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Once you have applied for classification through the Suri Herd Improvement Program and scheduled a date for your classification, you are on your way!

The actual process of classification will be an outstanding learning experience for you, and a bit of planning and preparation will help ensure that it goes smoothly so you get maximal benefit from the experience.

Which animals will be classified?
Any Suri alpaca age one and older are eligible for classification. 

What does the classifier need for each animal to be classified?
The classifier will only need the animal, provided the animal has at least three inches of fleece. Animals that have been sheared recently and do not have three inches of growth can be classified, however, the classifier will also need the bag of blanket fiber from that animal in order to conduct complete scoring of the fiber.

How do I prepare for the classification?
You will be asked to log into the database to create and submit an inventory of animals (herd list). You can create the list manually or download a spreadsheet of your registered alpacas from the AOA site and upload the list to the SHIP database (Instructions are on the database).

This list includes the following information:

  1. ​AOA registration name|
    AOA registration number 
    Date of birth

  2. Once your list is complete, you are ready to print the classification forms that will be needed on classification day. Set your printer settings to double-sided.  This setting will print one classification form, front and back, for each Suri in your herd list. You do not need to print in color.

  3. Decide the order for animals to be seen (it does not matter to the classifiers) and organize the classification forms in that order. It is helpful to the classifiers if you have a subtotal of the number of animals for each group so that they can gauge how many have been done and how many remain to be done throughout the classification process on your farm. Prepare a check-off list of animals in that same order for helpers to use as they are getting animals ready to be seen. 

  4. Prepare a check-off list of animals in that same order for helpers to use as they are getting animals ready to be seen.

  5. Determine who will be available to help get animals ready, who will handle the animals for the classifier, and who will take notes.

    • Two people will get animals haltered and ready to be seen and to return the animals to their pens after assessment.
    • One to two people will handle the animals;
    • One person will be available to help handle any animals that are more difficult to handle during the hands-on assessment (this can be one of the people who is helping to ready animals); 
    • One person will take notes, ask questions, and understand the comments of the classifier.

What kind of space do I need to have?

  1. Provide an area that is protected from the elements and that is large enough to serve as “show ring”. There should be a flat floor that animals can walk on easily.
  2. Use a holding pen as a staging area. This is where animals can be haltered and readied for assessment. It is ideal to have two helpers moving animals into staging area, haltering, and handing animals to handler when they are to be assessed. They can then return animals to their pens after each is done. 
  3. Provide a table for forms and other paperwork. A tall table (waist high) works well.
  4. There should be good lighting for looking at fiber.

How can I help things move smoothly during the classification process? 

  1. Animals should not be fed prior to their assessment. This will reduce any spitting by resistant animals.
  2. Helpers should get animals haltered and ready with leads.
  3. The handler walks the animal out, much like the show ring, so that the classifier can observe walk and then profile.
  4. While it is possible for one person to do all the handling, it is helpful for there to be two people to take turns handling animals. A back-up helper can serve in much the same way as a ring steward for animals that are more difficult to handle.
  5. One person should take notes, listen, observe and ask any questions of clarification.
  6. If there is an animal that is not halter trained, there should be a catch pen and a lane way where the animal can walk and be observed. Envision taking your animals in the show ring. The classifier must be able to observe the alpaca walking freely and must be able to have hands on. There needs to be a handler or two who can hold the animal for a hands-on assessment.

Following the classification, the classifier will take the individual assessment forms in order to complete data entry. 

The forms will be returned to you after data entry is completed.

Suri Network
Phone: (970) 586-5876
Fax: (970) 591-0007

P.O. Box 1984

Estes Park, Colorado

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Suri Network

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