Nickelby At Darnum

So you have some rescued alpacas - what's next?

Angela Betheras

Alpacas are absolutely wonderful animals, they are kind, gentle, make you smile just to look at them and they generally enjoy being part of your family and there is not much to fault.  Heck that is why so many people want a couple in their paddock.  I am told it is to keep the grass down but as a total devotee of these beautiful animals, I know better.

However sometimes people have alpacas and their circumstances change and they can no longer look after them, hey that happens to fully fledged breeders as well so it is nothing to be ashamed about.  So in all good intentions they set about finding new homes and this is where you come in, you are the new found home but wait, you don't know anything about alpacas, what do they eat? what do they need? how often do you shear them? do they need injections and if so which ones and when?  These are all questions breeders are really hoping you are asking and seeking answers for because if you are not, then your rescued alpacas aren't going to be living a very happy life at all and that is not good for any one.

So ideally before you bring home your alpacas and if not then, then very soon after, you need to set about arming yourself with as much information as you can.  You obviously start with the person who is passing the alpacas onto you but in many cases they could be trying to find them a new home as they no longer care for the alpaca so always best to seek a second opinion.

I am often asked why alpacas? and part of the answer is that I met the alpaca people and decided they were my kind of tribe, they were friendly people, loved their animals, knew lots and I felt at home so my suggestion would be to start with one of us. If by some slim chance you don't get answers then ask another one of us but I am pretty sure that won't be necessary.

Yes alpacas are pretty easy to care for but they do need shearing every year late Spring, early Summer so you do need to find an alpaca shearer, they do need medications mostly via injections so you have to be comfortable with that or are willing to pay a vet or know a farmer who can help. Those blasted toe nails need to be cut at least once during the year and that will take 2 people with good backs and you will need to do regular health checks and be prepared to pay the occasional vet bill and in return they will love you but most probably from a distance.  You are not bringing home a new dog or cat, these are farm animals who live in a paddock, not your lounge room but they do need some form of shelter and protection from the wind so they will need a shed or shelter in the paddock.

One final point if you are gifted or are looking to buy alpacas, stud boys are not a bonus.  Alpacas don't come in "breeding pairs". Stud boys need to be kept separate from your girls but they can't be on their own so they need a weather for company.  One of your girls might have a boy which has to leave the girls before 12 months of age but if you have a stud boy he might not like that boy so you could have difficulties.  If you are gifted an entire male and you know your family trees then by all means go ahead and do matings but then seriously consider either selling him on or having him weathered.  Your lives will be so much easier.

I can promise you a wonderful life with your new found friends and you will find it hard to imagine what your life would be without them but remember whilst we all say they are easy to look after, that doesn't mean you can just leave them and not look after them at all.  Even the best of us have needs!

So find a tribe of supporters, ensure your property is alpaca ready, have all your information at hand and then all that is left to do is to enjoy your new family.


Summer is here so we can't wear alpaca, right?

Angela BetherasComment

Wrong! Yes here in Australia we are finally entering the t-shirt wearing time.  Most would say down here in Victoria it has taken its time in coming but that doesn't mean your alpaca needs to be bagged up and packed away.

why? Alpaca is not technically a wool, it is a hair.  It is a hollow fibre which allows it to breath with your body so it is one of those rare fibres where we can say that it keeps you lovely and warm in Winter and cool in Summer.  If that wasn't the case you would see alpacas panting in the paddock like you do sheep in the heat.  The lightness of the alpaca means they can handle the heat and indeed many of them love to sunbake.  You will often see them stretched out in the paddock exposing their tummies to the sun to soak up all the rays.  Oh what a life.  Don't we all wish we could do just that and then at dinner time some human comes along and feeds you your dinner, just the way you like it.

To make alpaca even more versatile we mix it with cotton as well in our own range and of course we only use Australian cotton which is known in the cotton industry to be the best in the world so we would have nothing less to go with our beautiful alpacas.

So don't completely tuck your alpaca away to the bottom draw during Summer.  Granted you probably won't want to wear it when the temp hits the mid 30's but if you have a choice between alpaca and a manmade fibre such as polyester, then please, for the sake of your skin and body, put on the alpaca.

Here is a picture of Judy and Saori enjoying the beautiful sunny day

cria baby alpacas.jpg

Angela Betheras - the alpaca lady behind the business

Farm NewsAngela BetherasComment

I would like to introduce myself to you as often when you come onto a site you are just not sure if you can trust it and if you are like me, you wonder, who is behind this business?

Well it is l! Ten years ago I purchased 67 acres at 308 Darnum Shady Creek Road and suffice to say the place was pretty empty.  As I tell visitors, there was no water, no power, no buildings, no tracks or driveways and the property consisted of 4 large paddocks with run down fencing.  Oh and there wasn't a house. There still isn't a house but that is a story for another post when I tell you about my adventure of building yurts and pods!

So prior to purchasing my 67 acres of nothing I had a B&B in the next town and only had 12 acres. I had two cute cottages in the garden and I built a photography studio in my garage and there I operated Angela Betheras Photography which I had previously run in Melbourne.  I was starting my alpaca journey in 2004 and up until 2005 I was commuting every day to the city because I was the International Supply Chain Manager for Coles Myer Ltd.  So my customers were Kmart, Target, Officeworks, Myer, Coles, BiLo and the list goes on. My team in Melbourne, Hong Kong and Shanghai basically bought in about one ship a week full of stock.  We were extremely busy!

However I finally had enough of the city life and thought it was time to make my home completely back here in West Gippsland where I grew up.  I grew up in Labertouche and rode my horse to school.  We had 19 students and one teacher.  The memories are fabulous, my maths and English were shocking!  

So in 2007 I stumbled across this property which I now call home as I was driving around killing time before turning up at a bride's house to start her wedding photography as I was early as usual. I walked around the property on a Friday afternoon and had purchased it by Friday night. I am known to be a little bit impulsive!

So my journey started with building the shop and studio and to kick start my marketing and trying to get people to come off the highway and pay us a visit.  March 1st 2018 will be our 10 year anniversary so watch the events page to see the party celebrations, it should be a big month (or 2)

I manage the business and the farm on my own but sometimes when you come you will meet my wonderful mother who often helps out or minds the shop when I have to go to a meeting.  She sold the family farm a couple of years ago and moved into the town so enjoys coming out to spend some time on mine and I put her to work!

So if you are passing, come in and visit, see the shop or if you can't make it then have a look at the online shop.  Everything is shipped from the lovely Darnum post office down the road and Julie makes sure everything gets off safely.

Until next time when I tell you about the fun I have had starting my yurt building and what my house will look like when I am living in the round!


Angela & Miss Pasty