Keeping alpacas

12 years 9 months ago #28146 by Joybells
Keeping alpacas was created by Joybells

wondering if any alpaca owners can help me. Thinking of getting a couple and have been doing some research and wonder if they are worth the trouble. I have no shed suitable for shearing etc, run highland cattle at present so obviously wouldnt be able to run them together due to the horns. Maybe consider getting rid of the highlands and just go alpacas and maybe a couple of cows for meat. Looking at the ones for sale the market seems to be flooded with them, (like the Highlands) and would like some advice from people with them. Perhaps would like a cria each year but am I going to be able to sell them? Thanks

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12 years 9 months ago #385587 by Ashlee
Replied by Ashlee on topic Keeping alpacas
Hi there,
I will try answer some of the points you brought up. First shearing, you don't need a shed. Like any livestock, an set of yards/pens is necessary. These can be as simple or as complicated as you like depending on what size herd you would have etc. Alpacas are relatively easy to look after and just need their toe nails trimmed, and injections ADE/5in1/drench. Easy jobs if the alpacas have been handled correctly from a young age (this is where it shows whether or not you have bought from a reputable breeder). Unfortunatly they are susecptible to ryegrass staggers and facial eczema.
Agree you shouldn't run the alpacas with the highland cattle due to horns. Good to keep some cattle to cross-graze with the alpacas to clean up paddocks.

The market has a lot of lower quality alpacas in at present. The industry has finally moved into some better pricing structures with the low quality animals getting down to more reasonable prices and the high quality and stud stock still retaining their high prices, here and in the strong export market. This has made is easier for people to get started with alpacas however you need to remember you won't get anywhere unless the lower quality foundation stock is bred up to the best males you can afford/access. A lot of people get stuck because they don't selectively breed for the premium fleece production alpacas are capable of and go backwards with their breeding programme and then wonder why they can't sell their animals except for $1 on trademe.

I see you are in Dannervirke, I imagine that it won't be as easy to sell animals compared to say Auckland but if you are honest and price accordingly you shouldn't have a problem.

Hope that is of some help,
feel free to email me This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information or help with a breeding plan etc

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12 years 9 months ago #385595 by kaybe
Replied by kaybe on topic Keeping alpacas
Hi Joybells, welcome to the site.

I don't have alpacas myself, they don't really appeal to me as pets (I think they smell weird, like giant mice :D ), but I spend a lot of time with my neighbours who have them. They love their alpacas to bits and are preparing to get rid of their last sheep this year to make room for their increased herd. I find this a bit bemusing as they don't eat the alpacas, only occasionally use their fleeces, and don't sell enough animals to make up for what they buy and the stud fees for the selective breeding Ashlee describes. Eventually they will have a good enough herd to start turning a profit I assume, but they aren't there yet and they started keeping alpacas about 6 years ago.

I guess you have to ask yourself why you want alpacas - if you're doing it for love, great, have fun with it. They are beautiful looking animals, and my neighbours get lots of pleasure out of showing them, halter training them, and cuddling them. If you're doing it for money, IMHO you're not likely to make money with a small operation. It costs a lot to get your fleece turned into wool (and only good quality fleece is worth doing), you need a specialist shearer to come and shear for you (unless you're married to a handy bloke who can build you a shearing table), you only get one cria per female per year (twins are extremely rare), and if an alpaca drops dead you're out of pocket hundreds of dollars, not tens of dollars like you are with a sheep.

Tomorrow is the day I will stop procrastinating.

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