Prepotent Alpaca Males and Improving Breeding Outcomes
- greater than others in power or influence
- (of a breeding animal) showing great effectiveness in transmitting heredity characteristics to its offspring.
When we talk about prepotency we tend to be talking about the reliable transmission of positive traits that an alpaca passes on to their progeny. Obviously, an alpaca is just as capable of passing on undesirable traits effectively, but this isn’t something we deliberately put to the test.
Whilst prepotency can apply equally to both males and females, it is often the reliability of the male who is discussed and the consistency in the quality of their offspring. This may be due to the potential for a greater number of progeny to be sired by males, thus them bearing a greater influence within a herd. They also provide more progeny for the assessment of prepotency to occur.
However, the prepotency of the female plays an essential part in improving quality within any herd. It is highly likely that any prepotent stud male has a highly performing dam as well as a top grade sire, thus cementing in the quality traits and avoiding less desirable recessive traits which may be seen in studs born to mid-range females. Remember that the female bears 50% of the genes shared in any offspring.
When breeding I remind myself that every trait (fleece, conformation, productivity etc) will have a dominant aspect (seen) and a recessive one (hidden). At every breeding, both the dam and sire may pass on either the dominant or recessive gene for any of those traits. So, (keeping it simple) if, for example, you pair a dam and sire who are both very uniform in micron, then you have increased the chances of prepotency for this trait in the offspring (not guaranteed without progeny testing – remember the parents may have a recessive gene of a different quality). However, breeding like to like over time should improve the reliability of this trait (do remember you can equally cement poor traits into your breeding programme, as well as positive ones). This may be described as ‘fixing’ a specific trait into a herd through generations of reliability.
Of course, sometimes there is a need to improve a trait in an alpaca (one who has many other positive traits). An example of this would be a female who is fine, dense, very uniform in micron, but has a shorter staple length. Pairing with a male to improve staple length (who is also fine, dense and uniform) is a sensible decision. Although, I would bear in mind that the resulting progeny, if longer in staple, needs to keep going back to a longer stapled mate to increase the chances of maintaining the improvement (keep remembering recessive traits).
It was the receipt of our annual fleece statistics that had me reflect again on the prepotency of some of our home bred males:
Beck Brow Glory Daze (Beck Brow Bedazzle x Bozedown Blase of Glory)
Glory Daze has proven himself to be a high-performing male on the show circuit. He is unbeaten in the halter shows. The pinnacle of his prestigious run was being awarded British Alpaca Society National Halter Show Supreme Champion and Best British Bred in 2022 as an adult.
Add to this the accolade of BAS National Champion of Champions Supreme Fleece in both 2022 and again in 2023, and there is no doubt he himself is well above average in phenotype.
Fleece stats taken yearly and tested by Art of Fibre
First Fleece stats (1 year of age)
MFD 14.3 SD 3.6 CV 25.3 CF 100% CRV 48.2
Second Fleece stats
MFD 16.3 SD 3.8 CV 25.5 CF 100% CRV 48.2 CRV 47.1
Third Fleece stats
MFD 16.9 SD 3.8 CV 22.3 CF 100% CRV 54.1
Fourth Fleece stats
17.4 SD 3.9 CV 22.7 CF 100% CRV 49.6
Glory Daze has been genetically colour-tested ee AA (white)
Glory Daze has never demonstrated any reaction to mites or suffered from issues with low tolerance to internal parasites. He is a strong male with a very gentle temperament.
He only has three cia born at Beck Brow so far (all male):
Beck Brow Centre Stage (dam: Bozedown Edge of Glory)
Shown twice: Supreme Champion NWAG Alpaca Championships 2023. Champion White Male HoEAG Fiesta 2023
Fleece (April 2023)
MFD 12.3 SD 3.0 CV 24.8 CF 100% CRV 58
Beck Brow Moving On Up (dam: Bozedown Celestrial – highly performing)
Not shown yet.
Fleece (April 2023)
MFD 12.9 SD 3.3 CV 26 CF 100% CRV 45.7
Beck Brow Bright Spark (dam Furze Park Elvira)
Not shown yet
Fleece (April 2023)
MFD 13.3 SD 3.4 CV 25.2 CF 100% CRV 46.8
Whilst his sire (Bozedown Blaze of Glory) has proven himself very well through his progeny. Glory Daze also comes from highly performing parents on his dam’s side with Mordern Hall Honaria and Beck Brow Explorer both prepotent in their sharing of quality traits in their offspring.
Beck Brow On The Money (Bozedown Campari x Timbertop Goldmine of Beck Brow)
I will keep this shorter as the principle of looking at phenotype, results and progeny is the same.
On The Money (OTM), whose sire (Timbertop Goldmine) is highly performing, comes from one of our most successful female lines. Bozedown Campari has produced 6 off-spring (all male) from 4 different males. Five of these are working stud males (and with the other, with hindsight, I was probably too harsh not letting work!).
OTM had a successful show career before letting his offspring represent him on the show circuit. He was never beaten within his class and acquired seven Championship ribbons and one Reserve Championship.
He is a compact but robust male who has never shown signs of external parasites nor does he have a low tolerance to internal parasites.
Whilst we haven’t taken fleece measurements every year for OTM I thought that would be interesting for me to confirm that his eighth fleece had changed very little and I wasn’t disappointed:
First Fleece (2016)
MFD 17.3 SD 3.5 CV 20.3 SF 100%
Fourth Fleece (2019)
MFD 20.0 SD 3.4 CV 17 CF 99.9%
Eighth Fleece (2023)
MFD 20.9 SD 3.9 CV 18.8 CF 98.5%
OTM has been genetically colour tested as Ee aa
OTM has sired far too many Champions to mention them all here, including two championship-winning males at the 2022 BAS National Show: Velvet Hall Finisterre (Grey Champion) and Beck Brow The Instigator (Brown Champion).
His latest progeny to be recognised is Beck Brow Round of Applause who took the Huacaya Supreme Championship and Best British Bred at the Heart of England Fiesta 2023 (240 entries) as well as overall Light Champion at NWAG 2023.
Second Fleece stats (2023)
MFD 16.1 SD 2.9 CV 18.2 100% CRV 53.8
Featured image at the top – Bozedown Blaze of Glory winning the Sire’s Progeny Championship with progeny from Beck Brow Alpacas