Our last two thoroughly researched and written complete farming guides have encouraged us to write one more. So here we are with a complete Alpaca farming guide. Let us first inform you that it’s just another equally profitable farming option, that would not help you credit your bank account but would reward you with tax deductions as well. Before we move forward to discuss today’s topic let’s get to know this poor animal first, a little differently.
Alpacas are the most forgiving farm animals that belong to the camelidae family. Alpacas, because of their breathtakingly similar appearance, often get compared and confused with llama.
Unlike other domestic animals, Alpacas come only in two breeds; Huacaya and Suri. Huacaya is believed to be the most admired and commonly kept Alpaca breed.
Alpacas are known and admired for their high-grade fiber. The fiber obtained from Alpacas is used in knitting and manufacturing woven items; sweaters, hats, blankets, gloves, and scarves, etc.
Other than fiber, they are an excellent farm animal, a remarkable guard, and a source of highly nutritional meat. Their meat is sweet, tender, and lean. As far as the taste is concerned, it somewhat tastes similar to the deer’s meat.
Alpacas are easier to raise as they are gentle, friendly, and harmless. If all these reasons(besides earning livelihood) are not enough to start Alpaca farming, we do not know what would be. Now that worth-sharing information on Alpacas is served, let’s discuss what we have gathered to discuss.
In this brief guide we would be enlightening how you can start Alpaca farming?, where can you get Alpacas from? what do you need to raise Alpacas?, how can you generate profit from Alpaca farming? and everything else you need to know about Alpacas and Alpaca farming.
How to start Alpaca Farming?
Like starting any other business, you have to be sure about the idea, plan, write it all down on paper, and make necessary arrangements to build the Alpaca farm of your dreams.
Where to start? Here is the guide;
Before taking your first steps toward anything it’s super important for you to ask if this is what you want to do for a living? If, without any doubts or second thoughts, you can say yes, go for it.
Alpaca farming requires a serious commitment and a huge amount of investment so backing up would not be a great idea.
Take your time, do a little research, shadow an existing Alpaca farm owner, and be sure about your decision.
Confirm if the government allows you to build an Alpaca farm in your area
There are certain areas in almost every city, where building such farms is not allowed. So, before taking any step further and ending up being disappointed, check whether your state allows you to build an Alpaca farm in that area or not.
If the Government allows you to do so, you can immediately start working on this project. If it does not, you must be willing to move and select any other location.
Draft a rough plan
Remember! This is not a final business plan at all. This rough plan must state how are you going to arrange the capital, how many Alpacas you are starting with, whether you are going to breed Alpaca or buy, raise, and sell baby Alpacas for profit, how are you minimizing the total cost, how are maximizing the profit and all other important matters that needs to discussed and planned.
Select the business type
At this point, you have to decide whether you want to share your risks and rewards or you would enjoy being a sole owner. You can move forward leaving the business type hanging, so go ahead and decide what should be your go-to option.
Get the final business plan developed
Once you have decided how you are going to operate, it’s time to discuss it further with a professional and get your final business plan developed.
You can develop it yourself as well but it is recommended to hire professional services for this purpose.
Arrange necessary capital
As you can see things clearly, take things forward and arrange the necessary capital to build the Alpaca farm of your dreams. If your savings are not enough, try taking interest-free loans from your friends, family, or acquaintances. As the aim of a businessman should be to maximize profit and minimize cost, try your best not to add “loan interest” to your expenses.
Get some space
You need to get some space to build a farm. As per the experts, five Alpacas can be kept in one acre of land. So, if you are starting with fifty Alpacas(which is an ideal number to start with) you must at least get 10 acres of land on rent.
Build a farm
Now that you have got some space to spice up, be willing to build a barn or similar shelter to give these poor animals a safe and secure environment to live in. Secure the barn with a fence to protect Alpacas from predators. Alpacas are extremely sensitive to both cold and heat, the barn should be able to protect them from that. Read more about Alpaca Names – Over 311 Cute and Funny Ideas
Apply for registration
As you are aiming to take things forward, getting your business registered is a great idea. Registering your business would recognize your Alpaca farm as a legal entity, help you in receiving loans, tax benefits, and earning customers’ trust. Besides that, you would be fulfilling your duty of paying taxes as well.
Get the farm equipped
Building a shelter is not enough, you need to get it equipped with necessities as well. The farm should be equipped with sufficient halter, feeders, water trough, and food(hay, grass, and grains, etc).
No matter how alert and active you are, you would never be enough. So, hire help, consider hiring full and part-time helpers to save cost and maximize profit. It is recommended to hire experienced helpers as you are just starting out, it would be great having someone who knows this industry well.
After a lot of struggle and hard work, your farm is finally ready to hold Alpacas in. As you are building a farm, you can not afford to pay extra. Search online, contact existing Alpaca farmers, read newspapers, leave no stone unturned to avail the best deals.
As soon as the Alpacas arrive, your jobs as an Alpaca farm owner start. So, burn the midnight oil to get recognized as a successful Alpaca farm owner.
Where to buy Alpacas from?
As you would be struggling with this part of the journey more, let us be your guiding star. Well, you have two options,
- Placing an order online
- Sealing the deal with a local farm owner
Placing an order online
The beauty of this era is that nothing “really” has been left out of our reach. If the local farms nearby are selling Alpacas at an overly expensive price, you can search for the animals online. Read our complete guide on the cost of alpacas.
There are high chances that you would end up sealing the deal at an affordable price. Some websites are known for selling such animals at reasonable prices, the sellers are;
- Openherd. Com
- Mobile. audacity. Com
- Alpacamagic. Com
- Hushabyefarmalpacas. Com
- Cottoncreekfarms. Com
Sealing the deal with a local farm owner
Buying Alpacas from a local farm owner is another most reliable way of getting your Alpaca farm crowded.
The only drawback of this method is that the websites usually list animals with detailed information but here you have to judge if the information being provided is true and inspect the documents yourself.
It’s super hard to tell what would be more affordable as it can only find out by comparing the prices. Take your time, shortlist the options, compare the prices, get satisfied, and place an order.
How to raise Alpacas?
Even though Alpacas are extremely hardy, you need to know that it’s going to be a full-time job. Or maybe saying it’s going to be a full-time “fun” job as Alpacas don’t bite, have no sharp teeth, hooves, horns, or claws to be afraid of. To keep Alpacas healthy and earn more profit you need to;
Arrange good quality grass, allow them to graze
Alpacas fulfill their nutritional needs mostly from grass, they occasionally eat leaves, stems, wood, and bark as well. Make sure the Alpacas have easy access to grass, leaves, stems, and barks. As they are grazer by nature and can not be confined to a place, allow them to roam around and graze on grass.
Make water available and easily accessible
Alpacas can live a few days without food but would not survive without water. On average, an Alpaca need two to five gallons of water every day to stay sane. Make fresh water available all the time, be extra careful especially in summers.
Vaccinate on time
According to Research, Like all domesticated animals, Alpacas need to be vaccinated as well. All Alpacas, regardless of their health condition, need Clostridial vaccination at least once a year to live a balanced life. Besides Clostridial, a vitamin D injection is Alpacas’s necessity in winters and it is needed every two months in winter. So, to raise healthy Alpacas keep a track of dates, and vaccinate them on time.
Shear on time
The net profit generated from Alpaca farming includes a noticeable sum of money earned from selling fibers.
Fun Fact: A fully grown Alpaca can produce 10 pounds of fiber each year which is quite impressive.
Alpacas need to be sheared once a year, the Alpaca farmers usually recommend shearing in summer. Shearing in summer would not only help you earn profit but make the summer heat tolerable for Alpacas as well. Try not to get the coat sheared in winter as keeping the fibers on would protect them from extreme cold. Do not get greedy, shear them on time.
Other than that, Alpacas do not “really” demand anything extra as they are extremely hardy, can survive harsh living conditions.
How to make money from Alpaca Farming?
Fortunately, there are several smart ways to make money from an Alpaca farm. These ways are;
- Selling Alpaca fiber
- Selling baby Alpacas
- Offering male Alpacas for breeding
- Renting them out as a “guard sheep”
- Selling Alpaca manure
- By taking them to shows
- By selling Alpaca meat
Selling Alpaca fiber
The most obvious way of generating profit from Alpaca farming is from selling “Alpaca fiber”. As mentioned above, one Alpaca can produce 10 pounds of fiber a year, imagine how much a farm full of Alpacas would produce? The Alpaca farmer would be able to credit their bank account by selling fiber once a year, but it would surely add one or two more zeros to the net profit. (source)
However, the Alpaca farmer would be able to produce and sell high-quality fiber only when the animal is capable of, if you want to earn more from selling Alpaca fiber make sure the Alpacas you are bringing to your farm
- Have been blessed with a hit coat color, let’s say white?
- Have straight and stronger teeth
- Show remarkable lineage in the documents
Selling baby Alpacas
Alpacas (both young and fully mature) make great pets because they are friendly, clean, and smart just as the pets should be.
In fact, they are considered one of the most gentle and harmless pets. Keeping and raising a pet Alpaca is easier than pigs, sheep, or dogs, etc.
The Alpaca farmer can take advantage of this fact as well. Baby Alpacas are being sold somewhere between $250 to $1500.
Try selling baby Alpacas that are not meeting your standards or have undesired coat colors to generate more profit.
Offering male Alpacas for breeding
Like horses and pigs etc, male Alpacas can also be offered for breeding. If in documents, your Alpacas are mentioned as high-quality fiber producers, the Alpaca farmers would earn a noticeable amount of profit in the breeding season. Advertise and take your Alpacas to shows to get more breeding requests.
Renting them out to guard sheep
Renting Alpacas out to guard sheep is probably the least common way of generating profit from Alpaca farming but that’s a smart move. In lambing season, when sheep are needed to be protected, Alpacas can be offered as a guard.
The subject being discussed is an exceptional guard, they chase and threaten the predators like no other animals. But to rent Alpacas out, the said animal must be trained. So, be willing to spend first to earn later.
Selling Alpaca manure
Alpaca manure contains the three nutrients(nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus) that soil needs to produce more. Other than these three ingredients, it also contains a noticeable amount of calcium and magnesium as well.
Fortunately, to generate profit this way, Alpaca manure need not to be introduced. Alpaca manure already has got the reputation of improving soil conditions and enhancing it’s ability to retain water.
On average, one Alpaca can produce 4lbs of manure every day, a farm of fifty Alpacas would be producing 200lbs of manure per day. So, selling manure would be quite profitable. Make people aware that you are offering Alpaca manure at a reasonable price, you would get several orders right away.
By taking them to shows
The Alpacas would need professional training to perform but allowing them to perform at shows would not bring disappointment to the Alpaca farmer.
By selling Alpaca meat
We know it’s hard to see your much loved, carefully raised Alpacas being slaughtered but the Alpaca farmer must be prepared for that. As selling Alpaca meat would also help your earn more profit. Labeling and selling the Alpaca meat under a brand name would be recommended if the Alpaca farmer wants to earn a handsome amount of money this way.
Alpacas are extremely social, they can live in a herd easily but still, the aspiring Alpaca farmers need to be aware of their temperament, their lifestyle so the farm environment remains favorable.
Know These Facts Before Starting Your Alpaca Farm
Alpacas can die of loneliness
Alpacas are extremely social, they can not be kept alone or parted from their fellas for a long time. The farm owner is expected to allow all Alpacas to graze together. Confining one or two Alpacas alone for no legit reason would sicken them to death.
The Alpaca farm fence should at least be 5 feet high
Alpaca farming should be fenced to prevent predator attacks. Mountain lions, bears, coyotes, and some other carnivores are believed to Alpacas’ biggest predators. Just so the said animals can not attack Alpacas, the Alpaca farm fences should be 5 feet high.
Alpacas are easier to raise and keep
Alpacas are known for their gentle nature, they spit but humans are rarely aimed. Pregnancies and births are usually as hard for the animals as it is for humans. But Alpaca’s pregnancy and birth(the two most difficult stages of human and animal life) are also generally trouble-free.
Alpacas don’t ruin pasture at all
The hooved animals do not go easy on pasture, half of the pasture usually gets wasted this way. Alpacas are a ” totally” different pasture-friendly case as this delicate little creature is blessed with padded toes, not hooves.
Alpacas don’t stink
Some animals have a strange smell few of the profitable farm animals even stink. Alpacas are considered the most forgiving farm as they are harmless, easy to care for, and do not stink at all.
You can get a license or choose to operate otherwise
An aspiring Alpaca farm owner doesn’t need to get a license to raise camelids, it is not mandatory by law. It’s up to you, you can get a license or choose to operate without CPH. CPH would be required when you are planning to operate on someone else’s property or farm. Otherwise, you would not be questioned by law at all.
Alpacas do not bite
Alpacas are harmless in many senses. Their teeth are not sharp, they do not have hooves, claws, or horns as well. Alpacas can not bite however, they can kick and they do kick quite often.
Alpaca farm invite tax deductions
There is a misconception that Alpaca farms receive grants from the Government but it is not true. The government does not reward with grants but the farm owner can avail tax deductions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Alpaca farming profitable?
“Is Alpaca farming profitable?” Is the most widely asked and discussed question. The appropriate answer to this question would be yes, Alpaca farming is super profitable. The farm owner can generate profit from selling meat, fiber, baby Alpacas, and offering them for breeding, as a show animal, or sheep guard.
Are Alpacas easier to keep?
Yes, much easier than the llama, pigs, and few other farm animals. They are gentle, friendly, and harmless. All they need is a barn, and continuous access to food and water to live a balanced life.
Do you need a license to operate an Alpaca farm?
No, it’s not mandatory by law, It’s up to you. You can get a license or choose to operate without any license. Alpacas belong to the Camelid family they can be kept without any legal permission, certificate, or license.
What do Alpacas eat?
Alpacas are herbivores by nature, they mainly get the nutrients from grass, hay, or pasture. Besides this main source of energy, they have also noticed eating leaves, stems, wood, and barks.
How much water do Alpacas need?
Alpacas are believed to be hardy but they can not survive without water much. A fully grown Alpaca need almost four to five gallons of water every day to survive. In fact, continuous access to water to survive as they usually do not drink the said amount of water in one go.
Can you sell Alpaca poop?
Yes, you can sell Alpaca poop by calling it “Alpaca manure”. It is rich in nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium. It is usually bought to improve the soil’s condition and water retention.