Paul Hetherington

07 March 2022     British Alpaca Society     BAS Board

There are times when I impress my wife – at least I think there was once – and times when she just shakes her head. This was a head shaking moment:

The wheel bearing collapsed on my muck trailer. What should I do? Search eBay for a replacement, get confused by the choice and probably order the wrong size, scrap the trailer, or make my own. Being an engineer, I chose to make my own  – out of wood! This cost nothing and took about 5 minutes – quicker than searching eBay.

Buoyed on by my success in bearing manufacture I moved on to making wooden wheels for my compressor! For some reason Barbara didn’t seem impressed by my achievements!

The birthing season has started for us this year – not here in cold wet Cumbria but in Victoria where, without really intending to, we seem to be building an Australian herd. The girl we bought there four years ago has just produced her second cria – a fawn male. The ‘herd’ is stuck in Australia because the normal import route via New Zealand is closed due to issues validating health checks for animals entering New Zealand. There is no agreement in place for direct import from Australia, maybe something the government should be working on?

Birthing in Cumbria is due to start in mid-April although the early girls tend to hang on a bit longer than expected.

Spring is just around the corner and there is ‘something in the grass’ as they say round here. The alpacas are keen to spend more time outside and less inside devouring haylage. Over winter we were going through a big round bale every two days but that has dropped now to one every four days. This, and the fact that less time inside means three less barrows of muck to pick up every day, has nicely reduced my workload. More time to catch up with all the neglected jobs.

Anticipation is building towards the National Show on 25th March. The show team has been picked and entered – too late for any changes of mind. All we have to do now is keep them clean! After a nice dry January, the ground has been saturated for the whole of February, even when it looks like it is drying up one small rain shower turns everything to mud.

All the cria have now been out on the halter four times, next step is to practice loading the show team into the trailer………..”




Wooden wheels – they worked for the Romans.


What happens when you leave a trailer full of haylage unattended for 30 seconds