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Alpacas as crowd pullers at agricultural show: “They’re intelligent animals”

A wonderful scoop during the agricultural fair in Oppmir. Today only traditional animals like cows and sheep are seen. For the first time in 111 years Alpacas were also studied at the agricultural event. A very attention-grabbing one.

Breeder John Lichthardt with his successful alpaca Titanium – Maurits van Eckdom / NH News

Alpacas should become a crowd puller, according to organizer Tijmen Leekwater. He oversees the study with his girlfriend, Bianca Vraint, from Shellingout. For the first time this year. About twelve participants from all over the Netherlands attended.

And it’s not without reason: animals originating from South America are on the rise. Also, the grower benefits a lot from it. “That way they know where they stand,” Leakwater explains of the poll.

Performance ring

About 50 alpacas were examined today. “And whoever comes closest to the ideal will be the champion of the day.” But what should you focus on? When do you score well? “We look at frame and appearance. Are the legs even, the tip of the tail straight. And the teeth, eyes and ears are not missing. Does he have clear vision. Are the ears clean, no bumps? A whole list of requirements.”

Alpacas are judged by judge Robin Nazemann from Germany, a well-known face in breeding. After inspection, he selects the top three – in a performance ring. “One important area is the quality of the wool. But that won’t be the case this year because they’ve already been shorn,” says Leakwater.

Text continues below photo.

Judge Robin Neseman is busy at work – Moritz van Ekdom / NH News

One of the winners was breeder John Lichthardt. He finished second today with his 1-year-old Alpacas Titanium, Palladium and Gladiator. Something he is proud of. “We’ve been doing this for years. Recently we started with types from New Zealand and Australia, which helped us add new bloodlines to the herd. This has now been confirmed by the jury, so it means we’re on the right track. . . Sit down.”

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Together with his son Gert-Jan, he runs the family business located in Hukarspel. “It started as a hobby, but now we’ve been breeding alpacas for almost 23 years,” Gert-Jan says with a laugh.

Pioneer

They started with a herd of four trees and a stallion from Peru. They now have 40 alpacas – as of this year. “We are a pioneer, especially in North Holland. When we started an alpaca farm in 2000, we were the only ones. Now it’s different.”

When asked what makes working with alpacas the most fun, Gerd-John doesn’t have to think twice. “They’re like chickens, they’re very curious and intelligent. And when you have to feed them, they’re brutal. They snatch the bucket out of your hands.”

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