Herdsire selection is one of the most rewarding aspects of breeding, as well as being one of the most enjoyable. Alpaca breeding is described by many as an art, ,and scientific by others, and even luck by some. In actuality, it's probably some of each.
Conscientious alpaca breeders have a specific and defined goal with each pairing, and are considering multiple generations, not just this pairing. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each female is vital! Are you looking to improve on a particular aspect, or looking to lock in her strengths?
Selective breeding requires careful consideration of many variables. In my humble opinion, what's most important is to put some serious thought into each and every pairing, and use all of the available tools (below).
As previously mentioned, having specific goals for a breeding program is key. Clearly defining your goals as a breeder, is going to go a long way in creating a path to achieving those goals! I cannot emphasize this enough.
You should have both long term goals and short term goals. Herdsire selection for specific females, may be either or both. For instance, perhaps you want to take a few females to outside males to bring in some new bloodlines, or to add a particular trait that he is very prepotent in. This can be considered a shorter term goal, as opposed to purchasing that herdsire or purchasing one that will advance your entire herd in a certain trait, or several traits.
We're striving to raise animals with world class fleece, plain and simple.
There is no perfect alpaca, although we are all trying to create one. We look at herdsires as stepping stones. For example, if we feel like our density could be improved upon, we'll look to bring in a male with excellent density, but one that will not sacrifice too much in other areas like fineness, uniformity of micron, staple length, phenotype, etc.
We have a small group of herdsires, but they have been selected to participate in our breeding program with this reasoning.
The following is a list of tools that we use for herdsire selection at Sopris Alpaca Farm. There may be others, but for this page, here they are:
The use of as many of these tools as possible is recommended.
Good luck and have some fun!
Cory Wesson (970) 618-6435
Kim Wesson (970) 274-0853
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