Herd Improvement through judicious Choice of Studs

As the choice grows, the buyer needs to become more discerning.

The key for breeders, whether buying a male or buying stud services, is to match the specific attributes of the stud being considered, to the gaps in your breeding programme, and hope that the stud in question will pass on those attributes into your herd.

There is no overall “better/best” in all of this – no overall brilliant stud, way ahead of the rest. Different studs offer different strengths. Go and see the stud(s) on offer, enquire about genetic background, get hands on the progeny, see the documents for shear weights and microns, ask for AGE data, and match the information you gain to your specific herd improvement need.


What is your breeding goal? If you have not got one – get one.  It may be breeding fine fibred whites for the commercial fleece market.   Or attractive dark brown alpacas with white faces and socks, and a nice temperament for pets.

Alpaca breeders should breed “up”, to add quality and/or vigour and diversity to the herd. Now that we have AGE, the Across-herd Genetic Evaluation, what is being bred for, can be measured.

The use of “venerable ancestors” has had a huge positive influence on the herd in Australasia and USA, and now, after 12 years, their improved sons and grandsons are available as studs. The improved but lesser know son should be a better value buy than the lauded venerable ancestor or unproven, unknown import.

For fibre breeding goals please remember that different fibre characteristics suit different markets and products.  What crimp style do you want to breed? Are you after density or fineness? SD and CV considerations?  Your fibre breeding goals must synchronise with your product intentions for them to succeed.

Whatever your breeding goal is, to maximise your return from the stud fee or male purchase, you need to ensure the male is best suited for your female and your breeding plan.