2022/2023 Alpaca Owners Guide

T he best way to learn about the joy of owning alpacas is to visit the farms and ranches of people who are already in the business. Alpaca owners are friendly folks who enjoy sharing their alpacas with the public. You will find that each breeder has his or her own in dividual style and method of operation. You can learn a little from each breeder and decide how you personally would like to participate in the alpaca industry and at what level. Certainly, an important first step is to join Al paca Owners Association, Inc. (AOA). There are several levels of membership available to fit your needs. The most basic level of paid membership

be a highly educational, exciting, and enjoyable experience. These shows also offer unmatchable networking opportunities, where alpaca business owners and individuals interested in this livestock come together from across the country—and the globe—to discuss their alpaca business, experi ences, successes and failures. Upcoming educa tional events and shows can be found online at www.alpacainfo.com.  Purchasing Your Alpacas Let’s say you decide to give raising alpacas a try. Howmany should you start with? Well, the answer to this question depends upon your long term

Research is the most important step when considering starting any

livestock business.

goals. If you are interested in acquiring a few fiber animals, your investment will be minimal. However, if you decide you want to breed alpacas as a business, it is a good idea to think of how many animals you would like to have in five or ten years. Then buy the number of animals you can afford to help reach your goal. As a rule of thumb, the more animals you purchase in the beginning, the sooner you should be able to recoup your initial investment and start to see a profit. However, quality is as important as the quantity of animals you purchase. Select your foundation herd judiciously, as they are going to be the basis for your future progeny and sales. The number of alpacas you start with, of course, will also depend on how much capital you have, what your tax situation is, howmuch acreage you have, time and available ranch help, and a host of other factors.  Adequate Planning

with AOA will allow you to research alpacas and verify the cur rent indicated owner(s) before purchasing. For the latest in in dustry-related news, be sure to subscribe to Alpacas Magazine.  Deciding to Own Alpacas Whether the focus is breeding stock or fleece, alpaca business owners understand and embrace the work that goes into run ning their alpaca business. With the industry steadily growing in North American for more than 30 years, successful alpaca business owners did not go into this venture expecting to "get rich quick." Many have, indeed, made a successful living in this industry but, as with any business, research and hard work are necessary. Research is the most important step when considering starting any livestock business, and a prospective owner must understand the basic information necessary to care for these animals. Every livestock species has its special requirements and visiting alpaca farms is an excellent place to begin the inves tigative process. A listing of local alpaca farms can be found online at www.alpacainfo.com. Another great way to learn about the industry is to attend alpaca shows and events. The alpaca industry features a world class show system developed to promote positive public aware ness of the unique qualities of alpacas. They provide owners the opportunity to learn how to improve the breed and enhance their marketability while promoting and protecting the health and well-being of alpacas. Attending these shows can prove to

No endeavor will succeed without a plan. Thomas and Connie Betts of Cascade Alpacas of Oregon in Hood River, Oregon, attest to the fact that creating a well thought out, detailed business plan has helped them to succeed in the

ALPACA OWNERS GUIDE 2022/2023 | 23

Made with FlippingBook Digital Publishing Software