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Atom the alpaca outshines the rest at British Alpaca Society show

PUBLISHED: 19:30 26 May 2013

Atom the award-winning alpaca from Beighton.  PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Atom the award-winning alpaca from Beighton. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2013

He might be fleecy but there is nothing woolly about Norfolk’s Atom the Alpaca when it comes to winning competitions.

The 38-month-old Norfolk born stud, who lives on an alpaca farm in Beighton, near Acle, has scooped first prize at a national show.

“He is a cheeky chappy, and very keen on the ladies,” said owner Emma Taylor, who started up alpacas of East Anglia five years ago,

“He likes warm, sunny weather and lives happily with the other breeding boys. We took four animals to the show. All three girls placed, but our boy really did outshine the competition.

“The main contest was an imported alpaca from Australia who had never been beaten over there, but couldn’t win this one.”

While Atom, whose full name is East Anglia Atom, won the intermediate grey male category at the British Alpaca Society’s national show near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire on May 11 and 12, female Jazz came fourth in the junior grey, Juju came third in the junior white, and Silver Spirit placed second in the intermediate grey female group.

“He probably doesn’t know about the title but he will notice when he gets a few more visits from the ladies,” said Emma.

Atom’s mother was one of the couple’s original herd of 11 alpacas.

Today they have 59 - with more on the way. “We’re on what we affectionately call ‘bottom watch’,” said Emma.

“We are expecting a number of babies. We’ve got 12 due and three should be born in the next 14 days or so.”

The original herd came from Northampton and Warwickshire, carefully selected for their fleece quality and accredited lineage stretching back to Peru and Chile.

At the farm, Emma and partner Chris also run a mill where bespoke machinery turns delicate alpaca fleece into yarn which they then sell on or use for made-to-order knitwear.

“You wouldn’t take a Ferrari to a Ford garage,” explained Emma. “We were lucky enough to get a 50pc Defra grant for the mill and it is one of only six alpaca mills in the country. It is unique.”

If you needed proof of the yarn’s quality, the couple also picked up first prize for their fleece at the national show.

“We don’t enter many national shows and there are sadly not many on this side of the country, most are held in the south west,” said Emma, who worked with horses and dogs before discovering a love of alpaca farming.

The East Anglia alpacas live in paddocks across 18 acres of land. The seven males which they put out to stud live together, while the females share a playground paddock of hills and humps for them to stand on and look out from.

To contact Alpacas of East Anglia call 01493 750429 or visit www.alpacasofeastanglia.com

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