Autumn 2016

Alpacas in Norway

Married couple Nina and Rolf Barbakken moved into the countryside of Norway in 2007 after a career as successful IT consultants and project managers in Oslo. Today they are importers and breeders of a herd of quality alpacas in a small place called Vaaler

Nine years ago we moved out to the countryside from Oslo to start a better life. A life with animals, more space, fresh air, our own garden and quiet surroundings. Neither of us were from the city and grew up in the countryside with horses, pigs, chickens, cows and more. Almost three years before that we were talking about such a move and wondered what kind of animals we should have and breed. Sheep, goats, special dog or cat breeds were all discussed, but didn’t quite fit the bill. While pondering this we saw a trailer for the Discovery channel where a boy led two alpacas home. We had to find out what this animal was about.

After almost giving up on alpacas after our first hands-on experience, we continued to look further and imported our first alpacas from Sweden, and started “Knapper Alpakka”. We loved the alpacas then and we love them now. We still have one in our herd from the original three and her last offspring is of excellent quality. Well done for a fairly low quality Chilean, and well done to our herd sire Corazon that fits her so well. Good pairings are important.

Alpacas are not new to Norway and the first accounts we have found have been circuses and imports back to the 90’s. But alpacas haven’t been very well known to the public and still are not. It wasn’t long ago that someone wondered if they were emus. Llamas have a longer history in our country and quite a few use llamas in their trekking businesses. But the Norwegian market is changing, both for the alpacas and for people’s interests in general. This benefits us as we are working on building a new industry in a country with long and strong handicraft traditions. We feel Norway deserves the alpaca, and that the alpaca is perfect for our small and hilly country.

This article can be found on Page 36 of our Autumn 2016 edition, on sale now! Click here for subscription and purchasing information.

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