Why you should raise alpacas and what it takes to do it right
Ever wondered about having your very own alpacas? Well it may not be as hard as you think!
Relatively cheap to feed and care for
What many people don’t know is that alpacas cost about the same to feed as a dog! Their diet mostly consists of grass and hay, and because their three stomachs allow them to get more energy from food, they don’t eat that much to begin with.
Alpacas also do not require a huge amount of space. One acre would be sufficient for 3 to 5 animals. Since they are so hardy, they really only require a small barn or shelter.
Cleaner than other livestock
Cleaning up their pen or pasture is quite easy since they all go to the bathroom in the same pile. Simply put down a layer of straw and then shovel up the pile about once a day!
Also, you only have to shear them once a year. This process only takes about 20 minutes and provides you with a large supply of a sought after commodity and a healthy, happy alpaca!
Substantially cheaper than they used to be
The cost of one head varies greatly depending on what you intend to use the alpaca for. If you just want an adorable, fluffy pet who mows your lawn by eating it, you could get a non-breeding male for a couple hundred dollars. However, a breeding male with excellent fiber can cost as much as a couple HUNDRED THOUSAND.
The average breeding males and females can vary from a few thousand dollars to about $15,000 based on the quality of their fiber and conformation.
Although their price tag can be quite high, the great thing about livestock is that they multiply! You can get a substantial return on investment by breeding and selling your alpacas.
Potentially profitable investment
Alpacas can become a profitable business. Not only can you raise them and sell them, you can show them and sell their fiber! You can breed your female with one of your own males, or you can breed it with a “stud” who has excellent fiber and conformation. Then, you can take your alpaca to shows and use the ribbons it wins to sell their fiber for a higher cost.
When judges look at alpacas, they are looking for two things that I just mentioned: fiber and conformation. Conformation is the shape of their body, how they are built, which direction their feet and legs point, etc. However, the most important is their fiber. When analyzing the quality of fiber, judges (and potential buyers) look for fineness and handle, crimp, and high and consistent micron count (among other things).
Gentle and adorable
The most obvious reason- alpacas are super soft and sweet animals. They are incredibly friendly and docile.
When using your alpaca farm as a business, you can qualify for many tax exemptions and deductibles, such as:
Mileage for ranch business
Most other costs related to operating your alpaca ranch
These deductibles can add up quickly to help ease the burden of taking care of your alpacas. You can also get a tax deferment for up to 10 years if you have your alpacas held as breeding stock.
You can’t buy just one, alpacas like company!
Alpacas are a long-term commitment. Unless you are planning to sell them, they will be around for 15 to 20 years.