In my experience alpacas are addictive, Linda and I started our breeding with four Black female alpacas in 2009 and now have around 150. I am fascinated by genetics and trying to improve the quality of our black alpacas and am very pleased with the progress we have made. To improve we have invested in some good black males and females and have taken a few risks by introducing fawn genetics into the herd and must say I am rather pleased with where we have got to.
Of course, having this number of alpacas has become a full-time job and means I am doing all sorts of work around the farm from mucking out the barn to all the regular husbandry and caring for sick animals. Trying to understand how to keep alpacas healthy and being ready to treat the inevitable illnesses that come along, often discussing and agreeing treatments with our vets is both fascinating and worrying..
Having retired from full time work I have had the time to get involved with our alpacas much more than I ever expected and find the lifestyle we have created very absorbing. Alpacas have become much more than a hobby and have made this last year of COVID and lockdowns bearable.
After 6 years as Chair of the BAS Board I am planning to retire from the chair’s role at this year’s AGM (2021) and may stay on for a while to ensure there is an effective handover if fellow Board members feel it useful. It has been an interesting and challenging few years working with the other board members and seeing the changes to the society over that time, where our membership has grown from 1276 to 1576 members.
I have found my board colleagues to have worked hard on behalf of the membership even though there seems to be some level of mistrust in the board from a few members no matter who the board members are. I do find this strange, as all I have seen is board members working in the best interests of the society and not themselves.
COVID has meant the Board has had to use Zoom for its meeting and in the course of the last year I feel we have become more focussed and efficient in part because of that medium. Zoom has been a wonderful innovation and has led to new thinking of how BAS can deliver more value to its members through Zoom education, improved participation with online voting and the of course the BAS Chat forum on Facebook. In my view Zoom and Chat have enabled us to become much more of an inclusive society reaching our members across the UK.
Linda and I are looking forward to meeting our friends again as we return to showing and hopefully lockdown becomes a distant memory.