The Latest On: Alpacas

QB Peru Tour in Alpaca Magazine

It all started at Kansas Airport, returning from being the the official colour checking assistant to senior US judge Jude Anderson during the US Futurity Show. We were joined at the departure lounge by Amanda VandenBosch, who had judged the show together with Peter Kennedy, and was now focused on her next mission.

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The Quechua Benefit Ambassador Program: From Down Under to the Mountain Top (part two)

For the Corani EPD project to succeed in the dual goal of 1) increasing the price of the co-op’s fleece and 2) simultaneously improving the genetics of the member’s alpacas, it needed a micron measurement device. I consulted with Angus McColl of Yocom-McColl Testing Laboratories in Denver, Colorado, who recommended an OFDA 2000, manufactured by BSC Electronics of Australia.

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Genetic Change, Part Four: Generational Interval

Generation interval affects the rate of genetic change simply because the more rapidly one generation of improved alpacas replaces the previous one, the faster the gain. It is determined by the average age of 1) producing males and 2) females in a given herd. Alpacas have a generation interval of four to six years for females and approximately five years for males, although this interval will vary from herd to herd.

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Genetic Change, Part Three: Genetic Variation

Genetic variation is extremely important to the rate of genetic gain. The more variation for a particular trait in a population, the more potential there is for change. EPD’s allow breeders to maximize the use of genetic variation. They become a scientific way to use corrective mating together with variability between alpacas to your advantage.

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Genetic Change, Part Two: Selection Intensity

Selection intensity means being highly selective of the progeny produced by the high-quality parents you have chosen for foundation stock, and retaining in your herd only the offspring that exhibit a superior expression of the heritable qualities for which you are selecting. This ensures that breeding values will remain high and that each generation of offspring should improve.

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Peru’s first export of alpacas in over 100 years

High-quality alpacas were exported to the United States beginning in 1993 and lasting through 1998. Simultaneously alpacas were exported to Canada, Australia and Europe. In over 30 countries today, alpacas are bred in a more calculated fashion than is commonly the case in South America. This has led to the improvement of the breed worldwide, including in Peru.

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Alpacas: An Origin Story

There is an old Quechua myth that tells the story of a princess, the daughter of an Apu, who lived in Lake Titicaca and was given a dowry of alpacas when she married a young boy who lived on the shores of the lake. But there is another theory that in some ways could in be consistent with both of these hypotheses.

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