Prize winning stud males at Houghton Hall

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Last Updated: 23rd of June 2015

15th June 2015

What a weekend we had at the Royal Three Counties!

***We Won the Double***

Houghton Most Wanted - Supreme Champion Huacaya and Best of British
Houghton Bright Spark - Supreme Champion Suri and Best of British
Houghton Kala - Champion Huacaya Black Female
Houghton Monaco - Champion Suri Light Male
Houghton Mystical Magic - Champion Suri Light Female
Houghton Dazzler - Champion Huacaya White Female
Houghton Master General - Reserve Champion Huacaya Fawn Male
Houghton Moon Drops - Reserve Champion Suri Light Female
Houghton Maddox - Reserve Champion Suri Light Male
Houghton Perry - Reserve Champion Huacaya White Male
Houghton Galactic Powers - Reserve Champion Suri Light Male

Thank you to everyone who helped us out over the weekend - we couldn't have done it without you!
A big thank you also goes to the organisers for yet another fantastic event.

Don't forget if you want more information about Houghton Hall Alpacas and our prizing winning herd please sign up for our newsletter here, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Our website is always a working progress. If you can't see what you are looking for, just give us a call, with over 750 alpacas, we are sure to have an Alpackage to suit you. We welcome visits, but please call in advance.



10th June 2015

A Visit to Houghton Hall Alpacas

Liz Wright discovers a world of quality and colour

I think it’s fair to say that Mick and Liz George, owners of Houghton Hall Alpacas are passionate about alpacas – in fact Liz says that it is ‘love me, love my alpacas’ as far as they are concerned!

Back in 2001 Mick saw some at an agricultural show and fell in love with them. He started keeping them and his first showing experience (fifth out of five) was enough to give him the show bug. He’s now more used to getting firsts! But when Liz met him eight years ago he had 100 alpacas. Today there are 800 adults and 200 cria expected or now safely unpacked, for the 2015 season. This makes Houghton Hall Alpacas one of the largest alpaca studs in the UK and Europe.

At the British Alpaca Society National Show at Telford the stud took home 19 Firsts (22 if you include Progeny), Seven Reserve Champions, Four Championships, One Best of British and a Supreme Champion in the form of Mystical Magic who is a light fawn Suri aged seventeen months. Mystical Magic has a truly ultra fine fleece which is also dense and carries amazing lustre.

In the Fleece Section, Royal Duchess (a Supreme Champion last year) carried the honours.

Liz and her assistant Emmeline were friendly and pleased to show us their lovely animals. My colleague Karen was entranced by their beauty. But what is the attraction for Liz?
She told me that their aim was to breed the best quality animal they could with the best fleece and capable of having quality offspring. She said that they loved showing and told me that in the show ring the fleece counted for 60% of the marks and conformation for 40%.

How are alpacas shown?

Alpacas are shown just as they are with minimal tidying, no grooming and from paddock conditions. Liz feels that the quality of alpacas has increased a lot in the last eight years especially amongst the white alpacas but the blacks are certainly coming up fast too. The fleeces from the Houghton Hall Alpacas are currently processed in the UK, and for the first time, this year they will be selling the fleece as yarn.
There is nothing wasted in an alpaca fleece – the prime saddle area is used for garments while the rest of the fleece can be used for a variety of uses including duvets, pillows, carpets and even insulation.
Alpacas everywhere you look!

Houghton Hall is extremely well organised with excellent facilities. Sturdy safe fences divide the alpacas and there are walk ways between the paddocks. Liz says with genuine enthusiasm, “They are so adorable, so humbling to see them all out here and especially when the babies are playing around”
Karen and I have to agree but Karen is soon off with her camera capturing more of the charm of alpacas.
Liz used to be a school secretary which has come in handy with the paperwork for the stud but now cannot imagine not being outside.

Liz believes that if alpacas are well managed then they will stay very healthy and their management is geared to this belief. It is certainly paying off looking at the happy, healthy animals that surround us. Despite having so many, Liz knows them personally, their names and their histories.

Getting started with alpacas

So what does Liz believe are the best pieces of advice to people thinking of getting started in alpacas?
Liz says what she would really like people to do is to come for a day to Houghton Hall particularly around shearing time if possible to see how they are managed and get to understand the handling. So much can be learnt by looking, learning and getting some practical experience.

You will need good fencing and two to three acres of grassland, enough for 6 alpacas, so that it can be rested and rotated and she advises at least three alpacas to start with. You will also need to protect young trees. They eat hay and haylage and require a mineral supplement – and you need to find a vet who understands alpacas. It is important to remember that alpacas are shy, gentle inquisitive animals who like to be treated quietly. They should be halter trained which is comparatively easy to achieve especially at weaning. They can mix well with sheep. Alpacas can be good flock guards.

Liz believes that Houghton Hall Alpacas offers a very personal service to buyers, no pressure and takes in to account whether the buyer wants to show to top level or, at the other end of the scale, have neutered males for pets. She says the interest in keeping alpacas continues to rise from all sectors. Membership of the British Alpaca Society will also get alpaca keeping off to a good start.

If you do intend to breed then you must buy the best quality female alpaca you can and use a quality stud male for breeding. If you don’t want to keep a stud male yourself then send your females to a good male. And never stop learning yourself. Go to shows, ask questions, meet breeders and learn, learn and learn!


An excerpt from Practical Sheep, Goats and Alpaca magazine’s Summer 2015 issue, out now! www.sgamagazine.co.uk
You can find the issue here!

Don't forget if you want more information about Houghton Hall Alpacas and our prizing winning herd please sign up for our newsletter here, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Our website is always a working progress. If you can't see what you are looking for, just give us a call, with over 750 alpacas, we are sure to have an Alpackage to suit you. We welcome visits, but please call in advance.


5th June 2015

Why do we all love alpacas?

At Houghton Hall Alpacas we pride ourselves on providing a warm welcome for anyone with a passion for alpacas, be it as a pet or for breeding purposes. We understand that everyone is looking for something different when choosing and owning their alpacas; which is why we recently decided to find out what it was about these curiously fuzzy creatures that made you fall in love with them. As ever our faithful alpaca friends and fans helped us out by answering our short survey.

The main reason highlighted by the questionnaire quite pleasingly was the alpacas’ personalities and the joys of actually caring and taking responsibility for them. Here is a selection of the answers we received;

“(Their) individual personalities, together with their looks, their fleece, everything about them apart from poo picking.”

“They are lovely, relaxing animals to work and live around. They bring calm to your life. Intriguing and entertaining. So different from many other animals.”

“Actually caring for them, feeding, husbandry and looking after them on a day to day basis.”

“Looking out of the kitchen window and seeing them all at the gate waiting for breakfast, then going out to feed them and they all run up to say hello. They are all different and each one is lovely!”

“Interaction. Sharing the qualities of their fleece. Taking for walks. Everything.”

“The joy of breeding a better one each generation”

“The friendly smile and welcome that's always received when we go into the field”

Overwhelmingly the largest group who answered the survey classified themselves as alpaca breeders at just under 60%, but we were pleased to also hear from people who were just admirers with the hopes to one day own alpacas at 15%. We also received responses from those who classed themselves as pet owners and smallholders, it was great to have such a diverse group of respondents, so thank you to everyone that answered it.

On a final note this is what our lovely Liz had to say about alpaca ownership; “It is difficult to pinpoint just one particular thing about alpacas, but seeing them out in the paddocks happily pronking around makes all the hard work worthwhile.”


Want to let us know why you adore the cutest of the camelids? Share it on one of our social pages twitter, facebook or google+.

Don't own alpacas but this article has made you think about getting some? Give Mick and Liz a call to chat 'alpaca' on 01480 461 510 or 07764469132.

Our website is always a working progress. If you can't see what you are looking for, just give us a call, with over 750 alpacas, we are sure to have an Alpackage to suit you. We welcome visits, but please call in advance.


1st June 2015

What a weekend we had at the Royal Bath and West show. It certainly was a tricky first day for us on the Friday as we had tremendous down pours; luckily we were partly inside so we tried to keep our coloured team under cover before their classes, not always successful! But thankfully the sun shone for us all on the Saturday as we had a glorious day, with some equally glorious results!

We took the DOUBLE! Our handsome male Houghton Bellino took Supreme Champion Huacaya and our unbeatable Houghton Mystical Magic has taken Supreme Champion Suri, she also took Best of British.
Our top herd sire’s Houghton Navigator and Suri Storm of Houghton took 1st for Huacaya and Suri 3 Progeny by One Sire respectively, this has been achieved at all shows attended this year. In total we won 2 Supreme Champion, 5 Champion, 4 Reserve Champion, 9 1st Rosettes and 1 Suri Best of British with a number of other placings. Thanks goes to the organisers and everyone that helped us.

Well done Team Houghton!

Bellino’s first cria are also on the ground so we can’t wait to see how they develop, watch this space.
alpacashowtime.co.uk" target="_blank">Alpaca Showtime in Autumn and when we look forward to welcoming you all to Houghton Hall Equestrian Centre, Cambridgeshire. But for now its back to the crias and matings for 2015!

Look forward to seeing you all at the Three Counties in just a few weeks.


Don't forget if you want more information about Houghton Hall Alpacas and our prizing winning herd please sign up for our newsletter here, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Our website is always a working progress. If you can't see what you are looking for, just give us a call, with over 750 alpacas, we are sure to have an Alpackage to suit you. We welcome visits, but please call in advance.


16th May 2015

5 Reasons You Should Sign- Up for the Houghton Hall Orgle
(Our newsletter)

1. Top tips for alpaca care.
2. Latest Houghton HQ updates.
3. 1st to know about our top alpacas for sale.
4. Its 100% free!
5. Cute alpaca pictures. Enough said.


Do it now!

You can also find us in the usual places; Facebook, Twitter & Google+

Our website is always a working progress. If you can't see what you are looking for, just give us a call, with over 750 alpacas, we are sure to have an Alpackage to suit you. We welcome visits, but please call in advance.



5th May 2015

What a busy few days we have had; on Saturday we bid a sad farewell to a group of animals off to The Emerald Isles. They have been exported across to Northern Ireland for the rapidly growing alpaca market to two lovely families, who we know will love and care for them unconditionally. They’ve been given some fabulous names by the children including Chaser, Clyde, Chester and Chomper. The export went smoothly and the animals have arrived safely in Ireland.

There is no time to feel too down hearted as we have lots of cria popping out and we still have two shows to plan for. We have just returned from the fabulous South of England Show and despite a very wet start on Sunday morning, the sun decided to make an appearance for the rest of the weekend in more ways than one. Our tremendous Show Team all got firsts apart from one, who came 2nd. We came away with 8 Champions. 4 Reserve Champions, Supreme Suri with our handsome male Maddox and Galactic Powers took Reserve Supreme Suri. Our huacaya team did us proud too just being piped to the post of Supreme Champion by the super grey Alpaca Stud Nyetimber, but we were happy to take the Huacaya Reserve Supreme Champion with our stunning white male Houghton Perry, a Navigator son. We are immensely honoured that our Navigator and Storm progeny who won 3 progeny by one sire.
Our thanks go to everyone who made the show possible , especially Liz Butler.



Don't forget if you want more information about Houghton Hall Alpacas and our prizing winning herd please sign up for our newsletter here, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Our website is always a working progress. If you can't see what you are looking for, just give us a call, with over 750 alpacas, we are sure to have an Alpackage to suit you. We welcome visits, but please call in advance.


1st May 2015

Phew! We’ve reached 50 cria so far. If the weather stays nice we should expect a few more over the next few days as some of our ladies are overdue.

Our 50th boy is a magnificent fawn Balboa progeny, our top black stud. His Dam is our lovely Savanah who has produced some good quality colours for us in the past. He has great uniformity of colour, showing good density and is super curly. He is already displaying great presence in the field, so looking forward to watching how he develops.

If you fancy naming our handsome boy, we are asking people to offer suggestions being with 'S' on our facebook page here.

Another enjoyable day of shearing was had yesterday, with Ben Wheeler back for another batch, thankfully only the show team left to go!

We have an export leaving for Northern Ireland tomorrow and we are off to the South of England show this weekend, the fun never stops! But more about all of that next week.

Looking forward to seeing you all there!


Don't forget if you want more information about Houghton Hall Alpacas and our prizing winning herd please sign up for our newsletter here, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Our website is always a working progress. If you can't see what you are looking for, just give us a call, with over 750 alpacas, we are sure to have an Alpackage to suit you. We welcome visits, but please call in advance.


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22nd April 2015

Glossary

If you are new to alpacas or just not sure of the lingo our handy guide should help you decipher the code!

Agistment – Tends to be a term popular in the alpaca industry which is similar to livery where your herd live and are cared for on an external farm. This can be short-term; for just a few weeks, or permanent.

Appaloosa – When the pattern of colouring on the alpaca is spotted, they are becoming much more popular with some breeders specialising in these genetics.

Blanket – Prime fleece from shoulder to mid-section to rump, both sides.

Camelibra – Mineral Supplement for alpacas.

Camelid – The family of mammals that alpacas stem from, which includes llamas and camels.

Colostrum – This is the first milk that is produced by the mother full of essential nutrients to help prevent diseases. Sometimes there are issues where the cria doesn’t suckle or the mum doesn’t produce enough milk so you will need to get an alternative which can come in powdered form from cows or frozen from goats.

Conformation – This is the alpaca’s bone structure and overall stance.

Cria – A new-born alpaca is usually referred to as this up to a year old.

Crimp – The crimp is the wave in the huacaya’s fleece, the tighter and more uniform, the more desired the fibre.

Cushing – A seated position for alpacas and similar animals when all four legs are tucked under their bodies.

Dam – The mother of an alpaca or can simply refer to a female that has been bred from.

Density – The number of fibres measured per square inch, the more the better.

Fibre – The fleece/fur/wool from the alpaca.

Gelding – A castrated male alpaca sometimes referred to as a wether. They are ideal for being kept as pets to keep the lawn down, fibre producers or as herd protectors.

Guanaco - (Lama Guanicoe) The species of camelid that llamas were originally bred from; currently living undomesticated in the Alto Plano.

Guard Hair - A coarser fibre that is usually more than 30 microns, and grows longer and straighter than the prime fibre.

Halter Training – This is essential for all alpacas as they learn to be come more social with humans and can be easily moved around. Any animal that is shown will have extensive halter training.

Handle – The tactile feel of the fleece to the hand – soft, harsh etc.

Huacaya – (wha-ki-ya) Shorter haired alpacas often described as looking like a teddy bear, they have a soft, springy and dense fleece.

Huarizo – The offspring of a male llama and female alpaca.

Livery – see agistment

Lock – A group of fibres of similar character.

Lustre – The lustre is determined by the amount of light reflected by the fibre. The sheen or gloss.

Maiden – A young female that has not yet been mated.

Misti – The offspring of a female llama and male alpaca.

Progeny – Any offspring from an alpaca.

Pronk(ing) – Frequently alpacas will do this in the evenings, and particularly the cria. They will jump and run and leap around, it is thought they do this to keep warm.

Sire – The father of the alpaca, or can refer to a proven Stud male e.g. Herd Sire.

Spit off - Females will spit at males to show they are pregnant and not at all interested in their attentions! To confirm a pregnancy in the initial stages the female will be put in with the male to see how she reacts. Spitting tends to mean pregnant, and sitting tends to mean they are not.

Staple – This is the length of the hair from skin to tip.

Stud Service – Having your female alpacas mated to selected males from an external farm.

Style – A cumulative and overall aesthetic effect of fibre characteristics found in a fleece.

Supreme Champion – The top placement/award for any alpaca in the show ring. One suri and one huacaya are awarded at each show.

Suri – (sir-ee) This type of alpaca has a longer, ringlet styled fleece that hangs down the body. Approximately 5% of the overall world alpaca population.

T’aqa – The name given if the baby of the cross breeding between a llama and alpaca looks more like an alpaca.

Vicuna – (vicugna vicugna) The species of camelid that alpacas were originally bred from; currently living undomesticated in the Alto Plano.

Warilla – The name given if the baby of the cross breeding between a llama and alpaca looks more like a llama.

Weaning – When you start to encourage the cria to no longer feed from its mother, this is often done naturally by the mother.

Wether – see Gelding

Missed anything out? Let us know through one of our social pages below.

Don't forget if you want more information about Houghton Hall Alpacas and our prizing winning herd please sign up for our newsletter here, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Our website is always a working progress. If you can't see what you are looking for, just give us a call, with over 750 alpacas, we are sure to have an Alpackage to suit you. We welcome visits, but please call in advance.


13th April 2015

We are back from another fabulous alpaca event, The Heart of England Show (11th-12th April 2015). What more could we want from a weekend; we had sunshine, met old and new friends and came home with a number of top awards for our wonderful herd.

Our results were;
Supreme Champion Suri – Houghton Mystical Magic

Huacaya Champion White Male – Houghton Most Wanted
Huacaya Champion Black Female – Houghton Kala

Suri Champion White Female – Houghton Mystical White Princess
Suri Champion White Male – Houghton Galactic Powers
Suri Champion Light Female – Houghton Mystical Magic
Suri Champion Light Male – Houghton Maddox

Huacaya Reserve Champion Fawn Female – Houghton Amaryllis
Huacaya Reserve Champion Fawn Male – Houghton Titan

Suri Reserve Champion White Female – Houghton Made You Look
Suri Reserve Champion Light Female – Houghton Moon Drops
Suri Reserve Champion Light Male – Houghton Monaco

Best of British – Houghton Mystical Magic
Judge’s Choice – Houghton Most Wanted

Huacaya 3 Progeny by 1 Sire – Houghton Navigator
Suri 3 Progeny by 1 Sire - Storm of Houghton

Our gorgeous granddaughter Olivia (a top alpaca breeder in the making!) once again took to the ring in the junior handlers category taking our handsome Houghton Spirited on her own around the ring.

We also had the chance to speak to some lovely people who are just starting in their alpaca adventures. We look forward to chatting to them all again in the future to see how they are getting on, as well as seeing them in the show ring!

The alpaca show scene and industry as a whole is going from strength to strength at the moment and the HOE was no exception with almost 300 alpacas on display. Our hats go off to Rob Bettinson for judging them on behalf of the BAS, and also the enthusiastic judges in training who were fantastic as well.

Not forgetting a last big thank you to the fabulous organisers and the team at Bury Farm Equestrian Centre, as always it was welcoming and well run event.

Don't forget if you want more information about Houghton Hall Alpacas and our prizing winning herd please sign up for our newsletter here, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Our website is always a working progress. If you can't see what you are looking for, just give us a call, with over 750 alpacas, we are sure to have an Alpackage to suit you. We welcome visits, but please call in advance.



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10th March 2015

It’s taken us a while but, what a phenomenal weekend we had at the British Alpaca Futurity 2015 (26th-28th March), we still can’t quite believe it! We made a clean sweep taking home both Huacaya (Navigator) and Suri (Suri Storm) Best Sire in Show along with both of the Judges Choice awards out of over 400 alpacas taking part.

Our weanlings from 2014 had a great show with 7 of them taking home Champion sashes! The real star of our team that weekend was our 8 month old fawn male, Houghton Titan who won Champion and Judges Choice Huacaya.

Better late than never, we would like to say a huge thanks to the other British Alpaca Futurity organisers; Bozedown Alpacas, EP Cambridge, Classical MileEnd, and The Alpaca Stud, and all of our sponsors along with everyone who took part or came along to see what these marvellous creatures are all about. You all helped to make the BAF not only the largest alpaca event in the UK, but also in Europe!

Results

Champion Suris
Suri Champion Light Male - Houghton Monaco
Suri Champion Light Female - Houghton Mystical Magic
Suri Champion White Male - Houghton Mustang
Suri Champion White Female - Houghton Bright Spark

Champion Huacayas
Huacaya Champion Fawn Male - Houghton Titan
Huacaya Champion Black Male - Houghton Spirited
Huacaya Champion White Male - Houghton Striker
Huacaya Champion White Female - Houghton Tiara

Reserve Champions
Suri Reserve Champion Light Male – Houghton Maddox
Suri Reserve Champion Light Female - Houghton Muse
Huacaya Reserve Champion White Female - Houghton Travellers Delight

Judges Choice
Houghton Titan (Huacaya)
Houghton Mystical Magic (Suri)

Best Herd Sires
Houghton Navigator (Huacaya)
Houghton Storm (Suri)

The rest of the Houghton Team took a number of other rosettes too. We couldn’t be prouder of our herd.

Now we are headed to our 3rd Alpaca show of the year and one of our favourites, the Heart of England. Good luck to those taking part and we can’t wait to see you all there!

Don't forget if you want more information about Houghton Hall Alpacas and our prizing winning herd please sign up for our newsletter here, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Our website is always a working progress. If you can't see what you are looking for, just give us a call, with over 750 alpacas, we are sure to have an Alpackage to suit you. We welcome visits, but please call in advance.


27th March 2015

HOUGHTON HALL ALPACAS HOLD ANNUAL SHEARING EVENT

It’s annual shearing time for a herd of almost 800 alpacas in Cambridgeshire, UK. Spring has arrived bringing with it the prospect of warmer weather; which means it is time for the Houghton Hall Alpaca herd to have their thick and dense winter coats shorn helping to keep them cool in summer.

Once a year the team at Houghton Hall Alpacas are tasked with the mammoth challenge of shearing their entire herd; from yearlings (last year’s cria/baby alpacas), to pregnant females and stud males. This year shearing week began on Sunday 22nd March and with the weather beginning to warm up the alpacas are relieved. Although, any animals that have been selected for the 2015 show team will not be sheared until later in the year as they will need their fleece in the show ring. All of the alpacas will under go a general health check up which involves; vaccinations, worming, teeth and toe nail trimming, and removal of ‘fighting teeth’ from the youngsters.

Owners Mick and Liz George are well experienced in running shearing week as they have been breeding alpacas since 2001, and due to the vast number of animals to get through it is vital to run it like a military operation. The alpacas are let in to the shed in batches, and their expert shearer Ben takes between 4-5 minutes to remove a complete blanket from the alpaca. This fleece is then cleaned and sorted separately.
Liz George, describes the farm atmosphere; “Shearing time is a spectacularly busy time for us on the farm as we have almost 800 alpacas to get through in an exceedingly short time, so it’s definitely a case of all hands on deck.

The dramatic change from fluffy teddy bear like creatures to lean and trimmed alpacas is quite an unusual sight, especially for the uninitiated! We do like to leave a bit of hair on their faces and heads to give them some personality though.”

For more information about Houghton Hall Alpacas and their herd please visit www.houghtonhallalpacas.co.uk



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17th March 2015

Hasta la vista Tequila

This week we have said goodbye to one of our promising young boys who has gone to Belgium to start his new career as a stud male. Mick and Liz left in the early hours of Tuesday morning to hand deliver Houghton Tequila to his new owners at Top-Line Alpacas.

Tequila is an outstanding young light fawn male. He has a fabulous temperament and is very easy to handle. He is an upstanding macho with a fleece of great density, fineness and handle, and good uniformity. He has always done us proud in the show ring as you can see from his results. It is with great sadness we have to let him go. He is now eager and ready to work and we are confident he will carry on his parents great genetics to bring something special to his new herd.

His Sire is one of our most renowned herd sires Neptune of Houghton and his Dam is Timara of Houghton one of our best coloured breeding females; she has produced an impressive number of show winners for us, including Houghton Titan who has made his debut in the ring this year.

With Tequila’s own incredible show record we know that he will bring something dynamic and exciting to the European alpaca industry that hasn’t been seen before.

We wish both the wonderful new owners and our handsome Houghton Tequila good luck in their new venture and look forward to hearing about his and his progenies many successes in the years to come.

Don't forget if you want more information about Houghton Hall Alpacas and our prizing winning herd please sign up for our newsletter here, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Our website is always a working progress. If you can't see what you are looking for, just give us a call, with over 750 alpacas, we are sure to have an Alpackage to suit you. We welcome visits, but please call in advance.


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From time to time we may use cookies to better understand your experience of our website.
Cookies are small files saved to your computers hard drive that track, save and store information about your use of a website. This allows us to provide a better tailored experience for you.
We use Google Analytics to monitor visitors to our website, this software will save a cookie to your hard drive tracking your engagement and usage of our website, but will not store, save or collect personal information. (www.google.com/privacy.html )


13th March 2015

Finally, after a long week of catching up after the BAS National 2015 (7th-8th March), as well as having the wonderful BAS here for a Suri Judges course we have had a moment to sit down to let you know how the National went! We were very proud of Team Houghton who made a fabulous start to the 2015 season and for many it was their first time in the ring.

The National really demonstrated the world class Suri genetics in our herd; Houghton Mystical Magic took Supreme Champion Suri whilst Houghton Royal Duchess won Supreme Champion for her Suri fleece. The rest of the team certainly didn’t let us down as they won a total of 22 1sts, 7 Reserve Champions and 4 Champions along with an impressive number of other rosettes. Our handsome little Houghton Spirited (only 8 months old) almost took Champion black, but we were very happy to settle with Reserve Champion! We simply cannot wait to see what he can achieve in the future.

Bring on the British Alpaca Futurity in a few weeks… hopefully we will get to catch up on some sleep before then too! If you’d like to see the photos from the weekend they are here.

We’ve had a couple of surprise births during the weekend of the National; a gorgeous dark brown girl and a very striking white and fawn boy. So, not long before the madness begins and we have many more cria join the herd!

Don't forget if you want more information about Houghton Hall Alpacas and our prizing winning herd please sign up for our newsletter here, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Our website is always a working progress. If you can't see what you are looking for, just give us a call, with over 750 alpacas, we are sure to have an 'alpackage' to suit you. We welcome visits, but please call in advance.


3rd March 2015

BAS Judges Calibration Clinic

We hope that a great time was had by all who attended the BAS Judges Clinic held at Houghton Hall Alpacas, Cambridgeshire last week. Lots of interesting information and debate went on helping to continue the UK’s Judges’ unified approach to judging alpacas. Whilst the weather was pretty grim for the second day of the course everyone braved the wind and rain and got stuck in grading and evaluating the Huacayas and Suris being displayed. Big thanks to everyone that attended and to Nick Harrington-Smith for hosting the event. Take a look at our Facebook page if you’d like to see some pictures from the course.

We look forward to welcoming many more BAS members and alpaca owners to our farm in the future.

And if you are attending the 2015 British Alpaca Society National this weekend, we can’t wait to see you all and we wish you lots of luck in the show ring!

Don’t miss the BBC The One Show tomorrow night (4th March 2015) as two of our beautiful ladies, Houghton Martini and Houghton Muse will be live on TV!

If you would be interested in attending any of the BAS’ future courses please check their website or if you would like more information about our herd at Houghton Hall Alpacas please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


10th February 2015

Can you believe it? It's almost the beginning of the 2015 alpaca show season already! Once again time is merrily whizzing us by. We have been busy preparing and selecting our teams for both the British Alpaca Futurity and the British Alpaca Society National Show 2015. We know that we've got a fab collection of youngsters from our 2014 cria that we cannot wait to exhibit in March.

As part of the show preparations we have been hard at work halter training all of our cria; which is a mammoth task with so many born in 2014.

Not to mention lots of visitors to the farm keen to get some studs for their ladies and some of our cute little weanlings for their herds.

We hope to see you all at the National on 7th March, not long now.

Don't forget if you want more information about Houghton Hall Alpacas and our prizing winning herd please sign up for our newsletter here, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Our website is always a working progress. If you can't see what you are looking for, just give us a call, with over 750 alpacas, we are sure to have an 'alpackage' to suit you. We welcome visits, but please call in advance.



30th January 2015

What Do You Look For When Choosing Your Perfect Paca?

In October last year you might remember that we asked some of our social followers which key qualities they consider to be most important when buying a new alpaca. We discovered somewhat unsurprisingly that most alpaca breeders, farmers and owners take into account a number of different factors when they are searching for a new alpaca for their herd. One breeder put it well; “Conformation first and foremost. Then fleece quality and then a price to match these characteristics”. Which particular traits you are looking for be it conformation, depth of colour or low primary fibre micron depends entirely on what you want to improve in your herd, and whether or not they are show potential, breeding or pets.

Find out which trait received the highest vote below;
Survey Chart

Here were a couple of comments we received from other alpaca owners highlighting how they select their new herd member;

“The most important aspect when buying alpacas, is that you trust the sellers implicitly and can rely on them to help you.”

“We chose our first one simply because he was super cute :) Now the biggest of the bunch, super friendly and wouldn't be without them :)”

“Fleece quality is important but you need a healthy animal to generate it.”

Don’t agree with what our responders have said? Let us know what you look for through one of our social pages, found below.

For more information about Houghton Hall Alpacas and our elite herd please sign up for our newsletter here, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Our website is always a working progress. If you can't see what you are looking for, just give us a call, with over 750 alpacas, we are sure to have an 'alpackage' to suit you. We welcome visits, but please call in advance.

*All data collected via the Houghton Hall Alpaca survey 13/10/14 – 19/10/14


28th January 2015

Why We Support the British Alpaca Futurity

We are once again proud to be supporters of the British Alpaca Futurity (BAF) which promotes the improvement and quality of alpaca bloodlines as well as the whole UK alpaca industry. It is a fantastic non profit event organised by a number of the UK's top alpaca breeders, including us at Houghton Hall. This year's event will take place on the 27th-28th March at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry.

There are expected to be well over 400 alpacas, a mix of Huacaya and Suri at the BAF, making it the largest of its kind in Europe. As normal there will be both a Halter and Fleece show which the British Alpaca Futurity have organised two top judges to compare for; Pete Kennedy (AUS) and Wade Gease (USA).

For those of you that are fans of using alpaca fibre you'll be pleased to hear that for the first time the event will also include the p-Lush Show which promotes all users and designers of natural fibres. You can also get your hands on some of their special p-Lush branded knitting needles and crochet hooks without feeling guilty as the proceeds are going to their chosen charity Target Ovarian Cancer.

Why we love the BAF

The event is suitable for all alpaca enthusiasts no matter what their experience in alpaca breeding as it is a perfect opportunity to meet other breeders from across the UK, Europe and beyond. Meaning whether you have gone in to exhibit your prized animals, or just to learn more to take your herd to the next level whilst meeting great people on the way, this event is a must.

Mick George Comments; "We are proud to be actively promoting and influencing the future of alpaca breeding and fleece production for the benefit of the UK's industry and worldwide. The British Alpaca Futurity triumph the alpaca industry at every stage from field through to final product making us world renowned."

We really missed it last year, so can't wait for the event this Spring to celebrate all things alpaca. See you there!

Don't forget if you want more information about Houghton Hall Alpacas and our prizing winning herd please sign up for our newsletter here, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Our website is always a working progress. If you can't see what you are looking for, just give us a call, with over 750 alpacas, we are sure to have an 'alpackage' to suit you. We welcome visits, but please call in advance.



12th January 2015

Importing & Exporting Alpacas

Recently we were interviewed by the leading alpaca magazine Alpaca Culture regarding our experiences with importing and exporting alpacas, which was published along with a number of other alpaca breeders from Europe, Australia and the US.

Read our part below;

Houghton Hall Alpacas have been major importers and alpaca breeders since early 2001.
They “regularly buy the best available stock to compliment our alpaca breeding programme.”
They have imported a large variety of alpaca stud males directly from Australia to compliment their breeding program, which are available for stud services and they regularly assist clients with all the requirements needed for exporting alpacas to Europe.
We asked what led Houghton Hall to become exporters. Mick George, Owner, explains. “We are always looking for additional clients and due to the demand and growth in the European export market it seemed like the obvious place to go. Some animals we have sold into Europe we wouldn’t have sold in the UK. European breeders are looking for superior genetics and we can offer that. It is also vital to help with improving the diversity and quality of alpaca bloodlines.”
To export alpacas, Mick explains, “We give our alpacas a full and thorough health check, whether they are going abroad or staying in the UK, along with TB and Brucellosis testing. We must also apply for export papers via Carlisle DEFRA for all exports.”
“We have exported into the whole of mainland Europe,” Mick says. Export destinations “really vary at the moment, as there is an ever increasing interest in alpacas.”
The quarantine process, “Varies for each country. Prior to export we keep the animals isolated from the rest of our herd. Certain countries require very strict quarantine which is in keeping with our own biosecurity procedures and with independent quarantine we abide by their protocol.”
Houghton Hall safeguards their charges’ health and well being by adhering to export rules, “But we are also keen to transport the alpacas ourselves and having exported some 170 animals in the last 2 years the vast majority we have delivered ourselves. We have only just returned from the South of France, delivering 6 alpacas to a new breeder there, where we stayed for a couple of days to help the animals settle in and help the new owner with basic husbandry.”
What is most important to remember when exporting alpacas? “Timing of all the tests and quarantine is vital to fit in with transporting. Make sure DEFRA are aware. We also consider where they are going and what requirements the alpacas will have there. Is the potential new breeder ready for them? Do they have the right facilities and veterinary expert locally, or another breeder to help,” Mick says

An excerpt from Alpaca Culture magazine’s December 2014 Issue. You can read the rest of the article and find out more of the latest alpaca news from around the world on their website www.alpacaculture.com

For more information regarding our export services visit our website or contact Mick and Liz on 07764469132 and at info@houghtonhallalpacas.co.uk

Our website is always a working progress. If you can't see what you are looking for, just give us a call, with over 750 alpacas, we are sure to have an 'alpackage' to suit you. We welcome visits, but please call in advance.


7th January 2015

Happy New Year to you all. We hope you had a peaceful Christmas and trust the New Year brings you everything you are wishing for and more ....

Most of our crias have now been weaned and are growing out nicely and halter training has started in earnest for them. We can't wait to show the crème de la crème of our 2014 crias in the Show ring this year.

Looking forward to seeing you all soon.

Don't forget if you want more information about Houghton Hall Alpacas and our prizing winning herd please sign up for our newsletter here, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Our website is always a working progress. If you can't see what you are looking for, just give us a call, with over 750 alpacas, we are sure to have an 'alpackage' to suit you. We welcome visits, but please call in advance.


19 December 2014

Well, the festivities are in full swing at Houghton Hall HQ, it's definitely cold too, and we've still got our fingers crossed for snow.
It's been an incredible year, we've achieved phenomenal successes in the show ring; from winning double Supreme at the BAS 2014 National to our fantastic Houghton Travatore progeny taking 1st at every show they attended, along with taking another 8 Supremes from the 5 other events attended. We have gained awards in too many categories to mention, but it is fair to say that we have proudly shown that truly impressive genetics run throughout our herd.
Not to mention breaking our record for cria births with over 200 being welcomed to the herd. They have been keeping us very busy, particularly recently as we are now weaning them, a job which always makes us feel very guilty.
We also had a great first year for our new Alpaca ShowTime event, so watch this space for details about the next one.

We are immensely proud of our herd, which have certainly gone from strength to strength this year, we cannot wait to find out what successes 2015 brings!

We hope you have a wonder Christmas and a happy New Year!

Don't forget if you want more information about Houghton Hall Alpacas and our prizing winning herd please sign up for our newsletter here, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Our website is always a working progress. If you can't see what you are looking for, just give us a call, with over 750 alpacas, we are sure to have an 'alpackage' to suit you. We welcome visits, but please call in advance.



25 November 2014

It has been a wet and windy few weeks, which neither us, nor the alpacas are a fan of! Yet another month has follow by with a flurry of activities, we’ve said goodbye to our Supreme Champion Damian who’s gone to Norway to join the fabulous herd at Sigdal Alpakka. We’ve also been hard at work with the general everyday care of our 800 strong herd along with introducing lots of breeders and owners to their next alpaca.

This evening on the farmWe have got a few exciting things going on at the moment and can’t wait to show you all in the New Year. Our new e-newsletter will be starting in January, make sure you sign up so you don’t miss out. We’ve also updated the for sales page on our website with lots of new alpacas, so why not start looking for your perfect alpaca!

For more information about Houghton Hall Alpacas and our elite herd please sign up for our newsletter here, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Our website is always a working progress. If you can’t see what you are looking for, just give us a call, with over 800 alpacas in our herd, we are sure to have an ‘alpackage©’ to suit you. We welcome visits, but please call in advance. 01480 461510 Office/Mobile 07764469132





29 October 2014

Alpaca Herdsman and General Farm Worker Required

We are looking for an experienced Alpaca Herdsman to join our team at Houghton Hall Alpacas, Cambridgeshire, UK. The successful candidate must have experience working with, and handling alpacas and other livestock. This is a full time position sharing in the daily care of over 1000 alpacas at one of the largest breeding farms in Europe. These duties will consist of, but are not limited to; basic husbandry, administering medication, halter training, general farm work and complying with farm bio-security policy.

This is the ideal opportunity for a driven and committed individual wanting to join a dynamic and growing farm of elite quality alpacas.

Applicant must have full driving licence and must be capable of operating all types of farm machinery.

Start would be immediate, but we are willing to wait for the right person.

Interested applicants can send a copy of their full CV to the following; info@houghtonhallalpacas.co.uk



6 October 2014

Celebrate Wool and Knitting Week 2014 with Alpacas

It’s World Wool and Knitting Week (6th-12th Oct)! So, we think it is the perfect time to promote the benefits of the lustrous, cosy and itch-free alpaca fibre. Now, we might be biased as we have been breeding these wonderful animals for more than 12 years at Houghton Hall Alpacas. But don’t just take our word for it, ask anyone that has worked with alpacas, there is a reason why the Incas called this fantastic fibre ‘The Gold of the Andes’. Alpaca fleece is incredibly versatile; from spinning and felting to being hypoallergenic, are you ready to find out more?

There are an estimated 3 million alpacas worldwide. Huacaya alpaca have a tight crimped and dense fleece that comes directly out of the skin and it will grow between 4 -5 inches a year. Suris’ produce approximately double this as their fleece is much longer and hangs down the body in loose, silky locks. There is a huge demand for alpaca fibre coming from the fashion industries of Italy, China and others as the must have fibre to replace cashmere; which has seen a significant reduction in quality due to attempts to make it more affordable and sustainable.

So what is it that is driving the need for the fleece? Alpaca fibre is incredibly useful and versatile making it an ideal material that is being applied in a multitude of industries. Alpaca fleece can be easily mixed or blended with other fibres from wool, to silk and even synthetics. It is exceptionally light weight, yet has excellent thermal properties making it very popular for winter clothing. Due to the structure of the alpaca fibres no pilling occurs in the wearing of the fabric, so it is incredibly durable. It is also second only to silk for natural fibres in strength, proof of these extraordinary properties are that archaeologists have recently discovered intact Inca tunics.

Why is it so versatile? The fantastic thing about alpaca fibre is that it is so unbelievably adaptable from clothing and wall hangings, to carpets and upholstery, and even housing insulation. The story doesn’t end there either as alpaca fleece is also put to good use as homes for birds and native wildlife, as well as used for it’s incredible property of absorbing oil; meaning that it has been utilised to aid in the clean up after environmental disasters.

Not only is it useful, but alpacas and their fleece are environmentally friendly. They have soft padded feet so don’t poach the ground, are incredibly efficient eaters, and do not produce lanolin like sheep or goats, which can cause an allergic reaction in some people. The lack of this oil product means that you don’t need high temperatures and harsh chemicals to process it. Similarly, with the fleece coming in over 20 officially recognised colours (and all those in between) there is no need to use dyes for those that are environmentally conscious. Even more fabulously, if you buy your yarn or fleece directly from a breeder the fibre can be traced straight back to the alpaca that produced it! What’s not to love about that?

So what are you waiting for? Get knitting, crocheting and felting!

Got any other ideas for how to use alpaca wool or tips for working with it? We’d love to hear about them through our social pages below…

For more information about Houghton Hall Alpacas and our elite herd please sign up for our newsletter here, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Our website is always a working progress. If you can't see what you are looking for, just give us a call, with over 750 alpacas, we are sure to have an 'alpackage' to suit you. We welcome visits, but please call in advance.


25 September 2014

VIVA LA FRANCAIS! NEW HOME FOR SIX LUCKY ALPACA

Last week we said goodbye to three of our elite friendly ladies and their cria who have gone to start their new life in the South of France. Mick and Liz made the decision to drive there themselves in order to help ease the alpacas transition, as well as provide some vital support to the new owners. So, they all started their two long, long days of travelling in the early hours of Tuesday (16th Sep) morning, and arrived safely on Wednesday afternoon to the beautiful Pyrenees Orientales region. Houghton’s Thalia, Nigella , Harriet and cria have all settled in superbly. Their new owner is now hoping to start an alpaca farm breeding top quality light and white alpacas. They were really keen to start with some prestigious bloodlines and could think of no better alpaca than that of our award winning Stud Sire, Navigator. We suspect that there will be some great alpacas coming from this farm in the future.







For more information about importing or exporting alpacas in the UK and Europe visit our page here, get in touch via email or phone 01480 461510. With many years of experience importing and exporting for ourselves, and our customers we would be happy to help and organise for you.

Or for more information about Houghton Hall Alpacas and our elite herd please sign up for our newsletter here, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Our website is always a working progress. If you can't see what you are looking for, just give us a call, with over 750 alpacas, we are sure to have an 'alpackage' to suit you. We welcome visits, but please call in advance.


10 September 2014

We can't quite believe we are in to September and Like many of you we are now at the end of our birthing season - phew! and what a bumper year we have had with over 200 cracking crias born in a variety of colours, we are delighted with the quality and can't wait to exhibit some of our 2014 crop in the Shows next year. We are busy getting ready for the winter and moving our animals to pastures new.

Our website is always a working progress. If you can't see what you are looking for, just give us a call, with over 800 alpacas in our herd, we are sure to have an 'alpackage' to suit you. We welcome visits, but please call in advance. Tel: 01480 461510 office/Mobile 07764469132


19 July 2014

Here we are well into our birthing season, with over 180 births so far and another 40 plus to give birth - we have been very busy. We are de