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Alpaca Advice Please...
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Sally Too



Joined: 14 Sep 2006
Posts: 2511
Location: N.Ireland
PostPosted: Sat Aug 09, 14 10:21 am    Post subject: Alpaca Advice Please...  Reply with quote    

A good friend of mine wants to get a couple of alpacas this year, with a view to doing more as a business with them in the future.

She is taking a change of direction in her work - it will take a bit of time to wind down the current work - and has the facilities and abilities to look after large animals.

She hopes to breed eventually and develop a herd (is that the right word?) for producing their wool.

Any comments or pointers welcome. Links to good websites or reputable breeders in UK welcomed. Also commentary on the market for the wool etc. appreciated.

I thought a few on here might just have a little inside type knowledge that could start her in the right direction.

Chez



Joined: 13 Aug 2006
Posts: 35907
Location: The Hive of the Uberbee, Quantock Hills, Somerset
PostPosted: Sat Aug 09, 14 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

There are a couple of people around here that are well thought of, I think. Spring Grove Alpacas near Milverton, who are friends-of-a-friend and Ashdale Alpacas, who are friends of mine. I think Alison keeps some, too?

Sally Too



Joined: 14 Sep 2006
Posts: 2511
Location: N.Ireland
PostPosted: Sat Aug 09, 14 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Thanks, although we are in N.Ireland, I think she is quite prepared to travel to view.

Okay great ... stuff to look at here
http://ashdalealpacas.com/ & http://www.alpacasandrarebreeds.com/

Thanks.

Finsky



Joined: 10 Sep 2011
Posts: 847
Location: Notts.
PostPosted: Sat Aug 09, 14 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I visited last week Amber Valley Alpacas here in Midlands..they sell their animals as well as 'wool'..animals looked to be in great condition and everything very neat and tidy
http://www.ambervalleyalpacas.co.uk/
I don't know how the their prices compare though!

alison
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 29 Oct 2004
Posts: 12908
Location: North Devon
PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 14 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

What does she want to know.

I have male, female and wethers.

I keep mine for livestock protection, fleece and breeding.

Sally Too



Joined: 14 Sep 2006
Posts: 2511
Location: N.Ireland
PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 14 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I think some of her questions would be about determining wool quality and the best breed lines for good wool.

Also what the market is like for Alpaca wool.

Where is it mostly sold to, and so on?

She has the facilities and also experience keeping cattle, horses, pigs, hens etc. This would be a diversification, that would hopefully bring in some income in the long run.

Mithril



Joined: 22 Jul 2011
Posts: 1755
Location: wessex
PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 14 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Unless things have changed a lot in the last 5 years I'd say put your money into something else :/

alison
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 29 Oct 2004
Posts: 12908
Location: North Devon
PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 14 7:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Sally Too wrote:
I think some of her questions would be about determining wool quality and the best breed lines for good wool.

Also what the market is like for Alpaca wool.

Where is it mostly sold to, and so on?

She has the facilities and also experience keeping cattle, horses, pigs, hens etc. This would be a diversification, that would hopefully bring in some income in the long run.


Wool is tested for count, so she would be able to determine that herself. It depends what you are selectively breeding for, but you can improve your wool by choosing better males over your herd. (much the same as any animal)

We market our fibre ourselves, some to spinners, and some is processed and sold online. Like many other products we have developed our own stratagy to suit our needs.

Ours pay for themselves, and are definitely one of the factors for visitors staying here, which is an indirect bonus for the tourism business we also run.

madcat



Joined: 24 May 2008
Posts: 1265
Location: worcester
PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 14 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Am I right in thinking there's an issue with Alpacas and bovine TB?

Nick



Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 34031
Location: Hereford
PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 14 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

They have been shown to carry it, in Wales, on trekking holiday type places, and it's been passed to humans, but I don't see it as a major worry.

Mithril



Joined: 22 Jul 2011
Posts: 1755
Location: wessex
PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 14 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

madcat wrote:
Am I right in thinking there's an issue with Alpacas and bovine TB?


There is. The chap I kept mine with had one of his diagnosed with it a week after I'd sold my flock! There aren't the same rules as with cattle, but DEFRA as well as the buyer were informed. Plus his whole flock had to be tested and retested until clear. Between that and the blue tongue scare nothing was sold or moved for months and months. This was Dorset, not Wales, but 6 or so years ago.

I was led to believe that the problem was probably more wide spread but brushed under the carpet. :dunno:

Sally Too



Joined: 14 Sep 2006
Posts: 2511
Location: N.Ireland
PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 14 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Thanks for all the replies folks. My friend has a lot to consider just now...

madcat



Joined: 24 May 2008
Posts: 1265
Location: worcester
PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 14 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Alpacas are complicated in their behaviour too, a visit to an Alpaca farm convinced me that sheep were a whole lot better.
I like the idea of some pretty Shetland sheep or some pretty crosses with lovely fleeces.

All livestock is capable of being a worry, the only trouble free livestock is when it's on the plate .

alison
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 29 Oct 2004
Posts: 12908
Location: North Devon
PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 14 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

madcat wrote:
Alpacas are complicated in their behaviour too, a visit to an Alpaca farm convinced me that sheep were a whole lot better.
I like the idea of some pretty Shetland sheep or some pretty crosses with lovely fleeces.

All livestock is capable of being a worry, the only trouble free livestock is when it's on the plate .


I think the alpacas are tons easier to keep than sheep.

madcat



Joined: 24 May 2008
Posts: 1265
Location: worcester
PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 14 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Alison you may well be right, I'm trying to avoid getting drawn into sheep keeping . Two family members have them and I'm not ready yet to join them.

Can you tell us more about Alpacas, their funny ways and care needs. I got the impression that they were capable of being easily upset and rather enthusiastic about breeding .

No animal is easy care, mind you I think sheep might be marginally less aggravation than men with the added advantage that they can be sold if they're a bother and there's always the freezer option.
The authorities would take a dim view of sections of deep frozen husband in with the frozen peas.

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