For as long as Rubey Williams can remember, alpacas have always been a big part of her life.
Rubey is one of the directors of the successful Coolawarra Alpaca Stud at Mittagong in NSW's Southern Highlands where they run 1200 alpacas on Coolaroo for meat and fleece production.
Working six days a week on the farm, Rubey's duties include all the animal husbandry tasks such as drenching, vaccinating, drafting, classing and any kind of breeding and reproduction activities.
Waratah Alpaca Fibre Co-op is also run out of Coolaroo, with Rubey spending two of her six days in the shed classing fleece.
While it is a busy lifestyle, Rubey loves it.
"My parents bought their first alpacas in 1998 and I was born in 2000, so I have literally grown up around them," Rubey said.
"I have always had this natural affinity towards them.
"While I love that they are a dual purpose animal, being used for both fibre and meat, I really love their nature.
"They are really curious, intelligent animals and are wonderful to run around the property.
"They just have that touch of intelligence about them that I appreciate so much."
Rubey has more on her plate than just alpacas.
She is studying an Agribusiness Management degree via distance education at Charles Sturt University Wagga and is also working towards becoming an accredited alpaca judge.
It was part of her studies which could see Coolawarra grow on a massive scale.
"My degree will give me the skills run our business as efficiently as possible," Rubey said.
"It also helps me learn about other industries and what may be good combination avenues to run with the alpacas in the future.
"It was through my studies that we may see some expansion in our operation.
"I was given an assignment to complete a commercial farm plan.
"I focused on some large numbers and looked at the return on fibre and meat.
"We are now looking at possibly turning that plan into practice with a large farm in Western Australia where we could run 10,000 to 15,000 alpacas on a 2000 hectare property, sending a shipping container of fleece overseas every 10 months."
At this year's Sydney Royal Easter Show, Rubey judged her first fleece competition.
"In 2019, I signed up to be an apprentice judge with the Australian Alpaca Association," she said.
"COVID slowed down my progress with no shows, but I hope to complete my five halter competitions and remaining four fleece competitions by the middle of next year."