John & Susan Merrell
41390 Hwy 226
Scio, OR 97374
503-394-3790
503-551-7219 (cell)

Breeding Goals

Gateway Farm is breeding huacaya alpacas for fiber, conformation and disposition. As alpaca breeders, we are continually improving our herd while supporting the development of the US alpaca textile industry.

We are breeding alpacas with long term production values in mind. Our alpacas are bred to be sound and healthy and easy to manage, while producing marketable fleece.

"Conformation - Structure, the shape or proportionate dimensions of, esp. of an animal." At Gateway Farm Alpacas, our view of proper alpaca conformation goes beyond what meets the eye. It is important that alpacas exhibit positive characteristics that enhance their ability to survive and reproduce. Thus, we place importance on a female alpaca's ability to produce milk and to give easy births. We believe that form follows function. Our breeding program aims to build traits related to fiber, health and reproduction. As livestock, alpacas should be easy to care for, have a high reproductive rate, and produce a dense, fine fleece. Our alpacas are proving themselves in these areas.

"Disposition - prevailing tendency, mood, or inclination." Alpacas should be easy to work with and to handle. In addition to the yearly shearing, and routine maintenance procedures, alpacas should tolerate human contact at all times. While highly intelligent, and capable of being trained, there is sound evidence that an alpaca's basic disposition is heritable. Our alpaca breeding program aims to preserve the gentle disposition of our foundation herd while improving upon the fiber characteristics that are the source of the intrinsic worth of alpacas.

"Fleece - the coat of wool covering a wool bearing animal (as a sheep)." Alpaca fleece was once considered a gift of the Andean gods. It is the alpaca's fleece that gives the alpaca its intrinsic value. Three attributes contribute to the primary value of an alpaca fleece - fineness (measured in microns), staple length, and yield. At Gateway Farm Alpacas, our breeding program is aimed at increasing fleece yield while preserving a low micron. Our herd of colored huacaya alpacas all possess good fiber qualities, and our breeding program has been successful in improving these qualities. We value color in our alpacas, and at Gateway Farm you will find a rainbow, including true blacks, maroons and browns shading up through pure white.

 
Alpaca Sales

"Manufactures from their hair more resemble silk than woolen stuffs, and some of those made of the Alpaca fleece, are quite black, without having been dyed. It has been a matter of surprise to many, that they are not naturalized in this country, as the climate would not be an obstacle to success. The demand, however, for their produce so much, increases, that it is very probable they may at some future time become denizens of our mountainous districts..."

R. Lee
Anecdotes of the Habits and Instinct of Animals (1852)
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