At Walkley we have really focused on producing elite stock from top-class females and proven SRS Sires. We now have over 100 high-quality dams and a number of elite male sires as well as access to external males.
Genetically speaking, your probability of getting an improvement with an average female – even covered by a quality male – is proportionately less than if you have a both a top class male and female. It also means we can really focus on nurturing highquality dams, while making the most of new stud males as they come through that are better and more pre-potent than the previous generation. We believe that if the industry is not producing better Sires than the previous generation every few years, then we are failing.
Of course, if we’re lucky enough to breed a great stud male of course we’ll use him. But we won’t stop looking for better. The next – even better – male is always just around the corner (ruthless, but true).
Clear data on every animal’s pre-potency is so important for a modern commercial stud, so we only pair Alpaca with full prepotency statistics on both sides. And that goes for their progeny, too. After all, it’s one thing for an individual animal to show great data and characteristics, but this is only valuable if these characteristics are being passed on reliably to subsequent generations.
For us this procedure is very much the norm. All the information for each animal is kept on detailed scorecards which we always provide to any fellow breeders we work with.
Successful breeding relies on understanding the probability of strong genes being passed on from each individual animal. We’ve developed a scientific breeding process to help us do that. Our process has six steps:
The old-fashioned part of the process: we inspect the physical traits and the feel of the animal by hand – checking its conformation, luster and handle.
After shearing we scientifically test each and every fleece. On each animal’s scorecard we record its fineness, total shear weight, fleece consistency and length, and the density of its follicles.
Using SRS we look for various fleece markers on each animal, and in some cases an actual sample of the animals skin is assessed. This helps us find the follicle density of the animal, and the diameter of their primary and secondary fibres.
We measure and track how often individual sires and dams pass on their genetics to their cria. It gives us the probability of an animal passing on its genetic traits, and helps us decide on an Alpaca’s breeding potential. We can then assign an ABV (Breeding Value) to the alpaca.
Armed with all this data on each animal’s scorecard, we pair up male and female alpaca to achieve the correct genetic mix. We can specifically target traits that we want to be inherited and predict with some confidence the breeding outcome.
With each breeding cycle we update the scorecard for each alpaca. We start new scorecards for the new generation and measure how often traits are being passed on. Once we have elite females that are shearing above 4kg of 17-19 micron fleece, we’ll also begin to phase in an ET (Embryo Transfer) programme.
After many months of research we recently purchased some Alpacas from Walkley Fields. This company is a professional stud and far from other ‘backyard breeders’ online. The alpacas are not bred for pure profit and come with traceable blood lines and histories. I would not hesitate to recommend Walkley Fields for any Alpaca requirements.Vanessa, May 2020
Kim and I decided to breed 6 of our Females to Walkley Fields males last season. We could not be happier with our experience, Lionel was very professional and went above and beyond to provide excellent advice and great follow up support, we would certainly not hesitate to recommend Walkley Fields in your future breeding program.Bill & Kim - Woolpaca Alpaca Stud