As I write this I am preparing for a large Camelid Dynamics course to be run on my farm, with a trainer coming from the USA and learning is at the forefront of my mind. It is exciting to feel we can get back to face to face learning. Useful as Zoom has been, for me it does not replace the benefits gained from interacting with others, getting hands on with alpacas and practicing skills for real.
I have always been keen on learning, but I have realised over the years, that after my initial steep learning curve when I first got alpacas in the 1990s, I had more or less drifted along, picking up an extra bit here and there, for years. About eight years ago I decided it was time to learn more and, of course, the more I learn the more I realise how little I know. I have also realised that many things I initially learnt are no longer appropriate (we started with a ‘breeding pair’, common and acceptable at the time). I now realise that my alpacas are probably healthier, calmer, in better body condition and the cria are growing better than ever before, by applying what I am learning.
Recently I read the newly published Alpaca Teeth book by Alison Quagliani, I’d definitely recommend it; Several articles on nutrition and trace elements (I am a real beginner here!); and Vicunas: Survival of the Finest, with its breathtaking pictures and lots of history, another book I’m pleased I own.
The new BAS webinars are starting again in the autumn, the topics sound exciting and I’m already looking forward to learning something else new. Don’t forget to send in requests if there is a topic you really want covered, it may not be this year, but could be next. Every day is a school day!”