[alpaca_fibre] Re: fiber herds

  • From: jan/nat sherrill <alpacas@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: alpaca_fibre@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 26 Jun 2004 06:48:30 -0700

Hello BJ and Ian,
        This issue has interested me for quite awhile and there have 
been long discussions on alpacasite about gelding males.  I did write 
to  David Anderson suggesting that they add a topic for a vet round 
table at the next winter vet  conference but didn't get far with that.

        The question of what to do with all the males who are not 
going to be herdsires should be in the forefront of our minds now 
before it becomes a huge problem to deal with.

         Perhaps either of  you can suggest other avenues we could go 
in trying to see what the physical problems of the early geldling 
would actually be?   It seems that  we should establish exactly what 
the parameters are before deciding what is the best way to deal with 
the non-herdsire males.  We talk a bout the long legs but wouldn't it 
be useful if someone like Jerry Forstner with his huge herd actually 
took a group of males and did early gelding then followed them for a 
period of years?  Or took several groups and did different 
treatm;ents and watched the progress.   Scientific studies aren't 
that difficult to set up if you have some extra resources.

Celestial Alpacas
Paso Robles, CA

>The major problem with finding well priced fibre animals is all to do
>with service fees and little else, it seems to me. When a breeder is
>paying the exorbitant fees that some males attract it is always going
>to be an uphill battle for the breeder of a faq male cria to get their
>money back, let alone make a profit. Breeders have several choices:
>1. they can sell the animal for a low fee and ammortise the loss into
>the next female they breed, or
>2. they can use lower cost males as sires.
>I have just had several quite lengthy phone calls with several
>Australian breeders on just this subject and the word I am getting is
>that there is now a wider choice of quality males available for service
>in Australia for under $1000. One man I spoke with has spent over
>$80,000 on a white male which he put out for work at $1500 a service.
>he has dropped that to $900 with a return service for free if the cria
>is not registered. When you realise that less than 10% of all the males
>born in Australia are registered for use as sires, you may appreciate
>the importance of these price movements. I suspect that these price
>movements may well result in fewer breeders owning males as its
>financial attractiveness becomes less and less.
>The main reason later castration, as advocated by many, is the
>seemingly extra length of leg bone in animals that are castrated at
>less than 18 months.
>I have yet to see this nor have I seen anything that indicates this is
>deleterious to the animals health. Longer legs does not automatically
>translate into weaker legs however, it would transgress the showing
>My view is that fibre animals will probably only have a financially
>productive life of five or six years after which they will either
>become pets or rugs. In the longer term, skins and meat (in that order)
>will become very important economic byproducts of fibre and animal
>production. If I am right and the alpaca wether has a commercial life
>of shorter duration than breeding females, then leg length becomes even
>more unimportant.
>It has been suggested that castrating before the influence of
>testosterone is reflected in fibre fineness blowout, is a singularly
>good enough reason to castrate sooner rather than later. This is
>something that I would support.
>At the moment, compiling a herd of quality fibre animals would have to
>be very challenging!
>I am afraid that I do not know enough about the US industry to suggest
>where you might start in sourcing these animals - perhaps someone else
>might have an idea or two?
>Kindest regards,
>On Thursday, Jun 10, 2004, at 11:36 US/Pacific, BJ Forster wrote:
>>  Hello Ian,
>>  I attended the workshop you held at Champion Alpacas as well as
>>  listened to
>>  you at the Fiber To Fashion Conference in Reno this year.
>>  You and several other speakers really helped clarify what I want to do
>  > with
>>  my alpacas.  I don't want to be an alpaca breeder selling breeding
>>  stock.
>>  I am interested in the fiber for my own use and other local crafters. 
>>  I
>>  currently have 5 suri males, 2 pregnant  suri females and one gelded
>>  huacaya.  When you were talking about Australia's fiber herds, you
>>  mentioned that the fiber males were gelded at 6 weeks and kept for 5
>>  to 6
>>  years.  All of the vet books I have read, do not recommend gelding a
>>  male
>>  until he is 18 months old.   What are the downsides to gelding so
>>  young?
>>  Of course, the other problem I am running into is that everyone wants
>>  to
>>  charge more for the animal than the fiber is worth.
>>  I would appreciate any comments on starting a fiber herd.  Several of
>>  my
>>  fellow crafters would like to  have good fiber animals without the
>>  associated expense and problems of breeding females.  Again, they can't
>>  afford the high prices that so many breeders want to charge.
>>  Sincerely,
>>  BJ Forster
>>  ---
>>  List Name: Alpaca Fibre Production
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>Ian Watt
>Morro Bay
>The International Alpaca Handbook is here!
>List Name: Alpaca Fibre Production
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Jan Sherrill
Celestial Alpacas
Paso Robles, CA,USA
List Name: Alpaca Fibre Production
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