North Canterbury, New Zealand
Breeding philosophy at Honeyfields
Breeding objectives
Alpaca fibre is becoming increasingly sought after in the manufacture of top of the range luxury fabrics for the fashion industry. The lustre, and the soft and silky handle and drape of fabrics from pure alpaca, has caught the attention of high quality processors, fashion designers and astute consumers alike. Those people at the forefront of the fashion industry tell us that the fact that alpacas grow this amazing fibre in a wide range of natural colours makes alpaca fibre unique in the world of fibre producing animals.

It is clear to us therefore, that our main breeding focus must be to breed alpacas which can deliver fibre which will meet the needs of this growing industry. We have elected to focus on white and fawn huacaya alpacas in the first instance but in the long term would like to apply our breeding objectives to darker coloured alpacas as well.

In order to achieve our goal of breeding top class alpacas with high value commercial fleeces we selectively breed for:
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Alpacas with good conformation over an above average sized frame.
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Alpacas with good constitutions who breed easily.   
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Fleeces which are dense and have superior staple length
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Fleeces with minimal guard hair and a high secondary to primary fibre ratio and less than a 10 micron variation between primary and secondary fibres
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Fleeces which hold their micron to less than a 5 micron increase by the fifth shear
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Fleeces which have a soft and silky handle
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Fleeces which are consistent throughout the fleece with good definition.
Breeding strategies

Our strategy to achieve our breeding objectives is simple - it’ s all about planning, planning and more planning!! After attending a workshop with Dr Jim Watts  a number of years ago where we first gained an insight into a breeding philosophy which was logical and had a scientific basis, and after a lot more research into the topic, it has been our strategy for the last few years to follow a program of selective matings whereby each female is reviewed for her strengths and weaknesses before selecting the best sire available to us to improve the weaker trait or traits so that the resulting cria is always better than his/her dam.    

We endeavour to only retain in the herd those females that demonstrate some or all of the breeding objectives we have set, and we outsource stud males as and when necessary.   We have found that if we select specifically for high fleece weights, long fibre length, strong crimp definition, minimal guard hair and soft handle, we are seeing an improvement in those qualities in our cria, our average across herd average micron is reducing, and our stock is becoming sought after.

 


Honeyfields Alpacas 691 Tram Road  Ohoka R D 2 Kaiapoi 7692 New Zealand
Phone: 03 312 0316 or 021 0514 359