How to start an alpaca farm

Updated February 21, 2017

Alpaca farming is gaining popularity as an alternative home business for many entrepreneurs. Alpacas can be sheared for their wool that is used in clothing and textiles just like sheep's wool. An alpaca farm can also function as a breeding farm to sell alpacas for profit to other farmers and pet lovers. You can generate substantial revenue for yourself by starting an alpaca farm. If you have the land space and proper barn shelter to keep alpacas, you can start an alpaca farm on your own property and work right from home.

Apply for the correct legal zoning for your property. Check on the restrictions and requirements in your city or town regarding farm or ranch property. As an owner of one or two alpacas, you may not be subject to any regulations. If you plan to own a large number of alpacas, offer breeding services or operate as a petting zoo, you will need to apply for agricultural farming permits and/or change your property zoning.

Prepare your property for comfortable alpaca living. You will need an open space for the alpacas to graze and secure fencing to keep predators and intruders away from the alpacas. Erect fencing that is at least 4 feet tall, and keep the fencing slats spaced no more than 3 inches apart to prevent alpacas from putting their heads through and getting stuck.

Design a barn structure to keep your alpacas safe and sheltered from extreme temperatures and the elements of wind and rain. Build a barn with full enclosure for colder climates where temperatures may dip at or below freezing. A three-sided barn shelter may be sufficient for warmer areas where alpacas need protection from extreme heat and sunshine. Alpacas have a thick coat to protect them in winter, but they can become warm in the summer months and need protective cover.

Gather the funds you will need for the initial investment. As of 2010, it will cost about £9,750 to purchase one alpaca from a breeder. If you plan to purchase multiple alpacas in addition to fencing materials, shelter and feed supplies, the costs will be around £32,500 to start. Financing is available through certain breeders, or you can apply for a farming loan from a bank or the USDA.

Meet with your insurance agent and your accountant or financial manager as soon as you are ready to start the farm. Alpaca farms are insurable and you should take appropriate measures to protect your investment. In addition, operating a farm entitles you to certain tax deductions you should be familiar with to make the most of your farm venture.

Things You'll Need

  • Fencing materials
  • Feed supply
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About the Author

Sara Melone is a mother of three and a graduate of UNH. With prior careers in insurance and finance, photography, as well as certifications in fitness and nutrition, Melone draws directly from past experience and varying interests. She contributes with equal passion to birth journals, investment blogs, and self-help websites.