Owned by Springfarm – Mr & Mrs Chris & Vicki Agar

Suri Champion Grey Champion (74.00): Snowshill Leonides (BNBAS15044)

Owned by Snowshill – Mr Roger & Mrs Mary Mount

Suri Champion Black

Champion (71.25): Snowshill Gallifrey (BNBAS15048)

Owned by Snowshill – Mr Roger & Mrs Mary Mount Reserve (70.00): Wealden Maverick Top Gun (BNBAS16677)

Owned by Alpacas At Wealden

Champion of Champions Suri Fleece

Champion (86.75): C-S Alpacas Happy (UKBAS42441)

Owned by C-S Alpacas – Mrs Julia & Mr Jack Corrigan-Stuart Reserve (83.75: Springfarm Prince Caspian (UKBAS44638)

Owned by Springfarm – Mr & Mrs Chris & Vicki Agar

Best British Suri Fleece

Champion (86.75): C-S Alpacas Happy (UKBAS42441)

Owned by C-S Alpacas – Mrs Julia & Mr Jack Corrigan-Stuart

Judges Choice Suri

Champion(86.75): C-S Alpacas Happy (UKBAS42441)

Owned by C-S Alpacas – Mrs Julia & Mr Jack Corrigan-Stuart


Home of Champion of Champions

Ballymac Alpaca is a family run Alpaca farm headed up by husband and wife team Aaron and Lesley along with their little helpers. Situated in Gilford, Co. Armagh, Northern Ireland we are very proud to breed every colour of Huacaya alpacas including appaloosas. Our multiple prize winning herd consists of carefully chosen genetics from around the world all of which are British Alpaca Society (BAS) registered. We are avid members of the BAS, Northern Ireland Alpaca Group and the AAI Group.

If you fancy meeting the herd to get more information please don’t hesitate to contact us:

Tel: 07546 929659




Based in the South West of England just outside Weston-Super-Mare, Paddock Equipment is one of the largest suppliers of paddock equipment in the UK. We specialise in all types of paddock equipment from trailed and mounted chain harrows to paddock vacuums and field rollers.

W Field Agricultural are suppliers of Zetor Tractors, Kioti Tractors, Kioti ATV’s and Malone Grassline Machinery, plus a range of attachments and implements

We also repair and service all makes of tractor and farm machinery in and around Somerset and surrounding counties

Alpaca SPRING 2024 19
Fleece Show winner Bozedown Trailblazer


A whistle stop tour by Lissie Gercke BVSc (hons) CertAVP(CP) MRCVS

Cria are typically weaned from six months of age and weaning technique can vary from farm to farm. The advised cria weight at weaning is 25kg. Some will be lighter (towards 21kg) and many 30kg plus. Occasionally cria might be weaned earlier, where the dam is struggling to maintain condition, or an underweight or undersized cria might be weaned late to stay on a well-conditioned dam with good milk production for a little longer.

It is not uncommon for one or two youngsters in a group to drop back and it can be down to a number of factors. Multiple animals failing to thrive is a bigger concern and requires speedy intervention. Weaning is a stressful time for cria and the stress alone can cause an individual to fall back. Genetics also play a role and it is worth going back and looking at records from the dams previous cria.

Weighing at least monthly is key at this stage. Body condition scoring (BCS) alongside weighing is useful but on its own is not as precise for quantifying condition gain or loss in juveniles. When weight is not regularly monitored poor doers can go unnoticed initially.

When working up a poorly doing weanling, after a full clinical (including dental/oral) examination, I like to go back to birth and run through any factors that might have set it up to do badly from the start. Did it have a traumatic delivery? Did it get enough colostrum in the correct time frame? Did its dam have a good milk supply? Did the dam maintain an adequate BCS (2.5/5) during lactation? Did it have any periods of illness? What age and weight was it at weaning? I review recorded weights from birth and calculate daily weight gain each month to see if the problem started post weaning or if there have been other periods of sub-optimal weight gain. Review the recent and historic worm egg counts (WEC) for the individual and any worming treatments. Worms (including tapeworm), coccidia and fluke will negatively affect weight gain, however don’t necessarily cause diarrhoea and so can go unnoticed without regular surveillance. Discuss results with your vet to

identify when to treat and which anthelmintic is most appropriate. If a recent worm or coccidia burden has been identified and treatment carried out then a post treatment WEC should to taken to confirm successful treatment.

Re-check the ration being fed and behaviour of the group around feeding. Is there adequate feed and water space? Is there any bullying? Growing cria require 0.03 MJ ME per gram weight-gain and 0.3g of crude protein per gram of weight-gain per day on top of maintenance. It can be a challenge to meet nutrition requirements and this is often limited by appetite (a 30kg cria will eat about 540g dry

Lissie Gercke

matter per day, a maximum of 30% of this can be hard feed). Forage analysis is recommended to confirm sufficient quality of conserved forage. Check component of the ration.

Lastly I always take a blood test during an ill thrift assessment to evaluate trace elements (copper, B12/cobalt, selenium), protein and energy levels. If these are all normal the blood can be used to run further tests if required (haematology, biochemistry, mycoplasma smear or PCR).

In summary – regular weigh-ins and parasite monitoring are key to picking up problems. Intervene quickly. Speak to your vet if the cause of ill-thrift is not obvious.

Lissie graduated from Bristol in 2012 and works for The Livestock Clinic in Surrey where she enjoys a lovely varied caseload of camelid work. She completed a certificate in camelid practice in 2023.

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Dr Ami


from Westpoint Farm Vets provides updates on the use of plasma in the treatment of crias.

Taking blood from a well behaved donor to process into plasma

Before we know it, unpacking season will be upon us. It’s definitely a good time to consider whether banking some plasma ‘just in case’ is right for your herd.

Why might cria need plasma?

Antibodies (or immunoglobulins) are the building blocks of the immune system. Under normal circumstances, they are passed from the dam to the cria via colostrum. Camelid specific immunoglobulins will not be available from powdered replacements or supplements.

Taking on colostrum from (an ideally vaccinated) dam allows the cria to start mounting defences against disease challenges on your farm. If a cria doesn’t get enough colostrum or isn’t able to absorb antibodies from it (due to it being of poor quality or due to cria digestion issues) then it cannot respond to immune challenges effectively. Cria with failure of passive transfer of this immunity (FPT) are more likely to become unwell, or even septic.

Which cria need plasma?

A difficult birth, caesarean, premature birth or weight under 6kg may indicate that a cria needs extra support. Weight loss after the first 24 hours (during the first 24 hours is normal as they dry off), or failure to gain weight. Cria with poor suck reflexes, or those born (even at term) who appear a little dysmature or ‘dopey’ may also suffer from a lack of passive transfer of immunity. Incidentally, it may be worth asking your vet to demonstrate the ‘Madigan squeeze) on these cria – a gentle rope restraint to mimic contractions over 20 minutes can ‘reset’ and enliven many neonatal animals.

The ‘golden window’ of time where a cria is best able to absorb antibodies from colostrum is the first 6-8 hours of life. After this, the channels through which immunoglobulins are absorbed become smaller. It’s not impossible for them to absorb immunoglobulins later in that first 24 hours, but it is less efficient, so if cria are not noted to be drinking effectively within 6 hours, then plasma should be considered.

Alternative options

You may consider sourcing colostrum from local cattle, goat or sheep farms but it’s worth noting that if you plan to source colostrum from another farm, it carries an inherent disease risk – it is important that these flocks or herds are tested free from infectious diseases such as Johne’s. Commercial

Dr Ami Sawran

Ami is the clinical director of Westpoint Farm Vets in Chelmsford, catering to all farmed livestock species, and offering second opinion medicine from their Coalyard Clinic. She holds a certificate in camelid practice, a PhD in dairy cattle mobility and is enthusiastic about ensuring great standards of care for smallholdings. Ami is the first RCVS recognised Advanced Practitioner in Camelid Practice.

Alpaca SPRING 2024 22

(powdered) replacers are also available but vary in quality and are not camelid specific– it is worth a discussion with your vet as to what they recommend. It is important not to ‘tube’ a cria with colostrum or milk if it is unable to hold up its head. Cria in this state should have an immediate veterinary assessment, as intravenous therapy may be warranted.

Plasma delivery

Intravenous delivery of fresh, frozen plasma is a way of getting immunoglobulins into a cria’s circulation. Because plasma is administered directly into the blood stream, absorption of antibodies is not time-limited like oral delivery would be, and because it should be derived from animals within your herd, it gives a compromised cria the best chance of mounting defences against immune challenges it may encounter.

Those breeding cria should have their own supply of fresh frozen plasma, as plasma cannot be legally stockpiled and supplied by your vet or other breeders for general use. This requires forward planning, as plasma is taken from the herd of origin to ensure that it delivers antibodies to relevant on-farm disease challenges. Moreover, blood products should not be transferred between units due to potential disease transmission. In the case of ‘first generation’ cria from a dam purchased from elsewhere, you can, in a pinch, use plasma from the dam’s herd of origin.

Being able to deliver plasma to compromised cria relies on it having been collected prior to an emergent need for it, otherwise there may be delays in collecting and processing it – which unwell cria can ill afford.


Quite a bit of work goes in to preparing a bag of plasma; not all veterinary practices are able to process blood into plasma on the same day. A blood drive involves:

• Selecting calm, handleable, healthy, vaccinated donors (usually males, or good-sized open females)

• Ensuring safe, clean handling facilities, as they will have to sit still for about 15 minutes

• Having your donors assessed by the vet prior to donation

• Clipping and cleaning the area on their neck

• Placing a needle into the jugular vein

• Taking a unit (approximately 450ml) of blood, quietly and calmly

• Monitoring the donors for any adverse effects (such as bleeding, bruising, collapse or lethargy)

• Your vet will then either process it sterilely into plasma pouches or send it for processing, after which the pouches are frozen for you to keep on farm

The assessment and transfusion process

Cria’s needs are assessed on clinical signs and history in general, but you can determine the definite need for plasma transfusion with a blood test that measures specific immunoglobin (IgG) in the blood. Other tests are available, but results must be determined in the context of the case.

Once your vet has determined that plasma is required, a single bag should be gently defrosted in a body-temperature water bath. The volume needed depends on the cria’s weight, and some may not need a whole bag. The remains of defrosted bags should be discarded as they will no longer be sterile or suitable for refreezing. Plasma is generally delivered directly into the jugular vein. If a cria is too dehydrated to allow for this, initial hydration may occur before an infusion. Intraperitoneal infusion is not advisable in a colicky or already septic cria. It is less effective than intravenous administration but may be a last resort. Oral plasma administration is even less effective as it is poorly absorbed. Anti-inflammatories are likely to be administered alongside plasma treatment, and the cria monitored for any potential (but rare) reactions. Antibiotics may be given to counter any infection.

If you are interested in finding out more about blood drives for plasma donation, speak to your vet as soon as possible so that they can plan around you and perhaps other keepers in your area, giving your cria the best possible chance in case you need assistance.

Mother and baby after a difficult delivery – a cria to keep an eye on as they might require a plasma transfusion

Sometimes assisting your vet with emergencies means you hold the phone ready for their next one!

A struggling cria – note the floppy ears, suggesting prematurity. Recovered well after plasma

Taking blood to process into plasma

A cria receiving plasma


Tom and Wendy Scott of Dark Sky Alpacas offer a little bit of Dark Sky GenieTM magic.

Why care about alpaca colour genetic testing?

In the same way we aim to breed for uniformity, density and maximum fleece cut weight then wouldn’t it be great if we could better predict colour outcomes too? Alpacas have so many beautiful colours and, if we were able to harness that raw and natural beauty in all our products, we could help reduce the need for dying, which is generally highly pollutive. With environmental considerations so high on everyone’s agenda, surely there is an opportunity for alpaca fibre to come to the fore – beautifully soft, luxurious, and naturally coloured fibre products with no need for artificial additions.

At Dark Sky Alpacas we care passionately about our beautiful alpacas, Suri in particular, and strive to celebrate and promote their fleece by producing luxurious woven and knitted products. Our headline product is woven cloth in a bespoke Dark Sky tartan design which requires five different colour yarns (see

As we’re a small farm we must take a really considered approach to our breeding decisions, so we’re always looking for ways to help give us the best chance of success. The colour and quality of our cria is super

important to us because:

• we need all natural colours for our tartan – we don’t use any dye

• all our fleece colours need to be equally fine, uniform and lustrous –so important for the feel and sheen of the cloth

• and we love to look at that stunning variety of colours in our fields

Whatever your individual priorities are, understanding more about how base coat colour and pattern is controlled by genetics is a great advantage if you want to target certain colours or blends. It’s also particularly helpful on our quest to breed across the colours to bring more fineness and density, particularly to the darker fleeces.

So with that in mind, here’s a little about our journey and how we came to create The Dark Sky GenieTM – a tool which we hope will help any breeder who is interested in better predicting their breeding colour outcomes.

It was back in September 2020 when we joined our first virtual seminar on alpaca genetic colour testing, organised by the Australia Alpaca Association (AAA) titled ‘Alpaca genetic testing for colour’. We followed along as the presenter worked through her slides and heard, for the first time, references to terms such as ‘MC1R’, ‘ASIP’ and ‘KITLigand’. As a first introduction to alpaca colour genetics it was intriguing but rather daunting. (As an aside, I’m sure that for a while Tom was convinced the

Alpaca SPRING 2024 24

Australian presenter’s name was Kylie Minogue, rather than the brilliant Dr Kylie Munyard of Curtin University!)

At the time we had a mixed colour herd, including some grey alpacas. We quickly became hooked on the concept of understanding our breeding decisions better. However, we had to replay the seminar many times to really absorb the concepts, terms and potential implications and utility for our breeding programme. Prior to discovering this world of genetic research, we had trotted out various theories to our farm visitors about ‘the lightest colour always showing’ and ‘this male being good at throwing his colour’, without any real comprehension about why this may, or may not, be! So the promise of science and data was very alluring. Our good friends Ken and Liz at Artwork Alpacas had already cornered the market on ‘bringing art to the science of alpaca breeding’ so we wondered if there was a way we could help and ‘bring more science to the art of alpaca breeding’!

Since then, we have immersed ourselves in the latest developments with more seminars and research papers, followed others on the same journey in Facebook groups and had more and more discussions with our fellow breeders. We took the plunge to test our whole herd in March 2023 and added the 2023 cria in November – and we received our results with great excitement. Futuregen managed the testing process and, together

with Neogen®, provided reference tables and useful papers to help us understand and interpret the data.

So far so good. The problem was that when we tried to apply the results to our mating decisions it made our heads hurt!! With the advent of detailed genetic codes taking us beyond whether alpacas simply have big or little e’s and a’s and into the realms of mutated alleles i.e. your a1, a2, a3 and e1, e2, e3 ASIP and MC1R alleles respectively, there were simply too many permutations for mental arithmetic.

On our website we have posted an excellent article that highlights the current state of research into the genetic influencers on colour intensity. It reinforces the challenge that still exists to understand straight base colour probability and predictability and tries to account for the variations we see as breeders in the observed coat colour. The hypothesis is that the mutated ASIP alleles are at least part of the reason for variations in the intensity of colour shown i.e. ‘not all black ASIP alleles are equal’ but the sample sizes referenced in the article [number of alpacas observed] clearly aren’t large enough. There is an urgent need to gather as many reference photographs from colour tested alpacas as possible to support future research and this is something we would very much like to contribute to.

>> Continued on next page

EEa1a3 25% Ee1a1a3 25% EEa1a3 Ee1a1a3 Alpaca SPRING 2024 25
Detailed mating phenotype examples
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Cue, the Dark Sky GenieTM. The only positive side effect of all the rain we’ve been having (apparently the wettest year since 1872) is that indoor jobs have been more appealing and Tom has taken to his computer, inspired to create a programme that would allow us to apply all the rich data we have in a really practical and useful way.

Dark Sky Genie™

A brilliantly simple way to get the most from your alpaca colour test results:

• Automatically deciphers NEOGEN results (old and new formats)

• Produces detailed allele codes e.g. Ee2a1a3

• Calculates all your breeding colour probabilities

• Includes a true black probability calculation

• Provides real reference photographs

The first challenge was to take different generations of the NEOGEN® report data and translate them into the genotype codes with the detailed alleles identified e.g. Ee2a1a3. Even in the eight months between our initial herd test and the subsequent 2023 cria testing, the NEOGEN® reports had moved on, so we needed to get them into a common language.

The next step was to crunch both the basic and detailed codes into a set of probable mating outcomes – combining the sire and damn genotypes and applying a 50:50 inheritance probability to each pair of MC1R and ASIP alleles in order to identify the allele combinations that the cria could inherit. For some mating pairs this results in a tight set of options, whilst, for others there can be quite a range.

In all our herds we can observe alpacas with seemingly identical codes but different visual appearances and different intensity of colours. To help explain that phenomenon and based on the basic genotype codes, we translated current understanding into a visual tool which shows the range of different colours that are likely to be associated with a given outcome.

At the black end of the colour spectrum, the Dark Sky Genie also calculates the probability of any given cria being a True Black alpaca. This proves very interesting when you put different combinations of males and females together; in our herd there were a couple of real surprises. If you watch the tutorial video on our website, you can see the example play out for our beautiful brown girl Dark Sky Crème De Cacoa.

For the True Black Probability calculation The Genie relies on the observed outcomes from a study conducted in the USA. They observed “181 animals that had “aa” ASIP base coat color [sic] genotypes and carried either zero or one Mc1R gene dilution mutations. That is the animal’s base coat colour [sic] genotypes were summarized as either EE aa or Ee aa, both of which can result in a black animal.”

Currently The Genie assumes that there isn’t a difference in black probability associated with a single non-functional mutation in MC1R as there hasn’t been any conclusive and statistically significant data to date to suggest otherwise. However, the US Study acknowledged that they believe

there is a high chance that a single little ‘e’ does reduce the odds of an alpaca having a true black base coat colour. So, this is one area we’ll keep a close eye on and will update the calculation as required.

One of the most exciting elements of the Dark Sky GenieTM is the photo library. It displays pictures of alpacas with matching detailed genetic colour codes as those calculated in the possible mating outcomes. This gives the breeder the opportunity to visualise what the resultant cria might look like i.e. its colour phenotype. A really important part of The Dark Sky GenieTM is the continual build-up of this library as new users join and through any annual additions particularly around cria birthing seasons. The Genie’s photo library is a win win in that not only does it give each breeder a really insightful representation of their results, but it will allow us to pass the data to Dr Munyard et al to help shape and further the academic analysis and throw ever more clarity on the subject.

We really do hope that the Dark Sky GenieTM delivers immediate value to all the breeders out there who have already invested in colour genetic testing and that it might inspire more people to get their alpacas tested too. We don’t know yet how the science will develop but our aim is to keep the model up to date and share enhancements with all users as part of their licence fee.

Together with all The Genie users, we hope to be able to build an ever more informative set of photographs matched to genetic codes that not only helps us as breeders now, but also helps to deepen the understanding of colour genetics in alpacas over time.

How to get The Dark Sky GenieTM

The Dark Sky Genie is available to buy in a variety of ways – either to run on your own computer and use across your herd, or on a ‘pay as you go’ basis if you’d just like to receive a probability report on certain mating combinations. A free demo copy is available along with a video tutorial so you can ‘try before you buy’ and we hope you find it brilliantly easy to use.

Whereas The Genie cannot guarantee your breeding outcomes we can guarantee that you’ll have hours of fun working through all your possible combinations before choosing the ones that will give you the best possible chance of success – after all the creation of a cria can be both an expensive decision where outside matings are involved and from a welfare perspective as the alpaca may live for over 20 years.

Download your copy

Please visit our website for all the detailed information and to buy and download your own copy.


Alpaca SPRING 2024 26
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you ever seen an alpaca on a treadmill? Joe

Irwin has and he sent us this report.

Everybody tells themselves in the new year they’ll eat healthy, go to the gym, keep on top of their fitness; many promises resulting in various levels of success. Have you ever wondered if animals do the same? Some of you may say “of course not, they don’t have a concept of a new year”. Others might say “definitely not, my animals’ only promises are to eat and eat and eat some more.”

Well this new year we’ve tried something new: an alpaca, on a treadmill! Don’t worry though, this is not as cruelly humanising as it seems.

This is Coco, one of the fluffiest-eared boys in our herd. We noticed a few years ago that Coco would flick his feet out when he walked, and lift his front legs one at a time when grazing, an obvious sign of discomfort. Many vet consultations and a visit to our local veterinary hospital later, we now know that the issue lies with an overextended ligament in his front leg.

After some enquiries, we managed to get in contact with Vicky, of Rookery Equine rehabilitation clinic in Cheshire, who offer a wide variety of treatments to wayward equine limbs.

Alpaca SPRING 2024 28
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This brings us to our topic point, why is Coco on a treadmill? Our boy was provided with a compression bandage to keep his leg in shape, and sessions began with the use of a new form of electrotherapy called Limfa; which utilises differing wavelengths of electromagnetic force applied to the leg to promote connective tissue repair in a novel manner, for around 80 minutes, for which Coco was very well behaved and still (although quite chatty).

After this we moved Coco onto a large equine hydrotherapy treadmill, and walked him for around 10 minutes. Due to his hind legs being unaffected, no water was added. After an initial confusion, Coco seemed to enjoy the treadmill walks, plodding along with purpose. Initially Fergus, Coco’s emotional support and friend, was included on the treadmill, and they made quite a marching pair! However due to lots of leaning and wonky walking alignment, we are now trying Coco on his own. And we must say he is doing a fantastic job!

At the time of writing this we are halfway through treatment (that’s four sessions out of 10) and I am happy to tell you that his prognosis is looking positive! Prior to our veterinary intervention his front legs were dramatically knocked, and his back had a notable incline toward his anterior. When he walked his shoulder would remain quite still and the bulk of his movement was carried on his lower legs, which flicked out without much deliberate motion.

As of now, he stands taller, with a much flatter back and straighter legs. Most promisingly, since his treadmill training he had begun to engage his shoulder with much greater effort, resulting in a much healthier gait.

According to Vicky and vet physio Meg from Rookery Equine, walking



on a hard surface with some speed will not only force a more natural walking motion, as he has little time to dramatise his movement with flicks, but will strengthen the ligament and muscles in his leg. Although this is the main idea of the treatment, the electrotherapy massively helps this process along by promoting regeneration on a cellular level, and without the treadmill, well we know how difficult it is to get an alpaca to walk when they aren’t in the mood, and with the required haste this becomes very difficult.

Joe Irwin

My name is Joe. My Mum and I got involved with alpacas in about 2017 with a view to do treks, breed, show, and sell. However, as more and more people came to the farm to walk and volunteer, we saw the positive impact working and being around alpacas had on people of all types and creeds. Soon we decided we had more to offer than simple volunteering. We decided to utilise our alpacas to promote our strong belief in our communities' rights to green spaces and interaction with animals, and promote the mental health benefits gained from such experiences.

Although starting slow during lockdown, we've since been making gains and aspire to be able to offer alternative forms of experience for anybody with special interests and abilities for whom the educational system does not cater.

Protecting against adverse weather

Ventilation: Provide good air flow


Shelter against summer heat and flies


Water drinkers, troughs and deep bedding can all be added

Husbandry: A great place to complete feet-trimming, vitamin drenches or as a quarantine area


Practical and attractive


Various options and sizes available. Please visit our website for more details.

Being an Alpaca breeder the welfare of our animals is paramount so the pods are designed and manufactured by ourselves taking this into account. We designed the Alpaca pods for our own herd and are now pleased to offer these for sale.

UK Design Numbers 6031339, 6031340, 6031342

Alpaca SPRING 2024 29 07791 881556 Sandhills Alpacas, Sandhills Farm Cottage, Ness Lane, Tockwith YO26 7QL



Jailbreaker – BAS National Alpaca Show 2024

Reserve Champion Fawn Male

At the BAS National Show this year Acton Alpaca had success that represented a dream come true. It has taken seven years to go, from starting to breed alpacas to breeding the best two Fawn males at the largest alpaca show of the year. After seeing Constantine win Supreme Champion at the 2017 BAS National Show, the vision was born to one day breed the National Champion Fawn Male. Stuart Wilson says that somehow they managed to convince Jenny and Graham MacHarg of Fowberry Alpacas of our dream and they entrusted us with their pride and joy, Constantine.

He continued: “Over the years they have also shared their knowledge with us but it was a long road ahead of us. Barbara Hetherington of Beck Brow Alpacas has always freely offered lots of advice over the years but in 2019 she recommended we purchase Tinkerbell but our friends at Pottery Alpacas, Mark and Amanda Egan, snapped her up first. Ron Mackintosh of Redens Alpacas recommended we secure a few more elite females for Constantine. So in 2022 we approached Mark and Amanda Egan of Pottery Alpacas to hope we could get them to release their best females, which when we explained what we wanted to do, they did and one of those was Tinkerbell.

"We are so proud of Flash Forward winning the National Fawn Champion Male but fortunately Ken Freivokh of Artwork Alpacas was in the Supreme line up next to us with his Champion Fawn Female and he offered plenty of encouragement”.

– BAS National Alpaca Show 2024 Champion Fawn Male

Stuart wants to say “thank you” to everyone who has helped along the way and for the friends they have made. The goal has now been achieved so they have to set themselves some new ones!

How soil or grass testing and supplements work together

Liz Wright meets a breeder whose herd observations led him to soil test and seek advice from a specialist nutritionist.

Acton Hill Alpacas have enjoyed considerable success since they began, reaching the highest accolade at the BAS National Show 2024. But last year they identified some issues including a cria that was devastatingly low in selenium and that took them on a learning curve for a whole solution that took in grassland and supplementation. Low selenium tends to show itself in a sub clinical way, with a drop in fertility being one of the major signs. The other way that was noticed by Acton Hill, is in cria, where they had one who was not thriving. ‘White muscle’ disease is well documented in sheep, and is caused by low selenium affecting the development of muscles. A Google search will show you some examples of it in cria and it’s mentioned in leading alpaca veterinary manuals. It’s also known as nutritional muscular dystrophy, and colloquially as ‘stiff lamb disease’ which is a description of how it shows itself. The lamb finds it hard to stand and as a result, cannot feed.

>> Continued on next page

Alpaca SPRING 2024 30
is Holding Acton Hill Stuart is Holding Acton Hill Flash Forward
Feed as nature intended A range of high quality, British-grown, natural forage feeds - palatable and nutritious. For all your grazing animal and equine needs.

It is the same for cria and not picking up this or not treating it would be devastating.

Stuart Wilson of Acton Hill said: “We keep a close eye on all crias not only at birth but over their development, so we picked this up quickly and immediately took advice. After getting the blood test and treating the cria, we had to act without delay to protect the whole herd”.

Stuart searched for soil testing online and found someone who could do the soil tests very quickly. He said this was a straightforward exercise.

"There were a number of companies and advisers offering soil testing. I chose one local to me. They were excellent and sent a diagram on exactly how to take the samples which made it easy for us to get a good cross sample.

"The results came back and as we had thought, the soil was low in selenium." What to do next?

Stuart called GWF feeds and spoke to Wesley Habershon, a nutritionist at the company. Stuart said: “ Wesley helped us enormously as he absolutely understood the results of the soil testing and could advise on that too. Wesley is a part of the Feed Advisors List (FAR1061) part of the Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) which practices the safe composition of diets. He suggested that we had a ration aimed at correcting the lack of selenium, zinc and sulphur and meanwhile we also started a process of selecting fertiliser to improve the sulphur which was also low in the soil. Wesley is not FACTS registered so would recommend for fertiliser applications to speak to a trained FACTS agronomist, but he did highlight that the low levels of sulphur would have wider reaching impacts on both grass growth and potentially camelid fleece due to the shortfall in methionine caused as a result of lower sulphur levels in grass.

Selenium is not commonly applied to land via fertilisers and oversupply to a camelid and the environment is a concern, he suggested feed application here would be more sensible and chose more protected selenium which means it reaches the desired location in the camelid without interference. We have to consider the risk factors to camelids, other species and the environment. There is a fine balance between deficiency and toxicity, correct nutrition is about “correct balance”.

It was very much a two prong approach which plans for the future as well as solving the immediate issue. This has been a very cost effective solution that has been made so much easier by having good advice from

professionals. I’d recommend everyone to test their soil/grass especially if their observations of the herd health throw up some questions. I am so glad we took this action”.

A whole approach to nutrition

When I caught up with Wesley Habershon of GWF feeds, I was hit with his huge wealth of knowledge. As the son of a dairy farmer, he had grown up with the concept of optimum nutrition and he has spent time researching the needs of alpacas.

He is proud with their range of Camelibra, their feed ration for camelids and using this as the base line he offered to make a ration tailored to the soil results. I was surprised that the minimum for a specially formulated feed is as low as half a tonne, 25 x 20kg bags.

“The variables for quality grass growth,” said Wesley, “are water, temperature, rainfall, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur, sunlight and soil temperature”.

He told me that alpacas are up to 20% more efficient than a ruminant and extract glucose from amino acid. (Alpacas and llamas are modified ruminants, as they lack the fourth forestomach compartment of true ruminants. As part of the subspecies of camelids, they still regurgitate food, chew the cud, have an even number of toes, and are considered “pseudo ruminants” rather than “true” ruminants).

There are so many factors to take into account when making decisions on nutrition that it is reassuring to have someone this knowledgeable to help you. As we all know, the alpaca is unique and every year brings new ideas and research on aspects of health and welfare.

Wesley also stressed the importance of the company looking at their Carbon Footprint and future sustainability as well as providing the best possible nutrition for livestock. There is a need to reduce copper feeding in the UK for example and to conform with UK legislation which he feels is very important for the safe use of feed material/minerals.

In researching this article, I realised there is so much we can take from this – from the constant observation of the alpacas, to the need to know your soil and grassland and searching for expert advice to use as part of a whole herd programme. I found this inspirational and a very optimistic way forward for good health.



The new Apprentice Alpaca Shearing Scheme is off to a good start. Alpaca magazine spoke to Colin Ottery, the well-known alpaca shearer and lead tutor for the course.

The BAS announced a pilot scheme to train more shearers. Their aim was to recruit and train people who already have some shearing experience with alpacas, sheep or goats. The course covers alpaca techniques, the equipment needed and how to make the most of the alpaca fibre.

Colin said: "Understanding how the quality of shear affects the value of the fleece is very important. You need to see the whole picture."

Clearly this was of great interest to readers and the course is well supported and will be run at Snowshill Alpacas on the 8-9 May this year.

Lister Shearing as well as BAS are sponsoring the initiative. Interestingly, the difference between shearing equipment for alpacas and sheep is that sheep use a drop motor (overhead) where for alpacas it is in the hand piece and of course, the combs are different. Learning about the hand piece will be at the start of the course.

There are obviously many differences between sheep and alpaca but both emphasise the importance of good presentation of the animal before shearing and care of the fleece after shearing.

Colin believes that alpaca owners need to be aware that they need to be ‘ready to go’ on shearing days, with dry animals really helping the day go well. The fleeces should be free of debris as far as possible and the area where the shearing takes place should be clean.

Organisation before shearing is essential as the alpacas need to be presented quickly after each other – so think about how this will happen. Colin makes a special plea for owners not to get in the way of the shearers!

The fleece preparation area also needs to be clean and dry with facilities for skirting and noodling (if practiced) and separate clean bags and labels.

And definitely book a shearer well in advance – you’ll find a list of shearers on the BAS website plus further advice:

After the course, Colin hopes there will be some more names on the list.

Learn more about sheep shearing

British Wool courses are recognised across the world and tailored to individual levels of ability – from an absolute beginner (Blue Seal) to an advanced stage (Gold Seal). Course content is designed to achieve several individual objectives – from shearing your flock more efficiently and effectively, building foundations for career entry opportunities, and supporting entry at global competitions of the highest standards.

British Wool has Machine shearing and Wool handling courses to suit all classes of trainees but anyone wanting an Advanced machine shearing course should contact Emma Jagger or Richard Schofield by emailing to obtain a booking on code.

One-day Machine and Blade shearing on-farm training courses are also available ranging from those having no experience to professional shearers travelling the world.

To book a course please visit:

Alpaca SPRING 2024 33
Bozedown sheared alpacas with Hawthorn in bloom


Dr Duncan Pullar, BAS CEO, looks at how to work with your greatest asset for your alpacas.

cut or grazed

Residual stubble height.

Ideal 4cm

The first thing to say is that there is a huge amount of really good science relating to grass as a feed. This science covers growing the grass and the best way to utilize the grass with grazing animals.

The second thing to say is that grass rarely gets the respect it deserves. It is often under-utilised and wasted. Well-managed grass will be the cheapest and most cost-effective feed you can have on the farm.

How does grass grow?

The grasses we use in the UK have been developed for grazing. The growing point is at ground level which is why when it has been grazed, or cut, it grows back quickly. Most grasses only ever have three live leaves on each plant or tiller. When the fourth leaf appears the first one dies back.

Ideal time to graze for maximum yield and maximum quality

new leaf

Leaf 1 is dying back

From a grazing point of view this means the optimum time to graze is when 2.5 to 3 leaves are out.

The speed of growth varies through the year. In late spring three leaves can grow in 14 days, in mid-winter one leaf could take 30 days. The variables are temperature, day-length, moisture, and nutrient availability. The peak growth rate (typically in May) is about ten times as much mid-winter. If the soil temperature stays below 5°C for several days grass growth will stop. For clover, the crucial soil temperature is 8°C. Hence clover stops growing earlier in the Autumn and starts later in the Spring than grass.

What you can do to help your grass

To get the most from your grass you will want to optimize output and utilisation and ensure longevity of the sward. In practice this means

Week 1

Week 4

Week 2

Week 3 Set stocked area "Spare" area – grazed if needed or harvest as hay

1 1 1 4 1 1 2 2 2 3 3 Alpaca SPRING 2024 34
Rotational grazing Set stocking
First new leaf Second new leaf Third new leaf Fourth

grazing the grass when it gets to two to three leaves which is often when the height of the grass is 8cm to 12 cm. It is important not to graze too low so that the grass recovers quickly by keeping reserves in the plant to start re-growth, so removing alpacas when the grass is grazed to 4cm is ideal. Grazing too tightly will also lead to bare patches appearing because the growing points get damaged and inhibit tillering.

There are two basic approaches to grazing management which is “set stocking” and “rotational grazing.” Set stocking is where the number of alpacas, or the area used for grazing is varied to try and keep the average sward height at 6cm-8cm. Spare grass can be cut for hay in times of high growth and supplementary feed offered in periods of low growth.

Rotational grazing is where alpacas are turned into a field at 12cm sward height, and they graze it down to 4cm over a few days or a week before being moved on to the next paddock. During high growth one rotation may take three weeks and use just three paddocks but during slower growth periods more paddocks are needed, and it may be six weeks before alpacas get back to the starting paddock. Rotational grazing also has benefits for parasite control.

Vegetative growth

Grass has its highest nutritional value when it is growing vegetatively (i.e., no seed head formed). If grass develops seed heads the energy and protein value start to decline quickly. If the grazing management goes well no seedheads will develop. If they do it is a sign that grazing pressure was too low. Topping areas that have gone to seed will help re-establish vegetative growth.

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The Skin Imprint fibre evaluation method continues to move forward offering even more information at a surprisingly affordable price. The test not only gives a numerical score for density, but has been further developed to show primary and secondary micron, and quantify the difference between the two.

Caroline Baraugh of Sheriff Alpacas and Kim Murray of Capital Alpaca have teamed up to bring this testing method from a concept to a readily available service. Both Caroline and Kim have completed all five stages of the BAS Alpaca Assessment and Judge Training programmes as well as hundreds of hours of in-depth research when developing the Skin Imprint method.

If you were at the British Alpaca Society National Show this year, you will have seen the striking boards explaining why you should consider using Skin Imprint. With summer just around the corner, now is a great time to evaluate your herd and help to plan your breeding decisions. Testing will help to see the way forward in your breeding programme and mark where you are now.

Each competitively priced test includes a test kit and results report that last a lifetime, so there is no need to retest alpacas in consecutive years. Being non-invasive, the test relies on hair removal cream and silicone putty to make a mould, which is then returned to Skin Imprint. There, a resin casting is made and sampled. A comprehensive report of the results and returned to the customer.

Caroline and Kim are confident that owners will find invaluable information for each alpaca in their comprehensive test report. Of course, they are happy to discuss individual needs and test results if required.

Caroline believes this is a very accessible system of fleece evaluation with full inclusivity and looks forward to a future where the UK will be able to build up a better picture of its fleece quality. Kim hopes to see the test help breeders improve their herd in fewer generations by giving the ability to balance traits like density and uniformity of micron more accurately when making breeding decisions.

Are you interested in improving your breeding programme and increasing the quality of your alpaca herd?

What is Skin-Imprint?

As an alternative to skin biopsy, Skin Imprint provides details regarding an alpaca fleece quality while being non-invasive.

What is measured?

Skin imprint measures the most challenging traits to quantify in alpacas namely density and uniformity of micron, especially when referring to primary fibres.

Follicular density

With Skin Imprint, you can easily see how your alpacas rank in density as our test provides both a FD (follicular density) score to show how many fibres there are per square millimeter and a S:P ratio to indicate how many secondary fibres there are per every one primary fibre. The higher these numbers are, the denser the animal is.

Micron and uniformity

There are many indicators to uniformity of micron that are commonly used in the fibre industry such as noting the SD (standard deviation) in the micron of a fleece, noting the quantity of fibres there are over 30 micron and examining the CEM (coarse edge micron), which is an indicator the micron difference between the average and the finest extremity of the coarsest 5% of fibres. The Skin Imprint test provides results for SD and quantity of fibres both over 30 and over 40 micron in the sample but it does not provide a CEM score. Instead, because it can distinguish the primary from the secondary fibres, the test provides a P-S difference to reveal and quantify increase in micron between the primary and secondary fibres.

A larger P-S score would indicate a greater rise in micron between the secondary and the primary fibres, and thus a coarser primary fibre, whilst a lower score would indicate the difference between the two is smaller, meaning the fleece is more uniform in micron. This information will be invaluable for breeders in wishing to improve their herd's density, achieve better uniformity of micron, and push the boundaries of quality.

Alpaca SPRING 2024 36




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humane, high welfare innovative new method to count follicular density by imprinting the skin surface allowing us to count the fibres, measure micron, and distinguish primary fibres from secondary fibres.
Imprint is a new, revolutionary data collection method. A kit is provided to breeders to apply themselves. Skin Imprint is humane and requires no veterinary assistance. Find out more PARASITE CONTROL MANAGEMENT FOR ALL GRAZING ANIMALS An independent testing service for faecal egg worm counts by a Qualified Medical
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testing We have a large selection of potential Stud Males, Pet Males and Breeding Females available in a variety of colours. Stud Services – we have several proven/championship winning Huacaya and Suri boys to choose from. Pre-arranged visits are very welcome. We adhere to good biosecurity practices and badger deterrent fencing has been in place since 2009.
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Contact Roger Mount on 01386 853 841 or 07711044106 Email:


Liz Wright meets Emma Taylor for a master class on processing.

Fresh from my Introduction to Fibre Assessment Course led by Mary Jo Smith of Bozedown Alpacas, I was keen to see how an Alpaca only, fibre mill processed the fleeces. East Anglia Alpaca Mill is very easy to find as its just off the A47 near Norwich and as I pulled into the well maintained yard, I was hoping I knew enough to understand what I was about to see. Emma Taylor, who is on the Board for the British Alpaca Society with a special responsibility for Fibre, greeted me warmly. Emma is, as you would expect, passionate about fibre and fleece quality.

“This is what I am about, it’s what my entire herd is about” she told me. She explained that fibre producing animals whether they are sheep or alpacas, all need shearing and this will require the cost of a shearer. So whether you are breeding for show ring, therapy or even for companion/ pet alpacas, you owe it to them when breeding, that they should have the best fleece quality you can achieve. Your breeding programme must work towards that.

With that in mind Chris and Emma have created a small (and thriving) business, to ensure that anyone who owns alpacas (or indeed buys a

fleece and finds it challenging to spin), can access high quality commercial processing. The mill caters for Huacaya and Suri, of all colours and can process a single fleece if required. Each client can expect their fleeces to be processed separately from the next so everything that is returned is completely from your alpaca – 100% provenance – and comes with a processing sheet so you can understand where any fibre loss comes from – management of the fleece at time of shearing is vitally important. Time spent planning and ensuring fleeces are properly skirted, labelled and stored will save you money in processing as you will have better products and less waste. Emma is very happy for clients to phone before the shearing, for advice on presentation to produce the optimum outcome.

She said: “We are very proud that we have an increasing number of clients in our below 1% club in weight loss!”

Although Chris and Emma do not come from a textile background, it was the thought of what she would do with the imaginary fleeces that she would produce (after a day’s husbandry course) that prompted her to think of the options. With no viable options Chris said: “We’ll do it ourselves, we’ll build a mill. Fortunately, Chris has always been knowledgeable where

Alpaca SPRING 2024 38
The fleece is marked for its journey throughout the mill

machinery is concerned. It was a very steep learning curve but they did have the opportunity to hand pick/build all of their equipment from leading manufacturers and have it rebuilt and reconfigured specifically for running alpaca fibre. As time goes on, new machine processes are added to speed up the labour intensive process – they estimate they handle each fleece no less than 100 times during processing. They automated the scouring system and now have a new plyer as well but there are no plans to offer dyeing. Emma considers that fleece comes in a range of beautiful natural colours and they do not use any harsh chemicals within their system, to keep the natural lustre of a quality alpaca fleece.

Where does the process begin?

It’s true to say it begins with the breeding and then with the shearing and preparation of fleeces! But for the fibre mill it begins with sending the fleeces to the mill, ideally noodled and/or in vacuum packed bags.

On arrival the fibre is inspected and if it has not been sufficiently skirted that will be done and it will be prepared for tumbling. Emma believes crimp is an important indicator for breeders but has no value for commercial processors.

The fleece will be ticketed to ensure 100% provenance and is weighed at every stage so that any weight losses can be tracked. The first process is the tumbling. This will get rid of the dust and some second cuts if they have been missed in skirting.

After this comes the scouring process. The machine was specially designed by Chris and Emma and was built locally as was the dryer where every fleece is washed and dried individually. As mentioned before, throughout the process the fleece is weighed and recorded.

The picker then opens up the fibre and it is then carded. This process has come a long way since teasels were first used to comb raw wool years ago but the idea remains the same, to produce a sliver by creating an ordered fibre that can be spun. These go for gilling which continues to fully align the fibres so they are parallel to one another.

Emma commented: “Every fleece will talk to you if you just look and listen, so that every process can be adjusted to suit the individual”.

Now ready for the spinner, where the fully prepared fibre will be spun into singles. The spinner is magical as the fibre emerges as recognisable yarn, but it’s not finished yet. It is then plyed and this is where the conversation with the Mill before processing is so important. The client needs to be clear what they are expecting from their yarn, what purpose they have in mind for it, so that the decisions on plying can be made – although the quality of the fleece itself will play some part in this. At this stage the fleece ‘relaxes’ before it is then finished in either cones, wound to balls or skeins – again something that needs to be decided in advance. There is also a felt loom available.

Emma is happy to help clients with ideas and run test batches. She says that all alpacas produce a useable fibre that could have a purpose so don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and have a discussion. She advised though, that alpaca owners do as much research as possible and evaluate the fleeces of their herd. There are several technical ways they can do this – but taking the Introduction to Fibre Course will give them a very good basic understanding of what to aim for in a fleece and fibre testing ahead of shearing will save time.

“Don’t have barn blindness,” she urged – which is when you only see the best in your herd.

She also offers courses, so contact her for details, where you can go round the mill and understand the process and how your management will help your fleece to be the very best that it can be. She points out that BAS offer a Fibre Mark. You have to be a BAS member to use it and of course, the fleece has to be British.

Still reeling from the immaculate machines and fascinating processes, the beauty of the finished product and the feel of the fibre, I’m taken to meet the herd – where the process all begins. Her herd are confident and inquisitive, a pleasure to meet, as was Emma and Chris who have made a big difference to the world of UK fibre and continue to do so.

>> Continued on next page

Vacuum bags can be obtained from the mill After scouring with the labels recording the weight at ever stage The tumbling process After tumbling

BAS believes in sustainable British alpaca, their fibre and products in our world

The clothing and textile world has more recently become one of chain store, cheap and imported garments often made in third world countries where the workers are underpaid and work in appalling conditions.

The British Alpaca Society would like to change the way we think of our fibre and clothing, where it is sourced from and how to reduce the carbon footprint.

Alpaca is one of the worlds natural fibres and importantly, is sustainable. Natural undyed alpaca could help to change the way people view what they wear and help the environment too.

Alpaca feels good, looks good, is sustainable and eco-friendly too

Rarely have we considered where raw materials are sourced from. Most manufacturing labels that claim ‘made in Britain’ are actually only finished in the UK. Any imported item (food, machinery and fibre etc) which undergoes a process in the UK can legally be marked ‘made in Britain’. This not only devalues the UK products and produce but means our economy does not benefit fully and our farmers (owners of alpacas) are challenged even more in the marketplace. This is about buy British and ‘buy/sell/made in Britain’ from alpaca reared, fibre grown, harvested and produced in Britain. Provenance is starting to become more of a consideration to customers/buyers of products and we too can be a part of a changing world.

Many owners of herds of alpacas, might consider them as pets or commercial or somewhere undefined in between, but all animals can, should and must contribute to the UK fibre market. No one can do this alone but maybe as a group dedicated to alpacas, we can try to make a difference. Everything has to start somewhere and with consumers being more aware even the small-scale producer can participate and make a difference by expressing the benefits of home-grown alpaca fibre.

We can offer guidelines to ensure the welfare of alpacas, that fibre is harvested in a respectful and caring manner and that all herds have access to information to be able to provide all five freedoms in life:

• Freedom from hunger and thirst.

• Freedom from discomfort

• Freedom from pain, injury or disease

• Freedom to express normal behaviour

• Freedom from fear and distress

We know that if we make good breeding choices, pay attention to husbandry and nutrition that our alpacas ‘live well’. In doing so they will produce good quality, usable fibre. Happy alpacas mean good fibre, good fibre means good yarn and products which in turn translates into good revenue.

Alpacas originate from Peru, Bolivia and Chile where their fibre was so prized that only royalty was permitted to wear such beautiful garments. Alpacas manage the extremes of temperature in South America well. Today we have to offer a helping hand in our unpredictable British weather. We are fortunate that our climate is well suited to alpacas as long as keepers understand the fundamentals of managing them in our climes.

So, lets extol the virtues of British alpaca, their fibre and products – British alpaca feels good, looks good, is sustainable and eco-friendly too.

For more information check out the fibre section on the BAS website: paper-plane

For more information and to find a video showing all the processes as described: paper-plane

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We’re 4 miles north of Ellesmere

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Claire Boley gives a guide to getting started with your fleeces.

There are two types of alpaca fibre both suitable for hand spinning into a yarn for weaving, knitting or crocheting.

Huacaya fibre is very soft, normally with a short dense 7-10cm (3-4 inches) staple (lock). This is normally spun into a woollen yarn using the long draw technique from short staple fibres which need to be carded by using hand carders, drum carder or a carding board and made into rolags before hand spinning takes place. I recommend that the alpaca fibre is blended with sheep’s wool 50/50, similar in length to the Huacaya alpaca fibre as this will help with the elasticity of the yarn especially if being used for hand knitting or crocheting.

The silky Suri

The Suri alpaca has a silky and lustrous pencil fibre that hangs down in dreadlocks giving this alpaca an entirely different look from the Huacaya. These staples are over 20cm (8 inches) long from root to tip and need to be teased out by hand or with a dog comb before being spun into a worsted type yarn. When being spun the fibres should be aligned in the direction of the yarn with the tips of the locks facing the orifice of the spinning wheel

then spun using a short drafting action which is different from spinning the woollen yarn.

A woollen yarn is warmer than a worsted type due to the air being trapped between the fibres while carding. It will be noticed that both the carded alpaca and wool go round and around when spun from a rolag, instead of in a parallel line as they do when spun into a worsted type yarn from a combed lock. There are a few ways of spinning alpaca fibre but I usually spin it 50/50 one bobbin wool the other alpaca then I ply them into a 2 ply yarn unless I am spinning a fancy yarn then I use 100% wool and add tiny amounts of Huacaya alpaca by alternating different shades over the top every 7cm (3 inches) while plying and making a slub yarn.

Getting a ‘tweed’ effect

Some spinners like the colours from the alpaca or sheep to be separated out by filling one bobbin with one colour and the other with another and once the two single yarns are spun and plied together the yarn has a tweed effect. It is the spinners choice which colours to use but it must be remembered that the staples on all the fibres you are spinning for one particular garment should be the same length.

Alpaca SPRING 2024 42
Black Suri alpaca fibre with Blue faced Leicester wool fleece A Sleeping Beauty, double band spinning wheel

Claire Boley

I have enjoyed many years of hand spinning different fibres, designing my own knitwear, holding workshops and solo exhibitions across the south West of England and have been a full member of the Somerset Guild of Craftsmen.

I am the author of Hand Spinning with Claire Boley, Natural Dyeing for Wool Spinners and knitting Patterns for the Hand Spinner. All these can be purchased from Amazon for your kindle or as a booklet.

Alpaca fibres are very different from a sheep’s fleece

1. They do not have any crimp so will not stretch and spring back like wool after washing. When the staple of a wool fleece is put in water it has a long range reversible elasticity which means the wool will stretch 100% ie a 7cm (3 inches) wool staple will stretch to 14cm (6 inches) in water, when it has dried it will return to its original length of 7cm (3 inches).

2. The alpaca fibres do not need to be scoured (washed) before being spun as they do not have the same amount of lanolin as a wool fleece so can be spun raw but they may contain a lot of dust and vegetable matter –I suggest you wear a mask when spinning it into a yarn.

Alpaca SPRING 2024 43
Huacaya Alpaca fibre with wool fleece added on a hand carder waiting to be made into a rolag
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This pattern was the Exhibitor’s Challenge from the Fibre Zone at this year’s BAS National Show. The class was open to all alpaca exhibitors and is delightfully simple to make. We thought all members would like to have a go so we are sharing the pattern.

Materials required – all easy to source

• Wooden ring

• Wooden nose bead

• Cotton balls

• Cardboard tube


Equipment required:

• Scraps of Alpaca Wool

• Sharp Scissors

• Ruler

• Glue

1. Cut 50 strands of 40cm wool for hat. Wrap around cardboard as shown, until the whole circle is covered. Be careful not to pull tight and rip the cardboard.

4. Place hat on ring to test fit then add a little glue to the ring to hold in place. Add a little spot to hold the nose in place.

Alpaca SPRING 2024 44 1a 2a 2b 3b 4 3a 1c 1d 1b
2. Cut 30 strands of 25cm wool for beard. Wrap strands around the hoop to cover half the ring. 3. Cut a long strand of hat wool and loop it through the nose bead. Feed the strand up through the hat.
Alpaca SPRING 2024 45 5 6 5. Hold the hat strands open and place a cotton ball to add plumpness to the hat. Wrap a strand of wool above the cotton ball and tie in place. 6. Trim the hat and beard. Great job – well done! Advertise in the ONLY magazine mailed direct to ALL members of the British Alpaca Society Book now for YEARBOOK 2025 �� 01732 448748 ✉ Alpaca British Alpaca Society quarterly magazine SUMMER 2023 Alpaca British Alpaca Society quarterly magazine AUTUMN/WINTER2023 The bre breed BritishAlpacaSociety Alpaca_#99.indd Alpaca British Alpaca Society quarterly magazine YEARBOOK 2024 bre breed BritishAlpacaSociety Alpaca_#100Yearbook.indd 12/01/2024 YARD &STABLE SPLIT THE COST OF A NEW MACHINE WITH PAYPAL CREDIT SUPPLIERS OF PADDOCK VACUUM CLEANERS • 07802 635768 WITH SPRING ROUND THE CORNER, WHY NOT CONSIDER THE ULTIMATE TOOL TO MAKE LIFE EASIER? Paddock cleaners don’t just keep paddocks clean, they are able to pick up a wide range of materials making them a great all round accessory for any landowner


Ingrid Weel, who is the photographer for the BAS Championship Show gives top tips from a professional to make your 2024 photos have that magic touch!

Ingrid Weel Photography

Ingrid Weel is based in Surrey and provides photography for weddings, families, businesses… and Alpacas!

Since entering the alpaca world through longtime friends, she has become more involved with these wonderful camelids and their loving owners as the years go on.

TOP TIP: If you need a close-up of your animal’s fleece and only have a mobile phone – the sun is your friend! Wait for a sunny day, make sure it’s in focus and fill the frame. paper-plane

From 2016-2020 I enjoyed my role as judge of the HoEAG Photography Competition. In early 2020 I wrote the first version of this blog advising how to create a competition winning shot.

It is not easy – these animals have minds of their own. If you are serious you will have to be patient and take time. Hang out with your animals, watch what they are doing and set yourself up to capture it.

Usually, my decision to shortlist one image over another was superior background and lighting. The most flattering light is in the morning and evening, and the best background doesn’t distract from the action. Position yourself so that the light and background is nice and wait for your animals to do their thing.

Food helps in coaxing the alpacas to where you want them to be. I learned this after pleading (verbally) with the animals to move while their owners fell about laughing…

Alpaca SPRING 2024 46

I often looked at an entry and wished that I had seen the previous or following frame – if it existed. Photograph the nicest moments in a burst (if available) then watch and wait for more opportunities – you may surprise yourself! Do not take one frame and call it a day, review them later and choose the best.

Get the whole animal in the frame! If in doubt, shoot wider and crop later. I despair at one missing foot. If you are shooting a head shot of your animal, make room in the frame for the ears. If you choose to crop them out, make it deliberate.

If you are capturing a close-up feature, composition and focus is critical. Review your image to make sure it’s not a blur of shiny fleece. Your focus and exposure should be set on the precise detail you want to show off. If that detail is the fleece, the sun is your friend.

When creating an abstract image, make sure that you balance your composition so the viewer will focus on the right part. If you are unsure, turn your image upside down. If a big patch of nothing draws your eye you need to crop that out as it distracts from what you want to show off.

Be certain to save the best quality image you can. The resolution should be 300dpi and a minimum of 1,000 pixels on the long edge. I hope this has inspired you to create photos of your animals – I look forward to seeing them!

Top tips

1. Make sure you have quality equipment. Quality is the greatest determining factor for a photo’s successful reproduction in print. There’s only so much editing you can do to improve a photo if the original is too small or out of focus. Smartphone cameras have come a long way, and most of them will provide adequate quality for print. For the best quality, photos from a DSLR camera are ideal.

2. Size does matter

Send those photos at their largest file size. If you are sending from a smartphone, be sure to send the original photo, not a screenshot, to ensure the best quality. The larger the file size, the better – even if the photo is going to run small on the page. As a guide, file size should be MB not KB. If your file is 63KB, it will never be suitable for print, make sure it's at least over 700KB but ideally over 1MB and for a cover shot over 3MB is perfect.

3. Format

To save problems, always send JPG. Not PNG. Do not embed within a Word document as this usually leads to downsizing, always attach to an email.

4. Try not to edit your photos, send the original. There’s nothing wrong with an edited photo, but always err on the side of caution. Using mobile phones to crop can reduce the file size when saved.

5. Don't share photos for print from social media. Your images have to be high resolution – 300dpi – to be able to be reproduced in print. Low resolution works for website use, but even if an image looks clear on a webpage or social media, that doesn’t mean it is necessarily suitable for print. Uploading to Facebook will reduce the quality and you will lose the original, so always keep the originals archived. Never rely on Facebook to archive your photos for later use. Keep your own gallery.

6. Always make sure your email is set to send at original size. Email will often automatically compress files for easier sending, so the best bet is to use a file sharing service such as Dropbox or Google Drive.


Alpacas are wonderfully versatile animals, they can be show winners but they can also be trekking or working with people, in a field or even in their native habitat. Let’s showcase their many activities and their beauty by using members’ photos to promote our passion.

We’re looking for 12 beautiful photos with a seasonal twist if possible so if you have marvelled at your alpacas in the snow, seen them bloom with the blossom or relax in the summer sun, reach for your camera and capture their mood. You have all summer to show us your finest photos. The images can be from this year or from previous years but they do need to be digital and sent by email.

If you need a bit more help with technical issues then do contact us but they can be taken on a phone as well as camera but need to be the sizes as specified in the article so just check your phone or camera settings. If you think your alpacas could catch the eye then send your photos to us by email: It’s free to enter and send as many as you like…


Alpacas for sale

A list of BAS members who are breeders and advertising their alpacas for sale


Lightfoot Alpacas are situated in Hawkhurst in the Weald of Kent. We have been breeding alpacas since 1997 and have over 250 Huacaya. Lightfoot is a closed herd, we believe that the bio security and health of our animals is paramount to their breeding and care. We have a range of colours and ages, mainly Huacaya and some Suris. Our animals are known for being friendly as we spend time with them and know them individually.

We provide after sales advice and back up services when we sell our animals. Whether you are looking to improve or expand your herd or just thinking of alpacas as pets, why not contact us to arrange a visit.

TEL: 07802 263589 WEB:



Based in North East Warwickshire we offer over 120 pedigree alpacas in all colours, ages and price ranges. We run a number of prizewinning stud males and offer on farm and mobile mating services. We are confident that our prize winning herd will live up to all your alpaca expectations. Shirley and I have been qualified BAS judges for a great number of years and have judged throughout the UK and Europe. We run regular alpaca husbandry workshops every month throughout the year. We have been breeding alpacas for 25 years and are dedicated to sharing our extensive experience to guide you towards realising your own alpaca aspiration whatever that maybe. Please ring to book.

TEL: Shirley 07970 626245 / Rob 07973 123008




The PennyBridge Herd and Stud. One of the first alpaca farms set up in the South of England, still producing show winners from champion stock. Good quality starter herds, proven and potential stud males, fancy grazers and sheep guards available.

‘Home of The Alpaca Experience’.

Situated in North Hampshire, close to the Surrey and Berkshire borders with good access to ports and airports, less than five minutes drive from both J5 and 6 of the M3.

TEL: 01256 764824 or 07801 132757




Faerie–Tale Alpacas is a small family run farm based in Kenilworth in Warwickshire J15 of M40. We focus on breeding sound, healthy, friendly, elite alpacas with gorgeous fleeces and top class genetics at very reasonable prices.

We know each alpaca and have most colours available from blue black to dazzling white. Whether you are new to alpacas or wish to expand your herd we have an alpaca to suit you! Prices to suit all budgets and with full after sales support given.

We offer: • Quality breeding stock • Starter herds • Stud services

• 2 hour alpaca experiences • Alpacas for weddings and events

• Luxury range of hand knitted alpaca garments and accessories using our own fleeces

TEL: 07950 671672 FACEBOOK: Faerie Tale Alpacas




Moralee is a family-run alpaca farm in West Sussex. We care for a herd of highquality Huacaya alpaca with award-winning genetics. Our mission is centred on breeding for improvement – focussing on white and light-coloured alpacas with fine fleece in a gentle and caring environment. All our alpaca are kept in small groups, so are used to human contact and receive lots of attention.

Our services include: The sale of females for breeding Drive-by stud services

Male-field pets

TEL: 07809 731164




The family run JandJ Alpaca herd was established in 2005 with four breeding females, today we have over 90 beautiful animals. We are located in Lincolnshire on the Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Leiceistershire border just off the A1.

With years of experience our aim is to help you choose the best alpacas to start you journey, whether it be breeding females, stud males or pet boys.

Stud services also available from top coloured genetics.

TEL: Martin or Clare 01636 626990




We are a family run farm in Warfield, Berkshire, breeding high quality Huacaya and Suri alpacas from show winning sires. We would like to welcome you to Scotlands Farm to see our wonderful herd of both white and coloured animals.

We are happy to discuss your requirements, be it for pet males, stock guards, or breeding females to suit your budget but with no obligation to purchase. We have over ten years of experience with these adorable animals. Give us a call and let us see if we can help you.

TEL: Sue Hipkin 07770 455533

Lisa Hipkin 07770 455534



Your booking will include an online listing in the Alpacas for Sale section on the BAS website.

TEL: 01732 448748



Home of The Tartan Alpaca®, The Dark Sky Genie™ and Destination Mating.

Located in rugged and beautiful North Cornwall, we focus on Suri and have a herd of elite alpacas with some of the best and varied genetics in the country. We sell quality breeding stock, in particular Suri starter herds, and offer full stud services as part of Poldark Suri Stud.

WENDY: 07712 136949TOM: 07825 105530




Established in 2002 and situated on the North Cotswold hills close to the picturesque village of Snowshill, the current herd numbers over 300.

We breed both Huacaya and Suri alpacas (approximately 80% are Huacaya). Although our breeding programme is biased towards the darker colours, we do also have superb quality whites and beige alpacas.

Full range of alpacas for sale, attractive pets to top show quality breeding girls and stud boys. Large choice of stunning stud males available to service your girls. Also offering natural alpaca fabrics made in the UK from the fleece of our own herd.

TEL: 01386 853841 or 07711 044106




Located on the Solway Firth, in Cumbria, King Garth Alpacas is a family-owned herd where we aim to breed beautiful, happy, healthy and friendly alpacas with top show winning genetics. We have alpacas to suit everyone and all budgets; from pet boys to starter herds, elite females and stud males. We offer full support and advice before and after sales. Please feel welcome to get in

TEL: 07762 286050


Alpaca SPRING 2024 48
ADVERTISE HERE Your booking will include an online listing in the Alpacas for Sale section on the BAS website.
01732 448748
your alpaca needs.
stud services,
We also offer
alpaca experiences, luxury alpaca
King Garth Alpacas

Fibre Processors and Retailers



M.R.Harness was founded in 1995 after existing part time for a number of years. Mary herself is a qualified engineer and is well placed to assess materials and their useage. Company policy is to test as many of the webbing designs as possible before release, as each item is unique to the animal it is designed for. This has led M.R.Harness to become the supplier of choice for headcollars, leads, coats and harness for all the various smallholding animals, but specialising in alpacas and llamas, and working ponies.

All items are hand crafted ‘in house’, in England, so you can be assured of good workmanship and quality products that last.

So please come and try the ‘Choice of Champions’.

TEL: 01299 896827 EMAIL:


Everything you need for your alpacas delivered to your door! We are a one-stop-shop for alpaca supplies, including headcollars and leads, vitamins and nutritional supplements, healthcare and welfare supplies, colostrum, coats for cria and adults and microchipping equipment.

We also have a good selection for your other animals, including dogs, chickens and horses, as well as a range of farmhouse items and gifts, including our famous home cheese-making kits.

We are alpaca owners ourselves and we are always happy to help with your questions and enquiries.

Order direct from our website or by phone. You can expect fast, friendly service and advice.

TEL: 01295 713188 EMAIL:



High specification organic chealated nutritional supplements suitable for all camelids.

• Premier Camelid Drench

• Premier Mineral Supplement

• Premier Mineral Bucket

• A, D3 & E Paste

TEL: 07866 607466




Classic Carder produce a full range of British, handmade drum carders for fibre preparation. Featuring our unique interchangeable drum system which allows quick and easy drum change for carding different fibres.

TEL: 01746 714130



We buy fibre shorn from all parts of the alpaca and collect from your door in most areas of the UK.

We will purchase fibre from current/previous seasons if kept in good condition so don’t let it go to waste!

Collection times/dates to suit your shearing schedule.

Part of the Standard Wool group.

TEL: Michael Cooke 07494 151166



Alpaca SPRING 2024 49
ADVERTISE HERE Your booking will include an online listing in the Alpacas for Sale section on the BAS website. TEL: 01732 448748 EMAIL: BAS Member's exclusive BAS Members get free membership to MySociety and can benefit from a number of exclusive offers. Checkout these and many other offers on the BAS website by clicking on Join the BAS link Free bag of Camelibra NG2 (worth £28 & free delivery) Terms and conditions apply 2 FREE worm counts worth £40 for NEW BAS members then 25% OFF Worm Counts after that* Wildwood Animal Health Terms and conditions apply 20% OFF Safe4disinfectant Terms and conditions apply The Professional Solution Discounted Prices on Microchips* Terms and conditions apply DBWOOLS ALPACA FIBRE COLLECTION 2024


The UN has designated 2024 as the International Year of Camelids. Camels, llamas, alpacas, vicuñas and guanacos are an important source of livelihood for millions of families – most of them pastoralists – in dryland and mountainous rangeland ecosystems around the world. The Year is meant to raise the public's and policymakers' awareness of the significant role of camelids in protecting ecosystems, conserving biodiversity, assuring food security and adapting to climate change. The resolution for the International Year of Camelids, proposed by the Government of Bolivia and presented by Ecuador as Country Chair of the Group of Latin American and Caribbean Countries (GRULAC), was approved by the UN General Assembly on 17 October 2017 upon recommendation by FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN).

FAO officially launched the IYC 2024 on 4 December 2023 in Rome, Italy – you can see the recording on their website:

The FAO say that in South America, there are approximately 7.5 million alpacas, four million llamas, 350,000 vicuñas and 600,000 guanacos. 200,000 families breed and manage these animals in the Andean highlands.

Camelids play an important role in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to the fight against hunger, the


eradication of extreme poverty, the empowerment of women and the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems. From providing milk, meat and fibre for communities to transport for products and people, and organic fertiliser, camelids thrive where other livestock species cannot survive.

Camelids play a key role in the culture, economy, food security and livelihoods of communities in Andean highlands and in the arid and semi-arid lands in Africa and Asia, including indigenous peoples. Even in extreme climatic conditions they continue to produce fibre and nutritious food. Indeed, the International Year of Camelids presents a unique opportunity to raise awareness of the role of camelids in building resilience to climate change – particularly in mountains and arid and semi-arid lands.

The International Year of Camelids 2024 aims to build awareness of the untapped potential of camelids and to call for increased investment in the camelid sector, advocating for greater research, capacity development and the use of innovative practices and technologies.

Alpaca SPRING 2024

Supreme Champion alpaca breeders with 30 years experience

We are proud to offer:

Business plan for new breeding herds and full herd assessment and business review for established breeders.

Elite pedigree breeding and pet stock for sale in the UK and for export to the EU, Middle East and India. Help obtaining planning permission for a dwelling using alpaca breeding as justification – we did it and have helped others.

BAS National Show 2024 Black Champions

Inca Serenade – Champion Black Female
www.inca alpaca Please call Tim to talk more about alpaca ownership: +44 (0) 7875 532827
Inca No Strings – Champion Black Male

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