Barn4 Alpacas came to fruition in January 2008 when we had finally cleared the scrub land that covered a large part of our “garden” and looked at what we could sensibly do with it. We considered keeping sheep, goats, chickens - all the usual things! Then I met Vicki Agar breeder from Spring Farm Alpacas at a local show, together with some of her beautiful alpacas and the decision was easy.
My next step was to do lots of reading and I then went for husbandry days to learn how to look after these wonderful creatures. Eventually we bought 4 alpacas with which to create our own small herd. We started a breeding program and now have 9 alpacas. A few years down the line, we have moved to Cornwall where we have a larger area for the alpacas and they are great favourites with guests at our holiday cottages.
We have some of their fleeces processed into yarn. If you have never felt an alpaca product, you should have a look and more importantly 'feel' the wonderfully soft yarn. It is not only soft but very warm and wind-proof and because it contains very little lanolin it is more wearable.
One of our original 4 alpacas, a quality white girl who came second in the South of England Show as a junior. Her sons are Zebedee and Snooky. Fleur loves being rubbed and will often come up for a "fluff".
Zebedee is a lovely boy, he was the first cria to be born on our farm and is very special. He is extremely good natured and is often the one who will allow guests to stroke him (providing he is being fed at the same time!).
Ziggy is Geisha's first cria and was born on our farm. She has a lovely nature and very soft fleece. She is not shy when it comes to feeding time and will hoover up everything left in her bowl, followed by any other bowl she can get her nose into, thus earning her nickname "Ziggy the Piggy".
Yoshie is a lovely girl, very inquisitive by nature and will often come up to the fence to 'inspect' our guests and their dogs as they walk around the playing field. She is a full sister to Ziggy even though they are very different colours. Her fleece is very soft and fluffy.
Snooky was born on a very cold, wet April day several weeks before he was due after his mum (Fleur) was spooked by a Chinook helicopter practising night manoeuvres in the field next to our farm, hence his proper name. He has a lovely friendly personality with an exceptionally good fleece.
'Netia' and 'Snooky' have the same sire, an imported male from the famous USA 'Snowmass' herd called 'Andean Moonlight'. She has an excellent fleece, both fine and soft with a good crimp definition. She is the shiest of all the alpacas, rarely coming into the penning area even at feeding time.
The last one of my original herd of 4, Filou was bought to be a companion female for Fleur and Geisha. She is quite shy, but makes an excellent 'auntie' to all of the cria that my other girls have had. She is also a good lookout, warning the rest of the herd with a loud braying noise if she sees anything she does not like the look of (even if it is just a passing crow).