Road to Success

A fleece off a three year old female on the farm
A fleece off a three year old female on the farm

From the first days we started in this industry our aim has been to breed the best quality possible. We feel that it is of utmost importance, from the outset, to select a base herd of the highest quality available. Those high quality animals will form the basis of your future herd and will affect your success for years to come.

Financially if you can breed both quality stud males as well as top stud females from your breeding base herd, you are going to double your money. The higher the quality of your females, the better your chance of breeding a stud male.

Our criteria for selection has always been to only select the elite quality stock. Our vision from the start was to breed fine, dense, lustrous fleece onto a well-balanced frame, and eventually have the whole herd look like peas in a pod.

We have found in all our travels around the world that the bloodlines of Accoyo and Alianza, which we believe have the best recorded breeding programmes in South America, appear to breed on well, and have based our breeding on these lines with the addition of genetics of another excellent breeder in Peru, Tingabamba.

We also put high emphasis on our breeding females, a male can do so much, but if you have two outstanding animals you are sure of breeding quality. On our farm we have found that the top stud females mated to the top stud males produce our successful show team every year and our highest-priced progeny. We have also found that their sons and daughters continue to breed high quality animals.

The alpacas which we sell from these strong genetic lines have continued to breed on, and do well for their new owners in breeding and at shows. We take great pleasure in seeing the success which the new owners achieve when they have purchased our stock, and breed further successful alpacas.

At Shanbrooke, we now run around 200 stud animals on farm with around 100 breeders for embryo transfer work.

Along the Road to Success

Vicunas on the Peruvian Altiplano
Vicunas on the Peruvian Altiplano

Over the past 15 years we have we have travelled to America, Germany, Italy, Ireland, England, Chile and Peru in our search for the best alpacas we could find and along the way we have made many alpaca friends, all with the same common aspiration to breed the best in the world.

Among the most memorable of our trips are our visits to Peru. We have travelled to places in the Altiplano that very few white people have ever seen. The countryside is bare and barren but it has a special beauty to it. You are 5000m above sea level and the view is breathtaking and so is the air.

To reach our destinations we travel on the sides of steep mountains over roads that you could only describe as goat tracks. We travel through rivers and over boulders to reach our destinations and we are sometimes perched on the side of mountains, deciding which track if any we should take next. The air is thin and it is difficult to breath but, when we eventually reach our destination, sometimes 8 hours later, it somehow all seems worthwhile, as we are rewarded with the sight of hundreds of alpacas being herded down the mountains for us to inspect.

The women are usually the shepherds and together with their children they bring the animals in. On one occasion a shepherd told us she had been travelling for 8 hours by foot to bring the herd down for inspection, she had a young baby on her back and 3 other young children with her.

We inspect the animals and buy what we need and then its back onto our dirt track and we settle in for the night.

Peru is a harsh country and we usually suffer from altitude sickness, stomach upsets, bites, headaches and many more complaints along the way but somehow it’s all worth it when you get to see the quality of animals.

A short break on the road in Peru
A short break on the road in Peru

We have made many good friends in Peru in the last fithteen years, and Ron is known around the country side as Mr. Ron. The people of Peru are poor, but I am yet to hear anyone whinging, and the children are always happy.

I would have to say that of all the countries we have visited over the years, and all the people we have met, Peru would have to be my favourite; there is just something special about it.