Alpacas, profitiable or hobby?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by seedspreader, Nov 28, 2004.

  1. seedspreader

    seedspreader AFKA ZealYouthGuy

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    Ok, I live in Medina county Ohio, and I kid you not, I think that this is the heart of alpaca country... jeesh. What all do you know about them? I know they were overpriced orginally, but the prices have come down. Is the fiber market that good for them or do most people who buy them today have them just as a hobby? Like the pygmy goat phase and the pot-bellied pig phase? Is anyone running a viable farm using them?
     
  2. Valmai

    Valmai Well-Known Member

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    JMO Start saving your dosh for when/if Vicunna come on the market. Thats where the money will be. $4000 per metre of fabric from Vicunna fibre.
     

  3. sisterpine

    sisterpine Goshen Farm Supporter

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    Val: Ya lets all wait for the Vicunna LOL. So now we are coming to the end (hopefully) of the Alpaca rage. I did some research on this a few months ago for a friend who was interested. There is no place to sell the fibre in this country that I could find. and the only folks making money are those selling them to other poor folks and telling them how they can make money selling the fibre. I feel bad for these animals (both alpacas and the humans who fall for the scam)
     
  4. Darren

    Darren Still an :censored:

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    Bob, I think if you take the supposed price per lb. of the wool and figure out how many lbs. per year you get times the years an alpaca will live to get the income from one animal you'll get the picture on the "investment quality" of the animals. Because they are/were so expensive they attracted a better healed sucker, er investor than some of the other schemes.

    I've never read that they were good eating and cute only goes so far. When you see folks taking out full page ads and offering all sorts of consulting, I have to wonder if the market's not getting thin. Like I said if you can't eat it, what good is it? The wool won't pay for it's keep.
     
  5. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    Any livestock who's only redeeming value is an as investment, is a rip-off. Ask to see someone's tax return to verify any profits before you buy. Bet you won't find a single person in the country who can show a profit.

    Jena
     
  6. seedspreader

    seedspreader AFKA ZealYouthGuy

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  7. 65284

    65284 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    This same question was asked back in May. Here is what I said then, and it still applies.

    "I have dabbled in the exotic market for years and have seen all the fads, Fennec Foxes, Sugar Gliders, Hedge Hogs, and all the rest, so I speak from experience. This is just the Pot Belly Pig, Emu, etc. scam all over again with a different critter. The Alpaca business is a high dollar sucker hustle, an animal based Ponzi scheme, nothing more nothing less. The only reason is has lasted as long as it has is because the reproduction rate is not as rapid as it is with Emu and pigs. Just as the Llama market eventually became saturated and the price fell to almost nothing, so too will the Alpaca market. Ask yourself a simple question, at the current asking prices what are they good for? The answer is breeding stock, a very limited wool market, and not much else Can't ride them, and way to expensive to eat. The breeder market is rapidly disappearing and the wool must be very carefully handled to be worth much, animals must wear a jacket to keep hay, twigs, manure and such off the wool, highly labor intensive. Most of the folks that have responded to your question have it right, bad idea".
     
  8. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    I've worked with alpacas and found them very cute and charming. They do have lovely fiber, which is nice for a hand-spinner like myself. The fiber is currently pricey, but I imagine it will drop as the hand-spinner market gets saturated. I will eventually own an alpaca or two just because I really like them, but that will happen only when they cost about the same as a grade sheep with a decent fleece. I would in no way consider an alpaca as a money-making venture.
     
  9. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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  10. diamondefarm

    diamondefarm Well-Known Member

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  11. beaglady

    beaglady Well-Known Member

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    Interesting to hear this. One of my co-workers recently bought 4 and is convinced that he is on the road to riches. It will be interesting to see how it all pans out, though it seems pretty obvious to me where it will finish. He's only had them a few months and is already 'consulting'. :rolleyes:

    Edited to add that the alpacas have life insurance. :rolleyes: :haha:
     
  12. Darren

    Darren Still an :censored:

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    Ask him if he'd like to buy a pair of breeding naugas. I hear the naugahyde market is going to take off.
     
  13. diamondefarm

    diamondefarm Well-Known Member

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    :haha:
     
  14. bergere

    bergere Just living Life

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    That's funny.


    Alpaca fiber... I liked to mix the llama or Alpaca with my Brecknock Hill wool.. 1/2 and 1/2. Makes it a softer yarn once spun.

    Anyway... go to look at the fibers,, and the Alpaca breeders I got samples from said they were way more soft than llama. Also got a sample of a friends llama's fleece... well lets just say his llama's fleece was every bit as soft as the alpacas,, and 1/4 of the price. So I bought the Llama's.

    Honestly think the Alpaca thing is a scheme. The animals are too high priced..and dispite what the breeders say,, llama is every bit as nice in the wool department.

    Now I do think Alpaca's are cute,, and would love to have one. But would never pay the prices those folks are asking.

    Do I think they make money.... bet ya it is just like raising horses.. First you start out with lots of money,,, then... well you know.
     
  15. seedspreader

    seedspreader AFKA ZealYouthGuy

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    You know how to get a million dollars in the horse business?



















    Start with two million..... :haha: :haha: :haha:
     
  16. Darren

    Darren Still an :censored:

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    I'm not surprised you found lama fiber to be as good as alpaca. There was an article in Discovery magazine a few years ago that mentioned that when the Spaniards arrived in South America, alpaca fleece was of a much higher quality than anything seen today. They know that from the textiles that survived from those times. The reason the fiber quality went down is the Spaniards slaughtered the domesticated alpacas of that era for food.

    Someone in South America is studying how to recover the fiber quality. Someone also mentioned vicuna in a previous post. From what I've read you can't import them. If someone figured out how to import them (as frozen embyo maybe?), the alpaca pyramid would collapse soon after. Vicuna fiber is definitely better than alpaca.
     
  17. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

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    One of our Farm Neighbors (who can really be a greedy pain in the patootie -- tried to embroil the IL's in a fight over the property line which is just ridiculous) just got some alpacas. He has visions of dollar signs, and while I try real hard not to wish ill on others, when I see him out there digging post holes for more fencing for him to bring in more alpacas, inside I'm saying, "What goes around comes around, pal."

    This sounds even worse, but they are such bad neighbors that I hope they have to sell out and move far, far away...

    Don't know if that makes me a bad person or just a really frustrated one.
     
  18. tonyaleacht

    tonyaleacht tonyaleacht

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    Hello. I know several alpaca breeders, 2 mill owners and 100 mixed spinners, weavers, knitters..... There are several things you can do with alpacas just like any other animal. You can find cheap old alpacas and eat them if you want but..? Ok, so you can breed them, sell the offspring, stud out the males. You can sell their fiber, have it processed and sell the yarn or make something out of it and sell that. You can make batts for quilting, stuffing pillows, felting or whatever. Thus far NO One is allergic to alpaca fiber. You can do training showing, consulting, herd dispersal services, boarding, and sell their poop as fertilizer. It is the only one I know that will not burn whatever your fertillizing. Many of the breeders were concered that the llama issue would happen to alpacas, so they closed the boarders to S. America. The alpaca is also a pack animal and can be used to carry loads and just as well they can carry small children. Running a petting zoo or alpaca rides is an option that hasn't been fully explored yet.
    As for profit, the depreciation on a breeding animal is nice. I know a breeder who was visited by a lady from oregon who bought 8 of their herd. If you average 8,000 a piece, that's a nice chunk of change. Because their cheeper to feed and easy care, that reduces the expense of the animal, helping make way for profit.
    There are 2 sides to every business. I believe in the old saying you get out what you put in. If you expect to buy an alpaca and it will magicly make you money your in for for a rude awakening. but if you work at it and use your imagination, it will work for you.
     
  19. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    I think that this statement could be challenged. Other fertilizers, such as rabbit poop isn't going to 'burn' what you are fertilizing.
     
  20. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I know a woman with alpacas, and one with llamas. As I remember, the llamas have nicer personalities. The woman with the llamas takes them to schools and teaches proper animal manners to the elementary students. She spins, knits, and weaves, so she not only has a use for the fiber, she has a market amongst the other spinners and weavers she knows. Basicly, these people love their animals and view them as pets. They are well taken care of, and bring joy. They may have made their money back by selling the offspring, but they will never be rich. So, if you want pets, and you can find them cheap enough for your budget, go for it. If you want to be a breeder, you need to breed best to best, which might not put you in a good financial position.