Saturday, December 20, 2008

BAS Screening-Fleece testing

This site can give you the requirements an alpaca must meet to pas the BAS screening process.

Screening alpacas for the British Market place is not as easy as everyone thinks.
Not all alpacas will pass screening, even if they are National Champions does not guarantee the passing of the British Alpaca Industry Screening process. The reason being, when an alpaca is shown in the ring, there are a number of physcial traits that are not being checked, and that is not to say they should be checked, i am not saying that at all. The traits that are being tested for when screening is to try and aliminate all genetic faults,for instance- Kink or bend or a knob at the end of the tail. I explained the reason for this on a previous blog
more than 4 nipples, (no blind nipples, no double nipples), laxating patella, a closer examination on teeth- that they are central all aligned, (as to the slight angle, means that they could eventually throw a wry face), bent legs,
again on a previous blog link above, are a few of the major things that are checked for to pass screening. There are two screeners, one is for the physical traits, who is an accredited veterinarian that is employed by BAS, and the other a Judge, that was a breeder, but now is solely employed by BAS. Both screeners, are extremely professional, and i must say, their knowledge always knocks me over, that very simple things to someone else, is picked up, and then explained about the complexity and importance of the fault, most would miss. Elyse always assists the screeners, with the handling of the alpaca, and to make sure that the tape is in place for measuring the height of the alpaca, the scales are working right, and the area for the alpaca to be screened is clean, and all is reaThe judge screener, takes a midside sample, which he takes two samples. One sample is sent to a place in the USA called Yocum McCall, whilst other sample is kept as the reserve sample. There are sometimes alot of controversy over the screening process, as the screening process really is acceptable for alpacas in the age range of 18 months -2.5 yrs old.
Rarely are working (males or pregnant females) older than these ages will pass, and if they do pass, it means that these alpacas are very, good, to be able to meet the tough screening rules for a younger animal. Just recently, two 11 year old meales passed screening, which is a credit to the males, as they are holding such fineness, and these are the type of alpaca that should be used for genetic gain, and they can compete against

qualities of alpacas 9-10 years younger than them. The biggest contorversy of the screening is the fibre testing. We are told that the fibre length has to be 2 inches in length, which it makes ease of handling if it is, but it can be tested if length is slightly smaller than this length. Yocum McCall tests the cutting edge of this fibre sample. Which can throw the micron out anything up to 6 microns, and the SD out by 2-3, which will throw again the Cv out, (as this is a calculation of the Micron divided by the SD). Breeders ask why are they measuring just the cut edge, most fibre test will measure the length of the fibre and then averaged out along the

fibre length (although the above histogram is a good histogram, it does not explain exactly what i am talking about but you can see this a little), if you look at the graph on the right side, you will see a line, which is the measurement at the length of the fibre. So for instance if there is 12 months growth on the fibre, you will see, when the alpaca was shorn which is the beginning of the line on the left hand side, the fibre was 15 microns, (maybe also, he was shorn in the summer, when there is not as much goodness in the grass, or he had just been taken of his dam (which this bay had), which means he now does not have the goodness of his dams milk, and he takes a bit to adjust , which will drop the micron), but also envirpomental conditions can play on this, if there is not enough feed, then fineness will come from starving, or if too much feed, and high in protein, then the microns will go up. But when the fleece was shorn at the right hand side of the line on this graph, you will see that it measures higher, again, enviromental conditions can cause this, as the alpacas are shorn late spring, before the summer, when there is a lot of goodness, and plentiful grass, and so this will make his micron higher.
So if we are looking at an alpaca who is higher in micron, and they were screened in the end of spring, for einstance, the micron can be alot higher than the average of the fibre, and can make the difference of passing or not passing. The stress of the vendor and the purchaser whilst they are waiting for the screening results are often so high. So the question is often asked, why are they measuring the fibre at the cut edge, it is not fair.
I asked my fibre tester this question, as i wanted to understand it so much better.
Of course Elyse had already studied thismethoid at the Wool School, Geelong. And the reason is really very clever.
This is his answer-
While Yocum McCall are only able to measure the variation at one point along the staple, (fibre length) we can do it right along the staple giving a more accurate picture of both genetic and environmental influences. (we are able to separate the two – another post called genetic gain, which i will write so keep an eye out). I understand they are looking at variation in fibre diameter between the fibres in any given staple (fibre bundle) – this is a good indicator of genetic potential.

Taking a measurement across one section of the fibre will give you a measurement of variation between individual fibres – this is important as it does not allow environmental influences to affect the test. Once you accumulate a series of measurements along the fibres, then environmental influences will affect the readings.
The problem is that the different fibres within a staple grow at varying rates. That’s why the base is used because the difference in growth rate is not evident at the base. When you measure the variation at the tip, the varying degrees of growth rate will have an influence on the degree of variation between the fibres. At the tip, the variation between fibre is normally greater because at that point the fibres have been growing for different amounts of time.
Elyse says, it is a true measurement, and BAS is correct in screening the alpacas in this way.
as it is the only true measurement at that one time of the alpaca, that they can measure.
ONe alpaca, may grow 1 inch of fibre in 1 month, wehere another can grow only 1/2 inch of fibre in that one month, so you cannot measure the alpaca's potential and knowing exactly at what time the fibre growth was measured, this way you can.
At that one point of time, when the fibre was cut, at an even distance from the skin (against the skin), then it is the true measurement.
Another very important point my fibre guy said. It is the measurement to look for potential of genetic gain, and to the ability to throw that genetic gain to the next generation.

I hope i explained this well enough, and i look forward to any questions, or comments on this.
It is very complicated, but i can say from my experience, as being an assistant or handler for the screeners, that the very best alpacas pass screening, and the screeners, are completely unbiased. They have no idea who the alpaca is, who the owner is, on our farm, again they have no idea, as the alpacas are not on the property of origin. The screeners also take their honor and responsibility very seriously, and i respect the two screeners in AUstralia.
BAS have selected the best people to take on this very important process.....which ultimately will mean the very best alpacas from the Australian herd will be exported under this process.
Nothing in my experience with any genetic faults gets passed the screeners.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Seduction bound for the Uk, one day

One of our best girls, Seduction has been sold to the Uk. Seduction has produced the most stunning Male, who will be one of our future herdsires without a doubt.

Congratulations, Hilary

Black Onyx is on his way to Belgium

Yvonne and Olivier are so pleased with their purchase, congratulations.
A wonder ful male, a fabulous fleece.
Excellent Density.


We have been concentrating on our breeding to produce fleeces for the Ultra Fine and super fine bale.

We are pleased with our breeding results, better than we imagined.

We estimated quite a few of our progeny to reach the ultra fine fleece bale, but we doubled what we estimated. Vallon De Oro' has been a great asset to our herd, but i believe the foundation of Jolimont Stefano, and Jolimont Cristiano, and Jolimont Patche', (full Peruvian), from the Accoyo and Alinza herds is the secret the the advancement we are making with out fleeces.

The high brightest lustre that is coming through is only emphasising the fineness we are producing.
We have been told, that so far we have produced the finest alpaca tested in Australia, at 12.6 micron, sired by Vallon Deo Oro'. Even our red dirt, which always gives our alpacas a pinkinsh look, as soon as you open up those fleeces, the lustre almost knocks you out.

Daniel & Hannah's fancy dress party

Last Saturday night, all the kids went to Daniels and his girlfriends place, they all went dressed up, superheroes and villin. Misty is catwoman

Of course ELyse is a villian...a Pirate

Lauren is GI Jane

Leesa was a powder puff girl, i did not get a picture of her and ANdrew as i missed them, Andrew was the FOnze

Daniel and Hannah, Batman and Batwoman

I hear a great time was had by all

work, work, work

All i seem to be doing is working, working and working.

I get up very early in the morning, and i am at the computer, non stop, until late at night. There is still so much work to be done, I really do not know how we can get it all done in time.

Rob also is so busy, he has not stopped, he has worked 7 days for months now, and he cannot get on top of it all. Xmas is near, i do not think we will be celebrating Xmas this year. There seems to be no xmas spirit.

Jolimont Stefano

Jolimont Stefano (full Accoyo)
Now approx. 19.5 years old, and still gaining pregnancies, this grand Old man, says it all.
ONe trait breeders forget is Longitivity. A great asset if this male is producing stunning progeny that have genetic gain, fine microns, low SD & CV's, and beautiful stapling, time and time again, increasing density, correct conformation, excellent fertility, then you really want to get the most of this type of alpaca.
Stefano has approx 600 progeny on the ground, many Supreme Champions,and Sire's Progeny Group Champions on Royal and National level.
..".The Master" one client said to us, .........why go to the master when we can go to the Master's Master....."Stefano"
A sign of a great herdisre is if he leaves his trademark .... Stefano stamps his cria year after year, Proven by his Progeny.
A good breeding program identifies "IMPACT MALES".
Elite alpaca genetics is measured by the extreme super fineness covered from the top of his bonnet to the tips of his toes, displaying incredibly bright lustre, finely crimped charachter in pencil staples bundling evenly across the whole bodyThe secret of breeding Champions, is to choose a proven herdsire. Proven by his progeny, and their consistancy of all the attributes that we are breeding to acheive, and ultimately to produce the fibre to please the manufacturer.
We are dedicated in our breeding program, that we can largely attribute Stefano's valuable genetics.
Some of his attribbutes he has passed on to his progeny are
* Uniformity and increased staple length.
* This has been an important breeding criteria.
* Soundness if body and conformtion and balance
* Fineness of trhe blacnket extending to all extremetries.
* Uniformary across the whole body
* lack of Medulation low 30% over 30 micron
* High lustre
* Staple length
* Volumne or density
* high frequency of crimp which will always display high curvature.
* Coverage- increased coverage from the bonnet to the tip of their toes.
Stefano's contribution to the Australian Alpaca Industry is rivalled by few stud males ever in Australia.

Monday, December 8, 2008

loading the alpacas at airport pt 4

As you can see there is plenty of room in the crate for the alpacas, they quite enjoy the trip. You can also see they are not stressed at all. all care is taken in the loading process. We do not start the land transport to the airport until, we know for sure when the plane is due to arrive, and then we allow enough time to get to the airport, so that there is the least time spent in the crates. All staff are excellent, and all care, and attention is given

loading alpacas at airport-pt 3

Once the crate is loaded, the crate is lowered very slowly down so that the top deck can be loaded, which takes only a few minutes as you can see, and then the crate is slowly raised, the crate is on rollers and then is manouvered ever so carefully along rollers into the position on a little train then taken to the plane, and on a scissor lift is loaded onto the plane.

All safe measures are taken into account, and safety for alpacas and people working with them is always planned to precision.

loading alpacas at airport pt 2

As you will see, we first inspect the crate when we arrive before the alpacas are loaded, we check to make sure it is made right, and that there are no sharp objects in the crate.

Our freight forwarder, also assists in checking the crate, and he is very efficient. The we place side boundaries up so that the alpacas will just jump into the crate, and remove avenues for escape.

loading the crates at the airport pt 1

I am afraid, this will be shown over 4 movies, as i was also assisting the unloading.

You will see that all the alpacas, have plenty of room in the crate to move around, and also to sit, and stand.

They all arrived safely.

kasarni-med brown female

Kasarni, is a gorgeous Md Brown female, show ribbon winner, at National level, and State level at ROyal Melbourne Show 2007.

KAsarni, is a lady..perfect in every way. She has superb crimp structure, heavy tight stapled all over, and extremely fine, sired by Olympic Dream son of Stefano, full accoyo multi award winner himself, Olympic Dream, is polishing off the perfection she displays. She will be at Alpacalandgoed in Belgium

Male certification - Snow drifter

Snow drifter is off to Belgium. A magnificant Stud Male, great consistant lines. Australian Alpaca Industry, has strict rulings on th males that are used for services. Before they can be used, they must oass a strict criteria, which is the Male Certification. It is to make sure no stud male has any genetic faults that can be inherited to the next generation. Some of the things that they checked for are similar to the Bas Screening. Tail, must ber straight not bent; laxating patellas, none at all, Eyes clear, and no problems to be seen inside them, straight legs, muzzle, no wry face, to mention a few. Here our vet Dr Tim Henderson, is checking against a sheet, that gives him the angles of the legs, so he is holding this sheet up, to confirm his legs are straight. Snow Drifter passed with flying colours. Now he is on the next leg of his journey, he has 6 months residency in New Zealand, and should fly out approx june 09.

Austar is on his way to Belgium

Austar is on his way now to Belgium, he has to stay for 6 months in NZ, first, and then approx June 2009 He will fly out to Luxenbourg.AUstar has a beautiful lustrous Black fleece, and will be at Alpacalandgoed, for any enquiries

Conformation- straight legs,

we love to see straight legs in alpacas, as in the example above.
Straight legs are important that the weight is evenly distributed evenly down the leg bone.
Alpacas tend to have slightly splayed legs because of lack of Vitamin D. Especially during the winter.A simple injection twice during the winter months is all it takes to make sure your alpacas have straight legs.

Tree in Split Rock

We had to pick up some alpacas for the next quarantine in central Victoria, when we saw this
granite bolder had been split open, where a

tree had grown through the middle of the rock.

it is something you do not see everyday

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Sire is Vallon De Oro",
He has been putting spectaculat fleeces onthe ground.
The fleece tester last night who is the man that buys the ultra fine bale, said that the consistancy of our fleeces, and stats, would place us one of the top ultra fine /super fine studs in Australia, this guy tests most of the fleeces in Australia.
He especially liked this fleece, (I love her ), as he said when you have a SD 3.2, you know that the whole fleece is consistant in micron, but not only that, it is all over, and she then has the ability to pass this on. Most of our SD are in the 3's some in early 4's. He said most studs are not getting under 4 in the SD. She has outstanding fleece. She still is maturing, and she is spectacular, she is devoping nicely, the dam's offspring have all grown out well.
Aailyah also hs the most gentle, beautiful, sweetest personality.
She has just flown to NZ for her second leg of the Journey, where she will stay for 6 months for residency. Then she is due in Belgium in June 09

Merry Xmas everyone

I wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and a very happy and prosperous New Year.
With lots of love, Rob, Raelene Elyse, from Mariah Hill Alpacas & Exports

On his way to Belgium- Snow Drifter

One of my favourite alpacas, Snow Drifter, he is so gorgeous, and his fleece is an excellent example of the ultrafine fleeces we are producing at our farm. Cristiano, a peruvian import is producing super long fleeces, extremely dense, and super lustrous, snow white. His Histogram

Still 22 mic, 4.4 SD, 19.1 CV 96.1 Comf Fact.
He will be working once he arrives in Belgium, contact Yvonne Steinlet, for any further information on this georgeous male

Last days of quarantine

The last day of quarantine is always hectic. the final cleanup is extensive. each alpaca is checked, and identied, all identing tags are re checked, and then the alpacas are sorted out to sizes, as like size alpacas are placed together, also dams and crias are always together as well. THe vet has done a final health check, they are sprayed once more for ectoparasites, and also trated for Endoparasites. We also had 3 male certifications to complete. All are ready for final delivery to the airport tonight.
at the moment the plane is 4 hours late, but we will cope.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Illustrious - Future Herdsire for Mariah Hill

Sired by Vallon De Oro'

Mic 17.7
SD 3.2
CV 18.3
Comf Fact 99.9
Spin Fineness 16.8
Date Tested 27/11/08

Dam Mariah Hill Seduction This boy has it all.

see how his fleece cleanly openes up, crimp right to the front of his chest,.down his legs and under belly. This is the type of offspring you want to breed. His dam's micron is very fine, as she has produced two males previously, she is due April 09. Seduction is a gorgeous white female, who is just so easy to handle.

Cria of Rhiannon

Baby Male-Dk Fawn sired by warrior, Dam Rhiannon

Elyse greeting a new Cria-cria of Fantazia

One of our favoiurite Peruvian girls that was originally been exported, Avonlea, had a female called Fantazia, Avonlea now is 16years+, and so although pregnant, we are lucky to have a female that we have not sold, to keep this fantastic line going. Avonlea has always produced stunning fleeces, and so when Fantazia was born, we knew our chances of getting another female from Avonlea was slim, so we made sure that Fantazia was not sold. Fantazia produced this gorgeous female last Monday morning, Fantasia. Her ears looks as though she is the flying nun, but they will firm up, in a couple of days, and so will her frontt legs, she is not 24 hours old at this stage. Elyse goes for a walk, and also spots one of our favourite alpaca at the moment, "Illustrious", Seductions male cria, who is destine to be a future herdsire at Mariah Hill. Anyone who has visited our farm, knows Seduction, she has beautiful soft handling very fine fleece. Elyse has just come bak from a gruelling trip from South Australia, and so she feels back at home with the alpacas, and checking out the babies.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A new Arrival

We delivered two little males to a ladys house last Sunday.
Georgeous boys, Incan Pride and Tarz. They were cute as they explored their new home.

A visitor at the lady's property, had two little boys and within moments the alpacas and the two boys really hit it off.

Watch as the communication happens between the boys and the alapca.

First of all, the boys started walking behind the alpacas, and of course the fast walk, started to be a small run, then the two boys were distracted, and just started running in sircles, and next thing you know the alpacas started to run after the boys as if to play.

Here you can see the interaction going, and as his father was trying to take a photo, of the oldr boy with Incan Mist, the little boy told Incan mist to smail, dad's trying to take a photo so you had been ter smile.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Jolimont Stefano-a great herdssire

Jolimont Stefano, when we first purchased him. a real gentleman and a great friend.

Maybe you have heard of him or maybe not. In 1995, we purchased from the First Peruvian Alpaca shipment, two Peruvian Stud males, one being Stefano, full accoyo (picture taken last week at 19 + yrs old, just shorn), and Cristiano (full Alianza).

These two boys have been huge herd improvers over many people's herds.

Stefano pictured below is now an old man, but he is still working and his progeny are still up with the best of them in Australia.

Cristiano sired Khan, who up to date was the highest S?P ratio alpaca to be tested after a world wide trip, testing skin follicle samples, from Chile, Peru, Bolivia, and many Australian, New Zealand, and European countries.

Stefano, produced the second highest S/P ratio alpaca.

These guys are herd improvers, they have frame as well as wool.

They both have producesd Supreme Champions, and manyBlue (first) rivvon progeny, and progeny groups. We then did purchase another male, Jolimont Patche', (also Full Accoy0), who has really bulked up our offspring, and also a great frame male.this selection of males has contrivuted to the beautiful soft handling, Ultra and Super Fine fleeces.Our Next generation is Jolimont Vallon De oro', wow, he just finishes them off really well. Where do we go now, we can go back to Stefano, and re stamp those fantastic genetics.

He has also produced many stud males, one we retained, Olympic Dream, and look what he is doing.

What has been our secret to success, a fantastic genetic base, coming from the Accoyo and Allianza herds in Peru

Bent tails ALpaca

I was just scimming through some litature yesterday and came across this very interesting article.
Sometimes, Alpacas like other species will have a bent or a hook at the end of the tail. Sometimes even a knob at the end of the tail.
The bend might not be visible to the eye, and sometimes hard to feel it properly, but when a vet does a vet check or especially male certification, he will not pass the alpaca because of the bend, hook or knob at the end of the tail.
With improved breeding practices, these faults are being bred out, but sometimes especially at shows, you will see people very upset, when they have taken their beautiful alpaca to a show, and discover through the stewards that their alpaca has a tail problem. Some people cnnot understand the seriousness of a tail problem, i think this article from the CLAA, explains it perfectly.

This article is one of a series aimed at providing information regarding breed standards and the importance of screening alpacas for congenital disqualifiers prior to registration. Firstly – what does congenital mean. Congenital refers to a trait that an animal is born with (existing at the
time of birth). The CLAA rules of registration require that congenital defects be evaluated at birth and alpaca and llamas exhibiting one or more of the listed congenital disqualifiers be denied registration. It is important to remember at this point however, that some observed defects are not necessarily genetically programmed and may have resulted from problems encountered during foetal development in utero (e.g. flexural limb deformity). Also, those defects that are genetically programmed in the foetus may not have originated from “heritable” defects. Heritable defects are genetically programmed in that animal and can be passed on from the affected animal – they may or may not however, have been inherited from sire and dam.
There are two options for the origin of a genetic defects occurring in a newborn:
1) a point mutation in that animal but not pre-existing in the parents and
2) a genetic defect carried by one or both parents and transmitted to the offspring.
The subject of this article is crooked tails. It is the first article in an ongoing series
on how to recognise congenital disqualifiers. What to look for and why.
The tail vertebra belongs to the spinal column and the spine is part of the
skeleton. Therefore deformities of the tail vertebrae are part of skeletal defects.
They can be various in shape and depend on the defect in the genotype (whether
the cause of a mutation or caused by hereditary factors). The tail may be missing,
maybe too short, may have one or more bends (kinks) in different variations or
hooks and crooks. Sometimes there are too many or too few vertebrae.
When the deformity is limited to the tail then it generally has no influence on the
alpaca’s or llama’s life. However, when that animal is bred the “small defect” can
become much more serious for the offspring. Not only in tails but also other part
of the spinal column. In an Australian study nine alpaca offspring aged from 12
– 18 months were radiographed. They were all conceived on the one farm to the
same sire that had a visibly abnormal tail. Over the course of one year 30 of his
offspring were born. Thirteen had normal tails, five had abnormally short tails and
12 had abnormally deviated tails. Importantly these twelve showed five different
types of vertebral malformation – one a potentially life threatening dorsal subluxation. In 12 of
these cria (11 abnormal tails, one normal tail) six also had shorter than normal ears. One was also diagnosed with an ectopic ureter. Six of the cria went on to have cria of their own and produced 4 cria with short tails, three of which also had short ears. Although this is admittedly a small study inheritance of vertebral malformations has been confirmed for many other species and, for some species as well, congenital tail defects have also been linked to defects in organ systems. This link between deformities in organ systems and crooked tails in parents and relatives of both parents has been proven in dogs, cats, pigs and mice. Congenital Disqualifiers
Part I -
Crooked Tails
“there may be a correlation between malformations of the tail and other vertebra, and whilst a malformed tail may be no more than unattractive, malformation of cervical, thoracic, lumbar or sacral vertebra (as observed in the offspring of the sire of the study) may cause functional, hysical and neurological deficits” The Australian authors conclude their study by saying “we consider that there may be a correlation between malformations of the tail and other vertebra, and whilst a malformed tail may be no more than unattractive, malformation of cervical, thoracic, lumbar or sacral vertebra (as observed in the offspring of the sire of the study) may cause functional, physical and neurological deficits”. In short, based on available evidence from other species and limited evidence from alpaca studies congenital permanent deviations of the tail is more than a cosmetic issue. It is likely a heritable condition that can cause deformities in the higher vertebrae which may be life threatening or at the very least cause functional problems. This is particularly important in breeding females who need to maintain conformation and back strength through multiple pregnancies. Simply, a slight little hook in a tail you may see in a new born cria today may translate into a larger more serious vertebral malformation if that animal is allowed to enter the breeding population. This is why alpacas and llamas that show tail deviations from birth are prohibited from being registered.
So, how do you identify crooked tails?
Take the tail in hand (gently) and feel it all the way down to the tip. Ordinarily the tail will be straight – in a crooked tail you will feel the kink or curve or hook or crook (it could be slight or it could be quite pronounced) anywhere from the base to the tip. Although Murray Fowler in “Medicine and Surgery of South American Camelids” states that “it is important to understand that a crooked tail has as much chance of being acquired through an injury as it does through
heredity” if the examination is done very early in a cria’s life the chance of a deviation being the result of trauma or accident is slight. The only way to make a more accurate diagnosis however is x-ray. The x-ray can identify break lines that have healed, it can also show extra or malformed vertebra that would indicate a disqualifying congenital defect. As a general rule,
but not a hard and fast one, that may give some relief when waiting to book an x-ray – if the tail can be manually straightened by slight (and that’s worth emphasising) pressure the deviation was probably caused by trauma.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Alpacas in quarantine are going well

The group for New Zealand which leaves next Sunday night, are just completing all their tests, we have a couple more procedures to complete, and then they are on their way, once all the documentation is completed. We completed ultrasounds on all alpacas that are of a mateable age. The above you can see the ribs around the chest of approx 17 week baby alpaca. It has been an extremely busy time, we have had to take x rays, ultrasounds, shearing, and babies being born. The last week of the quarantine is always hectic.

Sunrise at Mariah Hill Alpacas

With this unpredictable weather we are having, it is bringing the most startling beautiful sunrises. I hope you think these are as stunning as i do, although there is nothing like the ral thing

Beaware for lighting

Since we have started to shear, we have had very threatning weather. So we have had to move the alpacas to protective paddocks, where they have shelter from rain and wind. Whilst doing this last Thursday night, in the middle of a huge rain storm, hailstonesthe size of cricket balls, soi was moving all the alpacas, each group had to be moved to a different part of the farm. The alpacas did not want to move. I was moving the alpacas in my car, when all of a sudden, it sounded as though a omb went off, and i was the centre of the bomb. A huge golden flash before my eyes, and all around the car.Yes, the car had been struck by lightening, i was just so scared, i thought i had died and had gone to heaven, i could not believe it. Elyse came running over to see if i was alright, Rob heard it as far away as in the house.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Lauren loves Jhett

Lauren has always loved birds, butterflies, and perfume, flowers, trees, and cactii.
We bought her a hand reared Lorikeet, and she just loves, him, he is a charachter, and loves just rest on your chest, as you can, see, but he is so funny, as he lies on his side, and then goes to sleep.
He is just so active, and very intelligent. Lauren does get hours of enjoyment from him, and he loves her. He even comes to his name when called.

it is snowing in Belgium-Alpacas

Yvonne tells me they are receiving their first snow for the season.

Primera and Dakota look s though they have settled in, and enjoying the life in Laakdat, Belgium

But who wouldn't enjoy the fabulous facilities at ALpacalandgoed, in Belgium.

It certainly looks like a winter wonderland.
Yvonne and Olivier, are proud of their alpaca stud, in Belgium,

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A haircut for the Canadian alpacas

Well, the alpacas destined for Canada, have had to have a delay in their delivery date, due to most of them putting on too much weight. No-one expected the group weight to increase by 55 kg, in less than 2 months. We are starting our summer on Monday, and already we have had a few days up around 36 degrees F, which is very unusual for this time of the year. I think this indicates we are going to have a very hot summer. These guys have been feeling it, and even though we hand trimmed an average of 2 kgs off each alpaca (they were weighed after we took the 2kgs of fleece off ewach alpaca, hping to reduce their weight). ALthough we still have to remember these alpacas will be arriving in the middle of winter in Canada, and there will most likly be snow there, but we have not have them overheating as well in our hot summer. So we decided to take their fleeces back even more, as they have a bit of time to grow it back. they were so glad of having theie fleeces shorn, they all just layed on the table, and did not complain one bit, and as you can see, as they are placed back into their paddock, they are as happy as can be with their new haircut.

A Xmas Present for Nicole

Ed was playing with one of our newest addition to our herd, Miss Cheeta. He thought it would be so nice to buy Nicole this cria for Xmas. He did not need to think twice, and now Nicole has a new baby for Xmas.
Of course Miss Cheeta has to stay with her mum until she is 5 months old, but Nicole and ed visit often, so i am sure, Nicole will enjoy watching her grow up. I also know how happy Sam will be for her mum to have an alpaca of her very own, just like Sam has.
Happy Xmas Ed, Nicole, Sam and all the Hunt family.

Ultra fine fleece Bale-Alpaca

The main reason we farm alpacas is for their fleece, with most alpaca breeders aim is to breed as fine and consistant throughout the body of the alpaca. The above fleece shot, is our finest tested to date, atr 12.6 micron. We are very proud of our boy, and we have a few morewith absolutely beautiful fine fleeces, but consistant throughout the body of the alpaca.

Mariah Hill Alpacas have always bred fine, without sacrificing the style, handle, density, coverage, but with increased Lustre, increasing the frequency of crimp, and heavy staples, preferring the matchstick style staples.

With Australia's Ultra Fine fleece bale in Mind, a great detail has been taken this year to prepare all the fleeces, and although the alpacas had previouslt been sorted out in the colours and microns prior to shearing.

The rain, gale and storms we had this weekend, proved that all the alpacas had to put together as a herd for protection from the winds and rain.

Elyse though had made detailed planning on how she was going to manage the shearing shed.

She had studied shearing shed managment at her wool classing courses at Deakin University in Geelong. Elyse has also assisted in fleece sorting at AAFl, which has given her a great understanding of fleeces, and how it is expected the fleeces to be handed in.

We are also very lucky at this farm, that are fleeces keep considerably clean from debris. they can be dusty though, especially over the past couple of years, after almost 10 years of drought, our land like others is drying out.

and although we do get good rainfall, this year is the first time, i have seen dust come off our alpacas, even just after a rain storm.

this video is of Adele', who is on her way to Canada, although the pictrure may not be overly clear, as i took this with my mobile phone, you can still identify the high lustre her fleece holds.

super soft handle, and superb high frequency, even crimp style. I hope you enjoy the video.

The shearer is Mike Snow, my husband ROb, and a friend and fellow alpaca breeder Ed, also assisted in handling the alpacas, placing on tables, and feeding the alpacas to the shearer.

You can see here, that Mike is shearing with two tables, so as one is being shorn, the other table, the shorn alpacas is unloaded off the table, and the the next one is placed on the table.

We were lucky today to Have also a fellow alpaca breeder Rose Thorougood helping us, that was fantastic, as it was her birthday. Sam was not feeling well, but she was really wanting to come and help, thanks Sam, we really appreciate that you have a great heart, and wanted to help us.

And of course, if it was not for elyse, what can i say, she is the heart beat of our alpaca ranch, both Rob and I are so grateful to have such a gorgeous daughter that is always there for us both.

Alpaca shearing 2008, Mariah Hill Alpacas & Exports

The past few days, we have been shearing most of the herd. With heaps of thanks to Ed Hunt, and of Course Rose Thorougood, and of course my husband ROb, and ELyse as shed manager, sorting fleees, taking fleece samples, organisation of the shearing shed, and alpacas to be shorn.
The alpacas were really looking to be shorn, they just laid on the table and just were almost begging for the shearing. Monday was cold, and still drizzling, yesterday it got up into the 20's and today we were up to 25 degrees, but then they are predicting really bad thunder, lightenng, halstones, rain, and gale force winds for 3-4 days. We really do not know how the weather is going to pan out, so all alpacas bhave been moved to safe protected areas of the farm. Thanks Mike Snow also, he has been fantastic, and made sure that our main herd, especially our super and ultra fine alpacas were shorn before the really hot weather comes. We really appreciate him, and would recommend him as an alpaca shearer to anyone looking for a reliable shearer. Already, some of the alpacas have been sweating and their fleeces were really ready to be shorn.

Friday, November 21, 2008

BUsy time with quarantines

With Christmas looming, we have been busy.
trying to make sure all the alpacas that are meant to go overseas are all booked in. Sometimes this is a bit hard to organise, and try and pick up all the alpacas around the countryside. We do our best to please. But most of all, to try and make it as easy as possible for the importer overseas.
i know how difficult it is to organise pick ups, but from overseas, it is harder for the people to get onto the right people.
Elyse has been to South Australia last week, and did not get home until 4am in the morning, to pick up a group of alpacas,.
Rob & i were suppose to go to NSw this weekend, to pick up some alpacas, but this trip has been canceled, as there are weather alerts everywhere.
pparantly the storms were extremely bad interstate.Next week, elyse is back to SDouth Australia, to pick up more alpacas.
It is a busy time, as today she is sorting out fleeces, and sorting alpacas into their colours and microns, for when we start shearing next week.

Money Angel

I hope to all

who read this blog, is touched by the Money Angel, at the moment i think we all need some good luck.

so i hope this spreads into your household.

best wishes


It seems that people like to spread rumors.
i have heard along a grape vine of some rumors spread about myself and our farm.
Please anyone who does hear these unfounded rumors, ignore them.
All industries seem to have the ones that will spread and enjoy listening to rumors.
usually like in this case they are all unfounded, and usually set to upset business for others.
My husband, daughter and i work on the principle, to do the right thing by others, and that is all we try to do.
we do not spread rumors, and sick of those who do.
Hopefully, these will go full circle to the one who has started these rumors.

Monday, November 17, 2008




Daakota (Primera's Cria sired by EP Killawaski), and Primera, have just arrived in Belgium at Alpakalandgoed Alpaca Stud in Laakdal, Belgium. They now join English Rose, Primera's last cria, sired By Bozedown Celebrity.

Black Onyx has now entered quarantine on his way to Alpakalandgoed, Belgium, and he will be at Stud in Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, as Yvonne and her husband Olivier also do Mobile matings with their stud males across most of the surrounding countries to Belgium.
Black Onyx, Champion winning alpaca

Yvonne and Olivier has also purchased Sundance Kid, as their future Solid white Stud male. He has a superb fleece and extremely fine.
Micron 17
SD 3.3
CV 19.5
Conf F 100
Spin F 16.3
Date tested 29/10/08
Sundance kid

These two photos were taken at sunset, and so there is a different hue on the alpacas.

We look forward to working with Yvonne & Olivier, as we have sent a few alpacas over in this shipment.

Snow Drifter, Solid white stud male, stunning in every aspect. Solid Bone, broad chest, magnificant head, crimp, coverage, and extremely dense. Remember we have red soil here, and so on the outside the alpacas may not look white, but when you open their fleece, they are stunning. now Drifter is sired By the famous Cristiano, (allianza Old, from Peru).
Cristiano has sired Mariah Hill Khan, who was for many years, ( i have not heard as yet if his record has been beaten ), the highest tested S/P ratio in the world 16:1, if you are into SRS. Many of his female progeny also have been used around the world for donor animals for the ET programs.
Kasarni, (Dk Fawn female Sired by Olympic Dream (full Accoyo), son of Stefano (full Accoyo)), Austar Solid Black future Stud male, and Aailyah (solid white, super fine female), Absolutely stunning fleece.
When the fleece tester (who tests for th Ultra fine Bale), tested Kasarni's, and Aailyah's fleece, his comments were about their SD.
Aailyah's SD being 3.2, when it is so low, he said these are the SD that are the improvers, to get a SD low on a female over 12 months of age on her second fleece, still carrying a 17 micron fleece, means that these traits will be passed on.
These are the type of alpacas we should be breeding.
If you would like to see more on these alpacas, go to
or ask Yvonne and Olivier they can be contacted at
Strasse Steenbergenveld 6
2430 Laakdal
Telefon 014750420
Telefax 014750420

Snow Drifter