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Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Ozarkquilter46, Sep 20, 2005.
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A friend of mine was just given three as well! Guess they weren't such a good investment, after all?
The alpaca ads sound good and by themself are mostly true. They fail to say that just about every weekend you need to be at a show, SHOWING your animals and winning in order for your animal to be worth anything. Spending hours grooming your show animal. SPending thousands of dollars buying that has shown and won. Like llama's neat little animals but when your only real resale market is other breaders the pyramid will eventual fall apart.
I'm having fun getting to know them and will get some use out of them too. ONe is halter broke, the other needs some work so I got halters and leads ordered today. I'm going to see about making some small packs for them and taking them out into the hills for some mushroom hunting, berry picking, etc.
Now if they would just quit spitting at each other they would be ideal.
Yup. Amway for farmers.
They're fine as pets and as neat specimens to have around but you aren't going to get rich from them or even make any money on them. No one I know has made a dime. Just the opposite.
Fine pets and interesting creatures but not a money maker just like the llamas, ostriches, emus......
I find this very encouraging. The Mean Vicious Neighbors who have been giving my in-laws such an awful time are heavily invested in alpacas. I know it's wrong to wish ill on someone, but perhaps the bottom falling out of the pyramid will resolve the situation...
Alpacas are cute, though, and they seem to be very nice animals.
When you say that they are halter-broke, does that mean you can ride them? Or is that for leading them when they carry burdens?
Alpacas are quite small, 125 - 175 lb, so they can only carry about 30 lbs max, so halter training is mostly for leading and control. I just got halters for them, now I have to trick them into letting me put the halters on. I hope I do it right or I am going to get my first spit fest.
ewwwww cute creatures though...my mother is insisting on farming these critterrs. I said "Ok, you buy yourself a few - I'll shave them once a year for you - let's see if you make moeny". I briefly thought of going in on it with her, but came to my senses when I read this thread. I'm still going after guinea fowl though!
I was looking at alpacas for the wool. I was thinking of spinning the wool myself and making alpaca items. I've heard it is excellent wool. Now that you have some, what do you think of the wool? Where would I look for a free alpaca in the midwest?
yes, tell us about the wool!!! That's what I would be interested in some for...
The fiber of alpacas is nice, depending on the animal and it's diet.
I'm currently spinning up a black cria fleece. It was shorn by it's owner and full of 2nd cuts which I'm saving to blend in with some wool.
This spun cria will be crocheted (with peacock feathers) into a 'bat wing' shawl.
I find alpaca very, very similar to llama. Last year I spun and crocheted llama fiber for mittens for Paul. They are very warm and I don't have to worry about them felting
I have two gelded alpacas that I purchased for much cheaper then they advertise, wish I could have gotten them free. The two are around 4 to 5 years old. I have sheep and they live mainly with the rams. I have them in sometimes with the ewes but worry as the ewes get closer to lambing since one tends to kick. Also I didn't know how they would react to newborns.
They are very good guard sentinels for the sheep. If they see a threat (ie: dog, coyote, fox, cat, etc) they give an alarm call and sometimes go after the predator. I have seen them try to run down a coyote and chased it off. They almost got my dog when I first went into the pasture with them and didn't realize they would attack. They try to stomp them with their front legs. The sheep pay attention to the alpacas and bunch up behind when they alarm. One goes out in front and patrols while the other stays back with the sheep bunch. If they feel threatened, they will run back and move the sheep back.
They also seem to act as the leaders with one out in front leading the group and one behind for defense, unless he is lazier and slower.
Anyway this has been my experience with my alpacas. I have sheared them this year but have not done anything with the wool yet. One is black and one is red.
My husband and I plan to breed alpaca for a profit....I know .. don't laugh...
I think the shortfall is to just hope to sell them alone ... We hope to breed, and process the fleece ourselves. Diversify the way we use all of our animals.
Alpaca fabric and knitwear is awesome. It costs a fortune to get it processed for you...but if you can do it yourself...and for others.perhaps it might work.
So please don't laugh too hard at us... :stars:
(We also have other jobs)
Be careful putting a halter on them. It needs to be put on so that it does not press on the nose. It can smother them by cutting off their breathing.
An alpaca has a short nose. It should fit on the nose bone which is just like ours. Very short. Look on the internet and you can find pictures showing you the proper fit of a halter.
The only real use the boys will have is their wool. Their former owner says D'Artagnan's is very nice, Meshack's is a bit coarse and suitable for outerwear. Our plan is to have someone from our local spinning guild card the wool into roving with 1/3 to 1/2 of the fleece as payment. This is mostly because we'd rather weave than spin but its always nice to spin your own for smaller projects.
My friend who got the free alpacas gave me some of their fiber. It was nice and soft, much nicer than the alpaca fiber I'd paid for recently It really does depend on the animal as to what their fiber will be like. Anyone who's thinking they're going to be selling it, really needs to do some research to find out who's buying it and what the prices are. And remember, asking price and selling price are two different things!
Something that's interesting to note is that some alpacas get listed as llama, and some llamas get listed as alpaca in the fiber department. It all depends on how fine the fiber is. Ironically, I've got icelandic sheep who's wool is derned near identical to the llama's I used to have.
Christian, they can't spit if their heads are down, they need their noses pointed up. If you can keep them from going straight up, you'll be fine. Plus, they're lousy shots, so if they're aiming at you, you're safe. But if they're aiming at something nearby....run!
I can't remember who on here said they were going to raise alpacas anyway... If you don't have to worry about making a profet and you just want to raise them for the fun and experience.... GO FOR IT!
Do not, on the other hand, invest your life savings into it because you will loose it, most likely.
We have raised lots of different critters on this little farm including a couple of alpacas and have enjoyed everyone of them. On the other hand... the closest we have come to making a profit is our chickens. We sell the eggs and that really just pays for the feed. When they are laying a lot we may get ahead a few bucks but not much. Everything else has cost us money but we were both working full time and could afford them. We really have enjoyed them all.
We still have one alpaca. He has taken over the leadership roll around here.
Our guard donkey will not cross him as she hates to be spit at.
The alpaca thinks he is the guard animal. They chest butt and even though that does not hurt, you will be surprised how much strength they have. Mine could send me sailing through the air when they were just half grown crea!
Lucky you, I would love to find a couple of nice Alpaca's. Just for Pets and lawn mowers of course. :dance:
Kesoaps: I noticed their poor aim when they were arguing the first day. They seem to mostly generate a cloud of spit around them which readily drifts downwind. So I try to stay upwind whenever I'm in there with them since vying for my attention seems to get them arguing, too.
The alpaca breeder's association has a fiber co-op going, but I still don't think anyone is going to make a profit on just wool alone. South America still produces better and cheaper raw fiber and finished products.
I think because they are so darned cute and very easy to take care of that the bubble has lasted a while longer than most. But if geldings are being given away, the burst is coming soon.
I have a friend who is into spinning and raw alpaca fiber goes for $2 - $5 per ounce - the finished yard much higher. Even at $2 an ounce that's $32 a pound!