A passionate alpaca breeder.
Showtime: this is how alpacas are bred in England.
The wool of the black alpacas is one of only a few natural materials which is entirely black without the need to be dyed. Australian-born Tim Hey has specialised in breeding these rare alpacas. With his alpacas, he takes part in a prize-giving ceremony during which the wool of these amiable mammals from South America is being judged. In the thick of things is his Sprinter with which the sheared wool is transported to a factory for further processing. The chances are good but will it be enough for first place?
Amberley Farm – the home of the Inca alpacas.
The Sprinter is an important part of the business.
"Whether it's for transporting feed to our alpacas, bringing hay from A to B or for moving our wool."
Unique characters from abroad.
Alpacas originate from South America where they tend to live in the Andes region. They are perfectly adapted to the cold climate of high altitudes and are often bred in Peru, Bolivia and Chile. As a result of this, they are extremely efficient at getting the most out of their food: they take as many nutrients as possible out of their fodder. "It's a great help that we have much better pastures here in the UK than in South America – here, the alpacas grow much more quickly." What makes the long-necked animals so appealing to Tim? "They are very individual and all have their own personality. Some are very trusting and seek contact with humans, but others are a little more reserved."
Love at first sight: Tim and his alpacas.
7 interesting facts about alpacas.
|1. Alpacas are herd animals: in order to feel good, they need to be surrounded by their own kind. That's why they should never be kept alone.|
|2. Alpacas tend to keep distance: even among themselves, it's rare that they touch each other. They prefer to clean themselves and favour a bit of distance.|
|3. Alpacas don't have specific requirements when it comes to their fodder: they primarily eat fresh grass and hay in winter. Per day, an alpaca needs between 2.5 and 3.5 kilogrammes of feed.|
|4. The life expectancy of alpacas is between 20 and 25 years.|
|5. 80 percent of the world's alpacas live in Peru.|
|6. If an alpaca feels threatened or if the hierarchy needs clarifying, it will start spitting|
|7. An adult alpaca can grow as much as a metre in height (up to its back) and can weigh up to 75 kilogrammes; studs can even weight up to 80 kilogrammes. In comparison to llamas, the animals are much smaller and lighter.|
Really fluffy alpaca wool.
The juicy green pastures of southern England prove to be advantageous in helping alpacas thrive.
A special type of wool.
With the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Tim transports the alpaca wool directly to a factory in Manchester.
Winner in all categories:
Tim can be proud of his work with the alpacas.