Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pioneer Ready to Sell-Off Stock

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pioneer Ready to Sell-Off Stock

Article excerpt

Byline: By Anna Lognonne

Alpaca breeders will be able to take advantage of the results of years of carefully breeding quality, fibre-producing animals at the biggest one-day auction sale of alpacas in the UK.

The sale is being held in Cumbria in September for Syke House Alpacas. One of the country's alpaca pioneers, Pat Bentley, is holding a major reduction sale at Harrison & Hetherington's Borderway Mart, Carlisle, on Saturday September 13.

Pat, a founder member of British Camelids, the British Alpaca Society and the British Alpaca Fine Fibre Co-operative, plans to take a "second" retirement to spend more time with her family. The sale will be the fruits of her efforts over the last two decades.

The Syke House Alpacas herd was founded 20 years ago by Pat, at Newby near Penrith, and this genuine reduction sale will include proven breeder females and first-time calvers with calves at foot and back in calf, a stud male, yearling males and females and some geldings.

The majority have been bred at Syke House. This sale will leave Pat with a small, select group of breeding alpacas, the retired females, old geldings and unreliable breeders which will live out their days at Syke House.

Pat said: "In the 20 years I have been involved with alpacas, I have been concentrating on breeding animals that are reproductively reliable, to get good fleeces and strong conformation equipping them for a long, healthy, productive life.

"The culmination of this is that all females in the sale will be proven to be good mothers, easy calvers and have a consistently early return to the male."

Pat Bentley had decided to breed alpacas when she and her husband Bill retired. She had first seen the animals when on holiday in Peru in 1974 and pioneered the breeding of the animals in the UK in 1984.

Although her initial instincts were heart-led, after the first year of keeping the animals at Syke House and discovering how easy and cheap they were to keep and how much high quality fibre they produced, she decided to try to introduce them to Britain as a viable fleece business for British farmers. …

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