Alpaca Chat Social

The Northern Ireland Alpaca Group is delighted to announced the following event:

ALPACA CHAT SOCIAL

Sunday 20 October

1pm – 4pm

Lough Neagh Discovery Centre, Lurgan

This event is open to everyone, members and non-members alike. It will be a relaxed and hopefully very enjoyable afternoon with lots of opportunities for alpaca newbies or prospective owners to ask questions about the breed as well as see first hand what can be done with the fleece!

Some of our members will be hosting demonstrations of fleece processing techniques and also crafts such as felting & spinning.

Add in some refreshments and you’ve got a recipe for every alpaca lover’s perfect Sunday afternoon!

For any questions or if you require any further information, please email chair@alpacani.org.

NIAG at Spinning Yarns, Antrim

The Northern Ireland Alpaca Group was delighted to once again showcase all things alpaca and alpaca fleece at the Spinning Yarns festival.

Held on Saturday 31 August and Sunday 1 September 2019, NIAG created an ‘Alpaca Zone’, showing the whole process of alpaca fibre processing, ‘From Field to Fashion’.

The event allowed us the opportunity to raise awareness of the alpaca community in Northern Ireland, educate the general public on the wonders of alpaca fleece and promote key alpaca welfare messages to current and prospective owners and breeders. Over the course of two days we engaged with a huge number of people, from right across Northern Ireland and beyond.

Commenting at the event, Lee Kane, Chair of the Northern Ireland Alpaca Group, said:

“As alpaca enthusiasts, nothing gives us greater pleasure than spending two days talking about nothing but alpacas! We love our animals, we care deeply for them and are always grateful for the opportunity to promote the wonderful world of alpaca keeping to others.

“As I have said many times, it is essential that anyone thinking about keeping alpacas takes the time to do lots of research, to talk to current owners and breeders and to develop a strong, basic understanding of what is involved in looking after these amazing creatures. Events like Spinning Yarns gives us the opportunity to meet with people interested in alpacas and to support them in their journey.”

The NIAG Committee would like to thank all those members who came along to the event, especially those who brought alpacas, brought alpaca products or helped to staff the NIAG display over the two days.

NIAG Halter Show 2019

More than 30 alpacas and their owners descended upon the showgrounds at Gosford Forest as the Northern Ireland Alpaca Group once again hosted its annual Judged Halter Show as part of Armagh County Show on June 8.

As always, the alpacas attracted large crowds searching for something a little bit different in amongst the cattle and sheep, and despite ominous skies, the rain held off to enable us to put on a great spectacle for the public!

This year’s show was judged by Rob Bettinson of Toft Alpaca Stud and we were also pleased to welcome first time exhibitors, Briar Ridge Alpacas, to the show. As always, the standard in the ring was high with some lengthy deliberations and insightful comments from the judge, which were appreciated by the exhibitors and non ‘paca peeps’ alike!

Our thanks as ever go to those that work so hard behind the scenes to make this event happen; to our show secretary Roger Clarke, to the committee at Armagh Show, to our generous sponsors, to Rob for his expertise, to Paul MacDonnell from the AAI who performed his ring steward duties with aplomb and to all our exhibitors, without whom there would be no show!  Congratulations go to everyone who took home rosettes, sashes and cups, with special mention to Ballymac Alpaca who took the Supreme Champion Huacaya title with their wonderful young male, Houghton Prometheus; and to Amberly Alpacas who took home the Supreme and Reserve Champion Suri titles, plus Reserve Champion Huacaya.  A full list of results is published under our Show section here. Our sincere thanks also to Melani Poulsen, who took these fabulous photographs!

Supreme Champion Huacaya, Houghton Prometheus, with owners Lesley & Aaron of Ballymac Alpaca
Supreme Champion Suri, Popham Polaris, and Reserve Supreme Champion Huacaya, Popham Kane of Amberly, with owners Roger & Elaine from Amberly Alpacas

NIAG AGM 2019

The 2019 Annual General Meeting of the Northern Ireland Alpaca Group will be held as follows:

Date – Sunday 7 April 2019

Time – 2.30pm

Venue – Premier Inn, Lisburn

The Group would like to extend a special invitation to all alpaca owners, breeders and enthusiasts from across Northern Ireland to join us at the meeting.

For more information please contact Lee Kane, NIAG Chair, at chair@alpacani.org.

BAS Affiliate Training – Saturday 9 February 2019

 

Roger & Elaine Clarke of Amberly Alpacas, will be delivering BAS Affiliate Training in association with the Northern Ireland Alpaca Group and the Alpaca Association of Ireland.

WHAT?….The BAS Affiliate programme is composed of 11 modules in total (as detailed below). These will be categorised and delivered over a number of different days (Day 1 & Day 2)

WHERE?…In order to facilitate attendance; the training will be hosted by Amberly Alpacas in N.Ireland and Hushabye Farm Alpacas In ROI.

WHEN?…Day 1 Training-Saturday 9th February 2019 at Amberly Alpacas and Saturday 16th February 2019 at Hushabye Farm Alpaca

 

COST?… The course fee is £90 per person, including refreshments. NIAG Members can available of a £20 on each place booked. Anyone not currently a member of NIAG can join ahead of booking to receive the discounted rate.

ABOUT…
DAY 1; will encompass Modules 1-5 and is aimed at prospective and new alpaca owners (as well as anyone wishing to avail of revised training)

Module 1:   Catching your alpaca
Module 2:   Fitting a head collar
Module 3:   Halter training
Module 4:   Feeding and basic management
Module 5:   Vaccination, worming and supplements

 

DAY 2; will feature all aspects of Modules 6-11 and is aimed at prospective, new and experienced breeders/keepers.

Module 6:   Alpaca breeding
Module 7:   Alpaca mating
Module 8:   Birthing
Module 9:   Shearing
Module 10: What do to with fleece
Module 11: Marketing your alpaca business

(Dates for Day 2 modules will be announced in due course)

 

Please contact Roger and Elaine at Amberly Alpacas (amberlyalpacas@yahoo.co.uk) for details of these practical courses; including times, pricing and booking.

NIAG Annual Halter Show 2018

Roger & Elaine Clarke of Amberly Alpacas pictured with judge Jo Bridge and their Supreme and Reserve Supreme Champion Huacayas.

After much planning and preparation, members of the Northern Ireland Alpaca Group gathered at Gosford Estate on June 9 for the group’s annual halter show, judged this year by Jo Bridge and with a number of new exhibitors showing for the first time.

Beautiful sunshine and a vibrant show atmosphere made for a truly enjoyable day, with a steady stream of visitors to the arena throughout the day and plenty of opportunities for members to introduce them to the wonderful world of alpacas as the judging continued apace.

Our sincere thanks go to all our generous sponsors; to judge Jo Bridge of Hilly Ridge Alpacas for her insightful and balanced critique of the animals in the ring; to Paul MacDonnell of Hushabye Farm Alpacas for his expertise as ring steward on the day, and to our volunteer scribes Niall Clayton & Lisa Hughes of MountainView Alpacas, as well as all of our alpaca colleagues from across Ireland who visited on the day, and everyone who came to see the animals, ask questions and learn more.  The results are published below and congratulations go to all exhibitors on their success.

Judge Jo Bridge deep in deliberation

Aaron Faulkner of Ballymac Alpaca pictured in the ring with his Champion Black alpaca, Hushabye Farm Cassius Clay

Kathleen Mathers of Ashtonelle Alpacas, with Ashtonelle Bamboozled

Lots of prizes up for grabs

Winners in the Junior Female classes

Results:

Class (Huacaya) Name Placing
Junior White Female Amberly Simply Starstruck 1st
Junior Fawn Female Amberly Keep The Faith 1st
Junior Grey/Rose Grey Female Amberly Glass Slipper 1st
Junior Black Female Edenderry Lovestruck Aphrodite 1st
Junior White Male Amberly Fire & Ice 1st
Junior Fawn Male Ballymac Beau 1st
Junior Brown Male Amberly Reckless Behaviour 1st
Intermediate White Female Ashtonelle Bridget the Midget 1st
Intermediate Brown Female Edenderry Liberty Belle 1st
Intermediate Black Female Edenderry Titania’s Dream 2nd
Intermediate White Male Beck Brow Hey Now of Amberly Ashtonelle Bamboozled 1st                                       2nd
Intermediate Black Male Hushabye Cassius Clay 1st
Adult/Senior White Male Popham Spitfire 1st
Adult/Senior Fawn Male Beck Brow Bees Knees of Amberly   Atkins Julius 1st                                       2nd
Multi-Coloured (male/female) Ashtonelle Ceilidh 1st
Amberly New Sensation 1st
Pet/Wether Ashtonelle Buddy Boy 1st
Houghton Black Knight 2nd
Amberly Blackout 3rd
Class (Suri) Name Placing
Junior Light Female Amberly Suri Illusive 1st
Amberly Suri Grace & Mercy 2nd
Intermediate White Male Amberly Suri Invitation Only 1st

Championship Classes

Huacaya Colour Championships Name
Champion White (sponsored by The Coffee Dock) Beck Brow Hey Now of Amberly
Reserve Champion White Ashtonelle Bamboozled
Champion Fawn (sponsored by Joan McCammon) Beck Brow Bees Knees of Amberly
Champion Brown (sponsored by Pure Alpacas) Amberly Reckless Behaviour
Champion Grey (sponsored by Sperrinview Alpacas) Amberly Glass Slipper
Champion Black (sponsored by Alpacas of Cornwall) Hushabye Cassius Clay
Champion Multi (sponsored by KDM Hire Ltd) Amberly New Sensation
Best Pet(sponsored by Ashtonelle Alpacas) Ashtonelle Buddy Boy
Supreme Champion Huacaya (sponsored by Alpaca Association of Ireland) Beck Brow Hey Now of Amberly
Reserve Champion Huacaya (sponsored by Blackberry Alpacas) Beck Brow Bees Knees of Amberly
Supreme Champion Suri (sponsored by CS Alpacas) Amberly Suri Invitation Only
Reserve Champion Suri (sponsored by Iveagh Veterinary Surgery) Amberly Suri Illusive
Overall Judges Choice (sponsored by Craig Haylage) Amberly Suri Invitation Only

NIAG Annual Show – Entry Now Open

The NIAG Annual Alpaca Halter Show will be held on Saturday 9 June at Gosford Forest Park, as part of the Armagh County Agricultural Show.

 

Entry for the show is now open, to both NIAG members and non-members. For more information click here.

TRAINING – Birthing and Neonatal Cria Care (27 January 2018)

Amberly Alpacas, in association with the NI Alpaca Group, will be hosting a one-day practical course on pregnancy, birth and neonatal care of alpacas. The course will cover the first few months of an alpaca’s life, exploring:

  • The birthing process, what can go wrong and how to deal with it
  • Management of the newborn
  • Understanding colostrum
  • Congenital deformities
  • Bone development and rickets
  • Understanding and tackling parasites
  • Nutrition and growth
  • Implementing a suitable vaccination programme

The training will be delivered by Sarah Caldwell, Calweton Veterinary Group, and is aimed at alpaca owners, breeders and enthusiasts, along with their vets and other animal health care professionals.  

 

Date                Saturday 27 January 2018

Time                9.30am – 4pm

Venue             Carntall Primary School, Clogher Co Tyrone

Cost                 £50 per person (including lunch)  

 

Places can be booked online via the link below:

http://bit.ly/2j1bLG4  

or by contacting Lee Kane (NIAG Chair) on chair@alpacani.org.  

Alpaca Picnic at Stormont

 

The Northern Ireland Alpaca Group (NIAG) has enjoyed a great day out at their first annual Alpaca Picnic.

 

Alpacas from herds across Northern Ireland were joined by hundreds of visitors in the stunning surroundings of Stormont Estate last Sunday, 27 August.

 

Originally from South America, particularly Peru, Chile and Bolivia, alpacas are closely related to the llama. While llamas have been bred to be big and strong, allowing them to carry heavy loads, alpacas are prized for the fine and luxurious fleece.

 

Alpaca breeders across Northern Ireland produce a range of goods using locally grown alpaca fleece. Some spin the fleece and knit garments, such as jumpers, hats, scarves and gloves. Some use the fleece in the production of felted products. One herd makes a range of luxury bedding products, filled with the fleece.

 

While they are still very rare here, alpacas have been kept and bred in Northern Ireland for the past couple of decades. It is estimated there are about 200 alpacas living in Northern Ireland today, mostly in small herds of ten or fewer.

 

The group, which is a regional sub-group of the British Alpaca Society (BAS), provides an opportunity for alpaca breeders, owners and enthusiasts from across Northern Ireland to come together and share their love of all things alpaca.

 

NIAG Chair, Lee Kane from Causeway Alpacas, Ballycastle, said the day was about showcasing the small, but growing, alpaca community in Northern Ireland.

 

“It’s great to see the interest our animals receive. Many people do not know that there are alpacas living happily in all parts of Northern Ireland. Many are kept as pets, while other are used to guard sheep and hens.

 

“Of course, it’s the fleece that makes the alpaca so special. Softer, yet stronger, than cashmere, it’s easy to see why the fleece has been prized by people all over the world for centuries.”

 

As well as providing a social space for alpaca keepers, the group aims to champion the welfare of alpacas kept in Northern Ireland.

 

Lee continues:

 

“We love our animals and go to great lengths to make sure they are happy and healthy at all times. And we are passionate about helping each other to do the same.

 

“Sadly, we hear too many stories of people buying alpacas from disreputable breeders, without even a basic understanding of how to care for their new animals.

 

“We strongly advise anyone interested in keeping alpacas to do lots of research and to speak to as many breeders as they can before making the leap and getting their first animals. For more information visit the NIAG website – www.alpacani.org