• Herdsire Line-Up

    An example from two alpaca breeders looking for generational fleece trait improvements using skin biopsy data as an aid to making better breeding choices. more »
  • Skirting Suri – a Textile Process

    As soon as an alpaca – suri or huacaya - is restrained on the shearing table or floor, its fleece becomes a commercial commodity. The genetics, breeding, awards and animal’s name and temperament are no longer important. The priority at that point is to obtain the highest commercial yield possible from individual and groups of alpacas with the key being ‘consistency’. That means aiming to have consistency within a single skirted fleece and within the total fleece clip of your alpaca herd. more »
  • A Comparative Study on the Felting Propensity of Animal Fibers

    The felting propensity of different animal fibers, particularly alpaca and wool, has been examined. The Aachen felting test method was employed. 1 g of each type of fiber was soaked in 50 ml of wetting solution and agitated in a dyeing machine to make felt balls. The diameter of each ball was measured in nine directions and the ball density was calculated in g/cm3; the higher the density value of the ball, the higher the feltability of the fibers. The effects of fiber diameter and fiber length on the felting propensity of these fibers were investigated. The results show that the alpaca fibers felt to a higher degree than wool fibers, and short and fine cashmere fibers have lower felting propensity than wool fibers at a similar diameter range. There is a higher tendency of felting for bleached and dyed alpaca fibers than for untreated fibers. Fiber length has a remarkable influence on the propensity of fiber felting. Cotton and nylon fibers were also tested for felting propensity to verify the mechanism responsible for the different fiber felting behavior. more »
  • Dehairing Australian Alpaca Fibres With a Cashmere Dehairing Machine

    Many classes of alpaca fibres contain a certain amount of coarse fibres, which are strong and stiff, and cause discomfort to the end users of the alpaca fibre products. It is therefore desirable to separate the coarse fibres from the fine alpaca fibres. This paper reports trial results on alpaca dehairing using a cashmere dehairing machine. The diameters of alpaca fleece, dehaired alpaca fibres and removed alpaca fibres were analysed, and the fibre lengths before and after dehairing have been compared. The results indicate that it is feasible to dehair alpaca fibres using a cashmere dehairing facility. The dehaired alpaca fibres are cleaner, bulkier and softer, with around 1.5 μm reduction in average fibre diameter, but the dehairing process shortens the dehaired fibre length considerably. The dehairing effectiveness of coarse fibre removal using the cashmere dehairing technology has also been discussed in this paper. more »
  • Inheritance of White Colour in Alpacas: Identifying the Genes Involved

    This RIRDC report describes the research conducted as part of the alpaca colour genetics project to identify the genes involved in the inheritance of white colour in alpacas. Three approaches were used (Mendelian, physical and genetic) in an attempt to unravel the mystery surrounding colour inheritance in alpacas. This project has successfully identified key mutations in genes that lead to differences in fibre colour in alpacas. Other genes, which play a role in colour variation in other species, were cleared of involvement in colour variation in alpacas. Through extensive observational analysis a model for Mendelian inheritance of the major colours was developed. In combination, these findings provide breeders with information that allows them to make informed colour breeding choices. more »