The Art and Science of Breeding

We had a very informative and interesting Saturday afternoon talking about how to decide on which stud male to use for your dams.  Jay covered some of the theory, talking about the various parameters that you need to consider such as your aims for breeding, fibre quality of the stud and dam, colour, the qualities the stud gives to his offspring, the pedigree and colour ancestry of the stud and dam, conformation of the stud and dam, etc.  There is a lot to consider and a good breeder can help with their detailed knowledge of their studs and the attributes they can influence over your dam and hopefully improve in the cria.

Roger then introduced some of his studs and talked about their fleece qualities.  We moved on to look at some groups of very cute cria sired by the studs we had already seen.  Knowing the dams the cria were from, Roger explained how some of the studs didn’t massively improve on fleece stats for dams that didn’t have particularly good fleece themselves but were able to sire very good cria from good dams – often given the term ‘polishers’.  Other studs were able to improve fleece quality for most of their offspring compared to their dams – known as ‘improvers’.

Thank you to Roger for hosting the event and to Roger and Jay for sharing their knowledge and experience.

AGM & Pasture Management

WSAG AGM ‪23rd February, 1pm (lunch) 1.30 AGM start, at Stoke Bliss & Kyre Village Hall WR15 8RR, followed by a talk by Cotswold Seeds on Pasture Management, with any questions welcomed from the floor – really useful for new and experienced owners. If there is anything specific you’d like them to cover let us know in advance!

We’re putting on lunch, just let us know if you have any dietary requirements.

Now for the formal bit!

The AGM is an important meeting for the group, it’s where members get the chance to openly discuss how the group operates, provide ideas for events or activities, elect committee members and see how group funds have been spent across the year.

Hopefully we’ve bribed you enough with a useful external speaker and the promise of a good lunch (we don’t skimp!) but on a serious note, it would be great if we could see as many of you there as possible!

Please confirm attendance at info@WSAG.org.uk along with any allergies/dietary requirements and we will make sure we accommodate!🦙😊🥪🥗🍰🥦🍍🥕!

Winter Social 🎄

It was really great to see so many of you at the WSAG winter social. We certainly managed to fill the pub and both the food and the company were excellent! 🍾🥘🍻

We know that many of you travelled some distance to be there, so thank you! We hope the event was a success and that you enjoyed the evening.

As we head into the festive season we would like to wish you all a very🎄Merry Christmas🎄 and all the very best for 2020🔔

Don’t forget, the next event is the AGM and talk on Pasture Management in February, preceded by our now traditional veritable feast, hope to see you there!

Basic Husbandry

Thank you to everyone that joined us at Abberley Alpacas on Saturday (19th October) and a special thanks to Jay, Hilary and Ginnie for sharing their knowledge and experience for a very informative and valuable Alpaca Husbandry session. We hope everyone took away something useful from this afternoon. 

See you next at the Midlands Championship on the 9th November…..if anyone is available on the Friday 8th and would like to help we do still need some manpower for setup, all offers gratefully received!

Fleece – what does it all mean?

We all had a great day yesterday at Pure Alpacas courtesy of Hilary and Jay.

People brought their fleece with show result cards and histograms and Jay meticulously explained what it all meant – along with various history lesson opportunities along the way!

When we were done with looking at fleece it was time for a delicious barbecue – it was noted that lots of people went back for seconds…..and thirds… 😊

In summary – great weather, great company, a great learning experience and a fantastic spread to round it all off! 

Craft Show Judging & BBQ

On Sunday we had the WSAG Craft Show judging followed by a BBQ.

Whilst the weather was unkind, in true British BBQ fashion, we adapted, with Iain (aka ‘Grumpy Chef’) cooking under a gazebo while the rain poured down and everybody else took refuge inside.

It might have been wet, but our spirits certainly weren’t dampened, and we had a very good and well attended event with good food and good company.

Our thanks go to Julia & Adam Berry for kindly hosting this for us and to the expert judges drafted in from the wider craft world.

BBQ!

Following the craft show judging on Sunday 9th June we’re having a BBQ for members – an opportunity to chat ‘alpaca’ and to see the results of the craft show.  Food will be ready from 5pm. Hope to see you there !

Mill Visit

We had a great day yesterday at The Mill at Clivewood, kindly hosted by Caroline and Ian Oakes.  We were shown around their newly established mill that’s dedicated to processing alpaca fibre and saw all the machinery and processes involved in taking raw fleece and turning  it into finished yarn. Caroline also showed us around her weaving studio showing us her many looms and the different pieces of work she has in progress.

It was a very well attended event with around twenty members present. Our sincere thanks go to Caroline and Ian for inviting us into their home and putting on a lovely event (and feeding us so well too!) that was both informative and social.

DON’T FORGET – the next event is the Royal Three Counties Show at the Malvern Showground 14th-16th June. VOLUNTEERS WELCOMED to help set up and run the show. If interested please let us know at info@wsag.org.uk.

Mill Visit

Don’t forget the mill visit 11th May, 2pm at Clivewood Farm (SY4 5PR) where you’ll learn all about what happens to your crop when you send it to the mill.

You’ll also learn about what you can do to maximise the quality of your processed fibre and what you can do to make the lives of your friendly millers easy…. and keep them friendly 😊

You have fibre – they have the means to process it, come along and take a look!

All About the Fibre #2

Today saw the second part of the West Shires Alpaca Group ‘All About The Fibre’ session, and we went south in the region to Apperley village hall in Gloucestershire. We had another good turn out and discussed selling wholesale, commercial processing and processing by hand and the various routes to market and what’s worked well for different people. Thank you to everyone for sharing their experiences and knowledge – lots of food for thought.

Talking of food we were also well supplied with plenty of yummy home made cake 🍰 and tea and coffee too!

Hopefully it was a helpful session that shed some light on what you can do with your fibre and the many choices of processes it can go through – a key theme running through the session is to always ‘start with the end in mind’ so that you make clear decisions on which processes you put your harvest through, drive efficiency and optimise your return.

Look out for the follow-up info sheet which will be available shortly.

Looking forward to the mill visit – date for your diary: 11th May at The Mill at Clivewood, Shropshire.