Prize winning stud males at Houghton Hall

Latest News

Last Updated: 25th of May 2016

25th May 2016

We can't quite believe we are almost into June, where has that first few months gone? We have been busy sorting the farm and garden out for a special wedding that recently took place. What a magical day we had.

We have had a quieter than normal show season, however did come away with Double Supreme Champion Fleece at this years National Show with our super Stud Sire Master General and sensational Suri Houghton Maddox. We also came away Double Supreme Champion at the South of England Show with our tremendous Titan and our beautiful Suri lady Mystical Magic.

Our alpacas are now all shorn and enjoying the sunshine, We have also sent some of our beautiful alpacas across the waters to Ireland, Poland and Italy recently and have welcomed over ninety cria into the world.

We also look forward to bringing new genetics into our herd shortly.

Watch out for more information on our Autumn show - Alpaca Showtime - 29/30 October 2016

Our website is always a working progress. If you can't see what you are looking for, just give us a call, with over 700 alpacas, we are sure to have an 'Alpackage' to suit you. We welcome visits, but please call in advance.



Liz and Mick




18th January 2016

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all of our friends and clients, we hope you have had a wonderful festive season and have started 2016 with a bang!

Here is a quick round up of the last, very successful, 12 months for the team at Houghton Hall Alpacas.

2015 saw yet another sensational show season for Team Houghton. We took the Double at Alpaca Showtime 2015 and at the Royal Three Counties, along with a further 8 Supreme titles from the 5 other shows we attended. Not forgetting the 2 Reserve Supreme Champions, 44 Champion, 33 Reserve Champion, 5 Best of British, 3 Judge’s Choice, 3 Best in Show ribbons, and countless rosettes. How will we top this in 2016?

There were some stunning cria on the ground in 2015 including the arrival of our first coloured suris. All have now been weaned and are ready for purchase.

We have had a bumper year of exports going out across Europe with breeders looking for both elite males and females, including to Italy, Poland and Belgium. Looking forward to many more over the next few months.

We were lucky enough to go out to the Australian National in Sydney, where we took the opportunity to purchase some prestigious new Suri and Huacaya Genetics from Australia, can’t wait for them to arrive in Spring!

We are eagerly awaiting all that 2016 will bring; the anticipation of new cria, the beginning of the new show season and the arrival of our new genetics.


Houghton Hall Alpacas - Proven Award-Winning Genetics

Get in touch if you are looking to add some quality bloodlines to your herd, in need of advice or just want to chat alpaca!

We’d love to hear about how good 2015 was for you, and what you are looking forward to in 2016, share with us in all the usual places Facebook, Twitter & Google+. You can also sign up for our mailing list to hear all about our latest animals for sale.



22nd December 2015

Poisonous Plants Advice

When deciding to start caring for a herd of alpacas it is vital to prepare their new environment to ensure anything potentially dangerous or harmful is removed. Alpacas are ruminants (chew the cud) and are one of nature’s most efficient eaters as they absorb around third more of the vital nutrients from their food than similar animals such as sheep. They will often forage in the hedgerows and bushes for tasty morsels to supplement their diet. However, this diet can lead to alpacas being over adventurous and mistakenly eating something toxic. So, what should you look out for?

All nightshades, All lilies, Tomato & Potato plants, Toot, Inkweed, Hemlock, Willow-weed, Jerusalem Cherry, Mallow, Acorns, Oleander, Lily of the Valley, Rhododendron, Azalea, Ricinus, Yew, Ragwort, Comfrey, Horseradish, Privet, St.Johns wort, Sorrel, Hemp Nettle, Rhubarb, Iris, Buttercup, Linseed, Lupin, Clover, Chickweed, Laburnum, Meadow Saffron, Monks Hood, Oak, Foxglove, Grass Cuttings, Poppy.

Please be aware that this is not an exhaustive list of all poisonous plants, it is just important to be vigilant on your farm checking all hedgerows and paddocks and pathways. Remember alpacas have long necks so can reach quite a distance for that appetising branch.

Common symptoms of poisoning are; diarrhoea, vomiting, drooling saliva, colic, difficulty breathing, staggering, weakness, unsteady pupils, trembling, hypothermia, slow heartbeat, paralysis and head shaking.

If you think any of your herd may have eaten something they shouldn’t it is vital to consult a vet as soon as possible, often alpacas will not show signs until it is too late.



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.

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+.



6th November 2015

Houghton Hall Alpacas take Double Supreme

What a spectacular weekend at Alpaca Showtime 2015. We are very proud of our two Supreme winners Houghton Day Breaker and Houghton Bright Spark who took home Huacaya and Suri Supreme Champion respectively.

Our young males and females did phenomenally well bringing home 6 Champion ribbons between them;

Houghton Day Breaker – Huacaya Champion Light Male & Huacaya Supreme Champion
Houghton Magic Prince – Huacaya Champion White Male
Houghton Roxanne - Huacaya Champion Brown Female
Houghton Bright Spark – Suri Champion White Female & Suri Supreme Champion
Houghton Presley – Suri Champion White Male
Houghton Georgia – Suri Champion Light Female

The rest of the team didn’t let us down bringing home a total of 31 1st places and 5 Reserve Champions.

Reserve Champions
Houghton Gypsy Rose (ET) – 1st & RC Huacaya Senior Grey Female
Houghton Titan – 1st & RC Huacaya Intermediate Fawn Male
Houghton Angelina – 1st & RC Huacaya Senior White Female
Houghton Made You Look – 1st & RC Suri Adult White Female
Houghton Mystery – 2nd & RC Suri Intermediate White Female

Junior Huacayas
Houghton Lord Remy – 1st Huacaya Junior White Male
Houghton Casanova – 1st Huacaya Junior Light Male
Houghton Cracklin’ Rosie – 1st Huacaya Junior Grey Female

Intermediate Huacayas
Houghton Magic Prince – 1st & C Huacaya Intermediate White Male
Houghton Day Breaker – 1st, C, SC Huacaya Intermediate Light Male
Houghton Roxanne – 1st & C Huacaya Intermediate Brown Female

Adult Huacayas
Houghton Honeysuckle – 1st Huacaya Adult Light Female
Houghton Majestic – 1st Huacaya Adult Fawn Female
Houghton Xanadu – 1st Huacaya Adult Black Female

Senior Huacayas
Houghton Cerian – 1st Huacaya Senior Light Female
Houghton Rock Star – 1st Huacaya Senior Fawn Female
Parrindi Joseph of Houghton – 1st Huacaya Senior Grey Male

Junior Suris
Houghton Miss Magic – 1st Suri Junior White Female
Houghton Chancellor – 1st Suri Junior Light Male

Intermediate Suris
Houghton Bright Spark – 1st, C, SC Suri Intermediate White Female
Houghton Presley – 1st & C Suri Intermediate White Male
Houghton Georgia – 1st & C Suri Intermediate Light Female

Adult Suris
Houghton Royal Duchess – 1st Suri Adult Light Female
Houghton Made You Look – 1st Suri Adult White Female
Houghton Galactic Powers – 1st Suri Adult Light Male

Senior Suris
Houghton Jade – 1st Suri Senior Light Female
Houghton Maddie – 1st Suri Senior White Female

Best in Show
Houghton Bright Spark – Suri Female
Houghton Presley – Suri Male
Houghton Day Breaker – Huacaya Male

In addition our Herd Sires and Dams came 1st in all Progeny Classes proving the quality and consistency of our genetics at Houghton Hall.
Navigator of Houghton – 1st Huacaya 3 Progeny by 1 Sire
Suri Storm of Houghton – 1st Suri 3 Progeny by 1 Sire
Travatore of Houghton – 2nd Suri 3 Progeny by 1 Sire
Suri Storm of Houghton – 3rd Suri 3 Progeny by 1 Sire
After tough opposition we were pleased to secure 1st, 2nd and 3rd places in the Suri Progeny classes.
Houghton Timara – 1st Huacaya 2 Progeny by 1 Dam
Houghton Mystique – 1st Suri 2 Progeny by 1 Dam

Congratulations to everyone that took part, the standard of alpacas on display was extremely high making Alpaca Showtime a tough competition for all.

Now for the Thank Yous; We would like to thank the wonderful and incredibly knowledgeable judges Helen Testa and Rob Bettinson for taking the time to oversee the event, along with ring stewards Garry and Iain. Thanks to Roz who did a fantastic job sorting all of the awards and placements on the day, along with the marvelous event compering from John. We would also like to thank the wonderful staff of Houghton Hall Equestrian Centre. And finally we would like thank everyone that came and enjoyed the show, as well as helped out, including our very special co-coordinators; Bozedown Alpacas, Alpaca Stud UK as it wouldn’t be the show it was without you all.

If you haven’t yet purchased any photos from the fantastic photographer, you can find them here.

Many congratulations to Hilly Ridge on their purchase of our Supreme Champion winner, Houghton Day Breaker. Jo and Scott spotted his potential even before he achieved this title. We know with his stunning Navigator genetics, he will be a great asset to their herd.

Also sincere congratulations to Nero Alpacas who purchased two of our phenomenal young black alpacas; Houghton Cosmic who carries prestigious Australian genetics from his sire Parrindi Joseph, and Houghton Kala who has performed exceptionally as part of the Houghton Hall show team in 2015 winning Champion Black Female 3 times.

We are sure all three will be very happy in their new homes.

More exciting news to follow.


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.


6th October 2015

What a busy Autumn it has been so far, we have been lucky enough to go out to the Australian National in Sydney (10th-13th September) where we caught up with some wonderful friends both from the Antipodes and the UK. We were privileged enough to see some truly exceptional Huacaya and Suri Alpacas on display throughout the course of the event. We took the opportunity to carefully select some incredible new bloodlines for our herd back in Cambridgeshire. And certainly bought some fabulous animals that we can’t wait to arrive in the UK so we can share some pictures with you, but now for the long wait!

Whilst we were ‘Down Under’ Mick even squeezed in the time to make a brief interview with the ABC radio team on their Country Hour to talk about the future of Australia/Europe exports. You can hear it here. (45 mins in)

We’ve had a number of large exports across into Europe and Northern Ireland over the last couple of months which has been keeping us very busy, along with a further few in the pipeline, the fun never stops at Houghton Hall Alpacas.

A couple of weeks ago we were lucky enough to be invited to attend the Ely Cathedral Annual Pet Service which was filmed by the BBC’s Songs of Praise team. We took two of our young show boys; Houghton Spirited (Champion Huacaya Black) and Houghton Mustang (Champion Suri White) who behaved impeccably for the TV Crew. If you missed the episode but fancy alpaca spotting it is still available on BBC iPlayer.
We are looking forward to welcoming participants to our farm for the upcoming BAS course dedicated to improving knowledge of Alpaca Breeding and Traits this weekend (9th-10th October). We hope the weather holds!

If that wasn’t enough, we are also all eagerly anticipating Alpaca Show Time which is a mere few weeks away now! Can’t wait to see you all there. We have lots of exciting things planned and we hope you enjoy spending your Halloween weekend with us.


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 September 2015

Hear Mick George and Steve Ridout discuss the future of alpaca exports between Australia/New Zealand and Europe on the ABC's West Country Hour.

The item begins at approximately about 48 mins.

We have extensive experience importing and exporting alpacas, so if you are interested in adding our elite genetics to your herd or want more information about our export services please contact Mick and Liz on 07764469132 or email us 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.


14th September 2015

***Email Issue Resolved***

The issue is now resolved, however if you emailed our info@houghtonhallalpacas.co.uk during the period 8th-14th and have received no response please email again or call us on 01480 461 510.

Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

Houghton Hall Alpacas team



11th September 2015

***Email Issues***

We are having issues with our email address info@houghtonhallalpacas.co.uk at the moment. If you have contacted us on this address in the last 48 hours and not received a response please call us on 01480 461510 or email houghtonhallalpacas@mickgeorge.co.uk.

Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

Houghton Hall Alpacas Team



26th August 2015

We are proud to announce that we will once again be Gold Sponsors for the British Alpaca Society National in 2016. We love this event as it champions breeders of all standards and sizes displaying the very best the UK’s Alpaca Industry has to offer.



We are also pleased to say we will be Sponsoring the White and Grey Suri Colour Champions at the Heart of England, Autumn Fleece Show! Which is just next month, so best of luck to everyone whose entering.

We hope to see 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.
14th August 2015

What are those Alpacas doing in Houghton?

Are you one of the many people in North Cambridgeshire that have spotted the strange long necked sheep wandering the fields of Houghton and St.Ives that seem to have been growing in number over the last decade? Well it’s not the Alpacalypse , not yet anyway. . .

We are the team at Houghton Hall Alpacas, owned by the husband and wife team Mick and Liz George (of Skip Hire fame!). Those fuzzy giraffes are actually alpacas, don’t call them llamas or they might get upset!
Most people have lots of questions; why do we own them, what do we do with them, and can they come and see them.

First things first why do we own them? We have around 800 alpacas on our farm and we love each and every one of them. They are cute, furry, friendly and produce the most amazing fibre. Once you meet them you will be smitten. We like to think we have a happy haven for alpacas.

What do we do with our alpacas? Well there are a number of things; we breed them using the finest genetics we can source to produce the best quality alpacas, which we then show at a number of alpaca events across the UK (which we are quite good at ). Once a year the whole herd gets shorn and we sell this fibre on to a number of different places for use in clothing and bedding, and soon we will sell yarn from it too! We also have a few alpacas that we keep simply as pets.

You may be asking yourselves; ‘but what can alpacas do for me?’
Well for starters they are great pets, super friendly and will be eating out of your hand in a matter of weeks. They love to munch on grass so are great for keeping your lawn trim. If you are a keen gardener their poo is a fab fertiliser so you’ll be growing giant veg and vibrant flowers in no time. For those that are a dab hand at arts and crafts could even spin their fibre into yarn after the once a year shear, or it can be sent a way for processing.

If you want to know more about these curious camelids take a peak at the rest of our website or contact us to chat ‘alpaca’.

You can also find us at all the usual places Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to keep up to date with all things alpaca!

We do welcome visitors we just ask that you call us in advance to make a booking as we are a working farm.


3rd August 2015

Suris In Focus

As both breeders and lovers of the Suri at Houghton Hall Alpacas we’ve chosen to put the Suri in the spot light explaining what differentiates them from the teddy bear like Huacaya generally associated with the name ‘alpaca’. We have aimed to provide some basic information, dispel some common myths about the breed, and (as we are slightly biased) promote how wonderful Suris are to own.

You may know that there are two distinct types of alpaca, the Huacaya and the rarer Suri; the main difference being fleece style. So what does a Suri look like? A good Suri will have long individual pencil locks that feel silky, soft and light to the touch with a rich lustre and sheen. This is due to Suri fleece growing differently to Huacaya or sheep whose fibre comes outwards from the skin, with Suris the fleece grows more like human hair as it hangs straight down the body. They also tend to have slightly larger ears than the Huacaya, other than that they are almost identical anatomically.

Where did the word ‘Suri’ originate? No one is quite sure where the term for a Suri alpaca came from, but it is thought that the Aymaran and Quechuan peoples of the Altipano (alpacas’ native land) used it as a general description for the feathers of the Rhea a native bird. The Rheas feathers are silky and lustrous like the Suris fleece so the similarity may have led to the use of the word to describe this variety of alpaca. The literal translation means straight.

If you’ve ever thought about owning alpacas you may have heard some of these common misconceptions about Suris which we attempt to resolve below;

Suri fleece cannot be processed - Whilst the fleece is difficult to process due to it’s naturally silkier structure, it is not impossible, and many breeders make some incredible products as the fibres naturally hold the sheen and lustre after processing better than Huacaya. In fact we intend to start to sell our own yarn here at Houghton Hall of both our award-winning Suri and Huacaya fleeces.

Suris are not suited to the extremes in UK weather - Well this is easy to dismiss as the temperatures in the UK never reach the severe cold temperatures or searing heat that they would see in their natural habitat of the Andes. We also haven’t noticed that they ever seem to be more negatively affected by the weather than the Huacaya, as long as your herd have access to shelter from the wind and rain you shouldn’t have any issues. Suris can be more vulnerable to the rain simply due to the way their fleece hangs from their body, which leaves their spine more exposed to the elements. However, the Huacayas are just as ready to get out of the rain as the Suris are.

Suris are more flighty and nervous – This we do not find to be true, in our experience any difference in temperament is generally due to their long fringes obscuring their eye sight. So it is important to regularly trim their fleece around their eyes, particularly if you only shear them every two years.

Suris are more expensive than Huacaya – Any differences in value in the past could have been due to rarity, but we haven’t ever experienced any significant price increases in comparable animals. As with all alpacas the price varies due to the quality and colour of an animal, along with its purpose e.g. a pet male or a stud male.

The Suri gene is more dominant - This isn’t quite so clear cut as many breeders both here and in the US and Australia are now disputing the commonly agreed fact. Many put it down to the cross breeding of the imported animals in the native lands of Bolivia, Chile and Peru. The idea in basic terms is that to get a Huacaya the alpaca would have to be carrying only Huacaya genes; if one of the Huacayas has a Suri in their ancestry this could be passed to the cria and create a cross breed or if both do, a full Suri. It is a lot more complicated than that, but if you want to read about it in more detail visit here. Now that the Suris and Huacaya are generally being bred exclusively to only others of their breed rogue Suri genes are a much lower occurrence. So the thought is the ones imported originally had more Suri genetics in them and now through selective breeding the balance is evening out. However, time will tell which is correct as there are strong believers on both sides. It is very possible that some Suris in your herd may have a Huacaya ancestor in their bloodline or vice versa.

Why do we breed Suris at Houghton Hall Alpacas? We love the Suri which are often overlooked by newcomers to alpaca breeding, but really nothing beats watching the majesty of the Suris in full fleece running and pronking in the field. So don’t overlook this elegant alpaca breed next time you think about purchasing alpacas.

Looking to breed or own some super Suris? At Houghton Hall Alpacas we have some of the UK and Europe’s finest Suri genetics in our herd. Having sourced some of the best bloodlines available from Australia and New Zealand our herd have improved year after year with a number of our females being unbeaten Supreme Champions; Houghton Royal Duchess and Houghton Mystical Magic. Not to mention that one of our top Suri Stud Sires, Storm of Houghton took home 1st in the Progeny class at every event we attended in 2015.

Or are you looking to inject some dynamic and world class genetics into your herd, ask us about our selection of Suri Stud boys.

Get in touch today to book your visit to our award-winning Suri and Huacaya farm in Cambridgeshire.

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.

**2nd and 3rd images are copyright of Karen Harvey© I Don't Like Peas


20th July 2015

***Phone Issue Resolved***


20th July

***Phone Issues***
Just a quick notice to let you know we are having phone problems at the moment. Hoping to resolve asap.
If you need to get in touch please call 07764469132.
Apologies for any inconvenience caused.


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.


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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.


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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.



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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.

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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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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