Livestock Blog

Archive for the 'Alpaca Journal' Category

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

In Search Of The World’s Finest Alpacas

   The phone rang. It was 6:30 a.m. on my birthday, March 16, 1995. I was half asleep when Phil Mizrahie, of The Pet Center, asked me if I would like to fly to Peru and participate in the selection of 600 alpacas. A moment later I was wide awake and said, “Yes! When do I leave?” “Next Wednesday,” he said. So began an alpaca adventure I will never forget. I flew to Miami and met up with several members of the selection team. Bill Barnett had just arrived from Seattle, Mary Reed flew in from Ohio and Fred Swift whom I’d never met arrived from Vermont. We boarded the plane at 11:59 p.m., headed for Lima and a change of planes for the flight into Cusco, the ancient capital city of the Inca empire. Read Entire Story.

A Conversation with Don Julio Barreda

Arequipa’s El Tourista Hotel provokes a colonial image created by pink stucco walls, framed by high arches, open to broad verandas which give way to green lawns and giant, gnarled shade trees. The hotel, one of few still owned by the Peruvian Government, is set in Arequipa’s finest residential neighborhood. During my recent visit to Peru, Don Julio agreed to meet me for lunch at El Tourista. Much to our surprise, just as the waiter delivered cold lemonade and beer to our table on the veranda, Dr. Walter Bravo appeared from an arriving taxi. Read entire story.

Don Julio Barreda


   Julio Barreda an artist who extracted pigment from the invisible DNA curling in the plasma of an ancient species painted his vision of perfection with balance and harmony across the genotype of a herd sixty years in the making. His extraordinary accomplishment, a gift from God, touched each of us.

   Don Julio stood all of five foot six, hair combed straight back black until the day he died, nut brown skin, burnished and creased by an Incan sun and the cruel, cold wind that comes to rest in the marrow of a man born of Macusani s high plains. Don Julio was a giant in the alpaca world the Godfather. He was born of a Quechua woman and an accountant father from Arequipa, who died, leaving little Julio to be raised by his mother and grandfather on a vast hacienda in the province of Carabaya. His relationship with alpacas began almost before he could talk. Read entire story.

Sister Antonia and The Mystic Powers of Peru’s Cuy

By Mike Safley

     I recently returned from the annual Quechua Benefit trip to Peru where we support a food program at the local church in the Colca Valley town of Yanque .  I met with the sister who operates the daily feeding operation.  I was inspired to write a short story about her, Sister Antonia and The Mystic Power of Peru s Cuy, which I believe portrays the true spirit of Christmas.  The Bible teaches us to feed the poor and heal the sick.  Sister Antonia surely walks in the footsteps of Jesus.  Merry Christmas, I hope you enjoy the story which begins below.

     Sister Antonia Kayser is a plucky 81 year-old Catholic nun from the borough of Brooklyn , New York .  A member of the Maryknoll Order, Sister Antonia has been feeding 800 dirt-poor people a day since 1983 from the courtyard of the church in Yanque, a small town in the Colca Valley of Peru. Antonia does this five days a week, year in year out. On Saturday she feeds 400 more young children who rarely get enough to eat.  If you were to do the math you would find that over the years, Antonia has provided hungry men, women, and children with nearly 6 million individual meals. She is legendary in the Colca Valley . I asked an Indian woman from the far end of the Valley, many hours away from Yanque, if she knew Sister Antonia.  She replied, I know of her she is the nun who feeds people.   Read entire story.

Related Links:

Alpaca Herdsire Selection: The Art and the Science

   The herdsire for any breeding program is the single most important determinant of overall herd quality. It’s true for cattle, sheep, horses, or any other breed. For alpacas in North America the sire is even more important. Alpaca bloodlines are currently available for only four or five generations. For a breeder to be certain of the genetic traits being introduced into his cria he must carefully select from available living studs. He may not be able to rely on multi-generation pedigrees to pass on certain breed traits to his offspring.  Read Entire Story.

Quechua Benefit: The Mission in the Andes

   The highlands of Peru are home to the vast majority of all the alpacas in the world. The Quechua Indians, who domesticated the vicuna more than five thousand years ago, are the source of the alpaca which now reside in the outside world. Their world of high plains and harsh environment resists the probability of profit, providing the Quechua only a subsistence level existence. A pair of shoes, an extracted tooth, or a warm blanket is out of reach for many of these people that time has forgotten. Comfort is a luxury experienced by only a few. Read Entire Story.