From the start – Mulberry Alpacas has been a family venture and a way of enjoying our family time together since 1996 when Chloe was just four. After very careful research we bought our first three boys to guard the chickens from Mr Fox who wanders by regularly – he took our previous hens in the middle of the day!
We have done a vast amount of research and visited many herds of all types. We decided from the outset that we would work with the fleeces. Our first shearing was part of a very steep learning curve. We have unashamedly sought advice over the years and greatly value our networking through the British Alpaca Society who provide quality markers for all aspects of our enterprise. Harry has enjoyed many training courses provided by and supported by BAS over the years. These have included aspects of Husbandry, Fleece Assessment, Breeding and birthing, Fibre to market as well as the Foundation course for judge training. Our own education is ongoing and now we find ourselves sharing our knowledge and experience with others as we plan and run courses as well as giving individual support to new alpaca keepers.
From the time our first ball of yarn came back from the mill Roz has enthusiastically knitted, crocheted and felted – she heads up our team of knitters and monitors our showroom and products with meticulous scrutiny. We are constantly looking for new ideas in what we are doing with our fleece.
Harry takes a lead in herd management, husbandry and breeding programme constantly researching new studs year by year. He is also busy going out in evenings to talk to groups as well as talking occasionally to Mens Breakfast Groups about our herd and products. Talking to visiting groups and courses is also part of his work .
Chloe has learnt to handle and manage the herd over the years and has become a very capable alpaca handler. She heads up the halter training of all our youngsters and seems to manage this very efficiently with little fuss. More recently she has moved these skills on and has become very interested in agility training often putting on demonstrations particularly for younger visitors.
She is usually the one who will take our show team into the ring. Explanations to visitors and groups about halter training are a very familiar part of her repertoire. She is always willing to lend a hand with matings and “spit offs” (If you want to know more – ask her!!!!).