A FORMER librarian who has become an award winning alpaca breeder is throwing open her farm for a one day sale - after her stud became too successful.

Jacki Barlow needs to reduce her herd of alpacas to a more manageable size.

The herd currently stands at 71 - with five baby alpacas due in the next few weeks - and Ms Barlow is hoping to get it back down to 40 to 50.

She set up Beacon Alpacas at Husthwaite, near Thirsk, North Yorkshire, four years ago, after falling in love with the South American pack animals when her sister started a farm.

“I was just hooked,” said Ms Barlow. “They are lovely animals and very easy to look after.

"They’re interested in everyone and everything. The males make very good field guards. So when I got the chance to buy the land at Husthwaite which alpacas could thrive on, I jumped at it.

“They are sheared in May and you get this wonderful luxurious fleece, we get it spun into wool and have socks and other garments made, it’s fabulously soft."

Ms Barlow has had a lot of success with the stud. This year she entered the British Alpaca Society show for the first time and won with one of her black adult herd sires.

“I was really pleased because you are competing with all the big breeders, and it made all the hard work worthwhile,” she said.

Alpacas come from South America, and were originally bred by the Aztecs for their warm fleece. They are still a staple diet in Peru and Chile, but Ms Barlow breeds them only for wool and walking.

“If I went to Peru I might try the meat, but I couldn’t eat one of my own, although it is apparently very low in cholesterol,” she said.

Ms Barlow also organises walks with her animals for members of the public.

The sale is on Saturday, July 13 from 10am to 4pm with training and after sales service on offer. For more information go to www.beaconalpacas.co.uk.