The month of May has been designated as Australian Alpaca Month for the Australian Alpaca Association and its members. To celebrate, two local alpaca breeders will open their doors to the public and invite anyone interested in alpacas to come and learn about these fascinating creatures and how they are managed on small acreage. Gunnamatta Stud (open May 13 and 14) and Woolpaca Farm (open Sat May 13 only) are just a 10 minute drive from each other and close to the beautiful villages of Galston and Glenorie. Both studs are members of the Hawkesbury-Blue Mountains region of the Australian Alpaca Association.
Alpacas are recognised as all-round environmentally acceptable livestock. With their soft-padded feet, they are very kind to our fragile Australian soils as well as being adaptable to most conditions. Alpacas are easy to manage and, in addition, produce a soft-handling fleece in a range of colours, they are also extremely appealing animals to own. Most people who start out with a couple of alpacas, even as grass-eaters, are soon on the lookout for a few more to complement their herd. The fibre is in high demand overseas and is also very popular with hand spinners. The great range of natural colours means that dying is unnecessary, leaving the fibre with its original silky handle.
Anyone interested in visiting farms in the Hills and Hawkesbury areas during the month of May will receive more information during the Hawkesbury Show on the weekend of May 5-7, where alpaca judging will take place on Saturday May 6th. Alpaca displays and activities will also take place at the Hawkesbury Show on Sunday May 7th. You can also visit the Region’s web site www.hbmalpaca. com.au for more details of the participating farms.
In addition to the open farm days in May, the Alpaca Association is conducting a “Getting Started with Alpacas” seminar on Sat May 20th. The topics cover a wide range of subjects and are presented by experienced farmers from the region and include “hands on” experience with alpacas. You will receive advice on how to choose your farm, what you need to farm alpacas, how to select alpacas, how to look after them, when to shear your alpacas, breeding assistance and what to do with the fleece. This seminar is always well-received and includes lots of practical information.
More information on alpacas and the Australian Alpaca Association can be found at www.alpaca.asn.au or by just coming along to the Open Days in May. For phone enquires please contact AAA – HBM secretary Sue Maynard on 02 9653 2277