Clara Bouton – 22 June 2022
This time of year can definitely be described as ‘chaotic’. We are taking in the last few bookings for summer, which will leave us booked up until September, the birthing season has well and truly begun, with 13 beautiful cria on the ground (so far!), and we are back to attending the few country shows near us. Oh, and hay making has also started, a very exciting time!
This year, we are attending both the Royal Cheshire County Show and Royal Lancashire Agricultural Show, both a hop skip and a jump from us. We attend these shows as promotion for our activities; but also to promote alpacas! We have an awful lot of owners approach us, telling us they own one male and one female, or maybe even just one lone alpaca (plus many other ‘bad’ combinations!) who know something doesn’t seem quite right but haven’t really had anyone to help guide them. So we take their name, look at their location, and send them on their way with a list of reputable alpaca farms nearest to them. Even today, at the first day of the Cheshire show, I passed on the names of several breeders in the south east, as well as the Scottish Borders! We try our best to educate these owners as best as possible, and most seem to take the information onboard.
One thing that made this considerably easier was the fantastic new British Alpaca Society Open Farm Day posters! We have these positioned all over the alpaca marque, and there was continuous interest by the public who were taking photos of the QR code and checking who is going to be running an open day near to them. So I hope it translates into some footfall for some of the farms participating!
We also spend a lot of time chatting about alpaca fleece, as we sell all of our handmade products, from the raw fibre, carded fibre, yarn, right up to finished products. We are seeing a huge change in the attitudes of people towards appreciating the value of a handmade item from young to old. A lot of people also really like the idea of buying directly from alpaca farms for their best quality fibre. We spend a bit of time working out what fibre will suit what crafter best, so get marketing your sheared fibre, especially if you are attending any events this year!
After a long day at the show our favourite bit is always the evening checks, where we give our pregnant girls an extra bit of food to check everyone is behaving normally and is nice and interested in food, but at this time of year it is a pleasure to be able to admire the cria.
To top it all off, we are as always feeling so privileged to see the gorgeous hay coming off the fields. Just to give you a snapshot of the fantastic 2021 crop, and if you look down the far left of the cut hay photo from this year you might spot that there is some remaining. There is never any shortage of good quality hay here!!