Coun­try’s premier al­pacas on show

Feilding-Rangitikei Herald - - Rural - JILL GAL­LOWAY

About 338 of the finest al­pacas in the na­tion put their best camelid foot for­ward at a na­tional show in Manawatu¯ .

The love­able al­pacas with their cute ears, short vel­vety noses and cheeky tem­per­a­ment were show stop­pers at Man­feild Sta­dium dur­ing the week­end.

They filled the big sta­dium, munch­ing on food, and chew­ing their cud while they waited for their time in the showring.

Al­paca don’t come cheap with a high qual­ity stud male can go for more than $3000 on top of the cost of trail­ers to take them to shows, hal­ters and shear­ing costs. They also come in the more af­ford­able pe range of $200 to $400 depend­ing on their gen­der and fi­bre.

Al­paca breeder from the Al­paca Place stud in Master­ton, Liz Barnes said she had 50 an­i­mals and had been work­ing with al­pacas for 16 years mak­ing her an ‘old hand’.

‘‘They are easy to man­age and they don’t get fly­strike or footrot. They are quiet, so peo­ple on life­style blocks, with­out ex­pe­ri­ence of han­dling any an­i­mals, can cope with them and like them.’’

She had 36 breed­ing fe­males and eight males at her stud.

‘‘The fe­males ovu­late when a male is around. They don’t have a breed­ing sea­son. They can breed all year round. We sin­gle mate them. Most peo­ple in New Zealand like to have young around in spring or au­tumn.’’

Banes said twin cria (young) were rare and most fe­males only had one cria although there had been oc­ca­sions when she had to hand raise some young al­paca .

‘‘When I feed them, they stay part of the herd. Oth­er­wise when they get big­ger, they have no fear of you and try to dom­i­nate you.’’

She said al­pacas were su­per so­cia­ble and had a peck­ing or­der in the herd, which could change.

She had about 10 al­pacas at the show.

‘‘I like com­ing to these na­tional shows. You see the best in the coun­try which you don’t nor­mally see at lo­cal shows. So you know what the na­tional stan­dard is which you should be breed­ing to­wards.’’

Al­paca As­so­ci­a­tion New Zealand event man­ager, Toni Sop­pet said there were al­most 340 al­pacas on show, in­clud­ing the hua­caya (fluffy) and the siri (finer dread­lock) an­i­mals.

‘‘As well as 243 hua­caya and 93 siri al­paca, we have 200 fleeces and fin­ished gar­ments in the show as well.’’

There were al­pacas that came from Auck­land to Ti­maru, with many on the road for hours.



An al­paca at the na­tional show at Man­feild, in Manawatu¯ .

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