How to cuddle an alpaca this weekend
KIWANI Pride Alpacas was formed a decade ago and has been keeping, breeding and showing huacaya alpacas from its early years.
Their alpacas have been shown for many years at Brisbane Ekka, Toowoomba Show and Ipswich Show and owner Lynn Kincade has 52 of them at her home.
She loves this time of year when she brings the animals to the Ipswich Show, giving families a chance to get up and close with a fascinating animal.
"We've had them for about 13 years, and they are amazing animals," Ms Kincade said.
"There are usually two reactions that people have around alpacas, and that's either 'Oh they are so cute', or the alpaca spits and people move backwards.
"They do spit, but only when they are annoyed, and they will indicate way in advance they are getting annoyed about something. In varies, but one thing they hate is being touched on the head. That's where they identify each other, and of course everyone wants to pat them. I would suggest stroking their necks. They aren't pets, they are livestock, and don't like to be hugged. If you hug an alpaca you are telling it that you are the dominant being, it's a behaviour."
Like similar species, they are social animal with a pecking order, but there are good ways to deal with them.
"Many people put their hands out, but they won't smell it. Approach them slowly, and stroke the front of their neck very gently. Try to not to go behind them, and just be very gentle with them," she aid.
"All up I have 52 of them, and with the drought we are hand feeding them at the moment. We usually have two or three of our male alpacas in a pen at the association site at the top of the hill. I love having the opportunity to meet people who are curious, and love animals. It's not just about the alpacas, but all the others at the Ipswich Show, to see what animals are like up close."
Lynn says that if you want a selfie with an alpaca, just ask any of the handlers for help, and they will be happy to help.
"One of our male alpacas is taken for a walk along the top road at various times during the day. This is a great favourite with everyone at the show," she said. "Our boys do enjoy their walkabouts and they are happy to be stroked carefully, neck and shoulders only, as it can be uncomfortable for them to be touched at the rear of their bodies where they cannot see what is happening.
"Please talk to the handler if you would like to feel the fleece of or have a photo with an alpaca and we encourage you to take a selfie with an alpaca!" she said. "We look forward to helping you to have a wonderful day at the Ipswich Show!"
Meet the alpacas at the Ipswich Show May 17-19. Grab your official 12 page guide FREE with your QT Friday and Saturday!