On the next episode screening 13 July at 7pm on TV ONE
Living on a farm where you know the names of all your stock might seem a romantic dream to some – but Waiheke Islanders Lisa and Keenan Scott have achieved it.
The couple often enjoy breakfast with Posh and Fairytale as their prized alpacas come and sit under a huge Pohutukawa tree overlooking one of the island’s tranquil bays. In the late afternoon, Keenan enjoys nothing better than a walk around the property with two others from his flock, Mandela and Elvis.
Lisa and Keenan made a life-changing decision to farm alpacas 10 years ago.
“It’s just like farming teddy bears,” says Keenan, an electrical engineer turned alpaca breeder. “I can’t imagine life without them.
“They are just amazing creatures, super-intelligent and very endearing. If you are a bit tense or stressed you get drawn into their low tempo whenever you are around them. It’s a great way to start the day.”
The Scotts got hooked on alpacas while living in Australia and always hoped the animals would be part of their life back home in New Zealand.
“We knew it was time to come back when our eldest daughter Jess started singing Advance Australia Fair at school,” says Lisa.
The Scotts have been perfecting a breeding programme using an embryo transfer procedure to produce alpacas with fine fleeces and of good size.
“We have the perfect calling card – once an international client receives one of our alpacas, the orders flow immediately,” says Keenan.
Their alpacas breed three times a year and Australian expert Dr Jane Vaughan travels to Waiheke to carry out the embryo transfer procedure.
This involves getting high-quality female alpacas to ovulate early and mating them with the best stud stock. A week after they get pregnant, the eggs are harvested and transferred into less valuable alpacas, which are sold complete with their unborn baby. Most are exported to Europe.
“We aren’t tinkering with Mother Nature that much,” says Dr Vaughan. “It reflects how robust the embryos are. The mating is done naturally and we are just taking out a week-old embryo and transferring it quickly into a donor alpaca. The embryo copes relatively well with coming out and seeing the sunshine for a little while.”
It’s not unusual for Dr Vaughan to capture three embryos from each alpaca during the egg harvesting process and she has captured up to 13 embryos from a single female.
To find out more about Lisa and Keenan’s alpaca stud, visit:
To find out more about farming alpacas, visit: