How to Make Money Raising Alpacas

Written by louie doverspike
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A South American version of the camel, the alpaca is becoming increasingly popular with hobbyist breeders because of its gentle nature and relatively simple upkeep. Although breeding alpacas is unlikely to ever be a huge industry, raising your own alpacas can have attendant financial rewards.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Feed
  • Hay
  • Sand
  • Open fields
  • Shelter

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  1. 1

    Invest up front in a breeding pair of alpacas. The initial investment is the most expensive step in raising your own alpacas. As an industry, alpaca farming is dependent on breeding for moneymaking. So, don't bother unless you have the funds to invest in breeding.

  2. 2

    Subject each animal to a full battery of immunisation. While alpacas are relatively low-maintenance, the expensive initial cost means that protecting your investment should be priority No. 1.

  3. 3

    Lay down sand bedding and hay. While alpacas perform excellently when allowed to freely roam and feed in fields and meadows, having a home base where they can return will prove invaluable to their well being. Lay down an area of sand approximately 10 square feet per animal. Place loose hay in this area, and allow the alpacas to spread it themselves through their habitation.

  4. 4

    Build a three-sided structure. While alpacas' thick coats allow them to withstand most temperatures, having a shelter where the young -- crias -- can get out of inclement weather will help improve their overall health and happiness. Make sure to face the opening in the direction least affected by wind.

  5. 5

    Provide feed. While alpacas are exceptional grazers, getting nutrition from a field without stripping the roots, it is necessary to supplement their diet with feed. Oats, soy and corn should provide enough nutrition for a balanced diet.

  6. 6

    Shear once a year. Alpaca fur is reasonably valuable, but can only be sheared once a year. In addition, because it is not part of the industrialised materials usually used by clothing companies, selling alpaca fur may take some persistence. However, the fur profits should be enough to recoup an alpaca's full expenses for a year.

  7. 7

    Sell crias for profit. The majority of the investment profits are made through the sale of young alpacas. Female alpacas can produce one offspring a year for approximately 15 years. Cria prices vary widely, depending upon the gender and quality of the fur. Expect to sell female crias for at least £6,500, possibly more, while male crias often sell for £3,250 to £5,200.

Tips and warnings

  • Think of alpacas as an investment, rather than a business

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