Any body raise Alpaca's

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by renee7, Apr 29, 2004.

  1. renee7

    renee7 Well-Known Member

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    Is there any money in them? Or is it a fad? I know it costs a fortune to get started.
    On my 2 acres, it seems like the perfect animal.
    If you raise them, do you have any trouble selling them?
    Any trouble selling the fiber?

    Thanks for any information.
     
  2. eb

    eb Well-Known Member

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    The only people who make money raising Alpacas, is the breeders who sell Alpacas to other people telling those people that they can make money by selling alpacas to other people...a typical pyramid scheme. A few of those early in the pyramid will make money, the rest will be left with a bunch of overpriced animals that you can't give away...how long before the Alpaca scam goes bust? who knows, but my advice...save your money.
     

  3. ovsfarm

    ovsfarm Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Llamas used to cost what alpacas cost today. As the supply went up and all of those interested in owning one bought theirs as the price came down to their level, the value of llamas has hit rock bottom. We got one of ours for $100, the other was "free to good home". In our region the Humane Society has specially trained volunteers who are taught methods to catch the llamas that irresponsible owners just turn loose to roam like dropped-off dogs. I feel that the alpaca boom will follow this trend, as have the ostrich/emu, pot bellied pig, etc, markets.

    A quick look through some of the moderate and upscale "farming" magazines also tells the tale. The current supply of alpacas are breeding up a storm. So the magazines are full of multiple pages of expensive full-color ads trying to sell them. Although top quality show stock will always fetch high prices, most of the potential buyers are not destined to take their animals on the show circuit. The pet market for them will soon be exhausted as the price comes down to each potential customer's level, and only a very small percentage of the population is interested in having an alpaca for a pet. The fiber market is somewhat mythical. Alpaca fiber is great, but there is not a strong demand for it and what demand there is has already been filled by the South American suppliers and the first ones to get into the business up here. If a seller tells you that you are going to make lots of money on alpaca fiber, be sure to first get the name and contact information for the purchaser of the fiber and contact them to be sure that they are going to be interested in buying your fiber also.

    Regarding selling alpacas as breeding stock, remember that the competition is now fierce. Lots of people have shelled out loads of money on these animals and they are already more established than you. They have the facilities, the stock, the marketing contacts, and the experience. What would make you think that you could enter the market at this late phase and successfully compete with them?

    If you have lots of discretionary income and want an alpaca for a pet or for growing your own alpaca fiber, then by all means get some. They are really neat animals and fun to own. But you will not get rich with them. Check the prices paid over the last 5 years-this is one market that is on the downward slide. Unless some amazing new use is discovered, I doubt it will reverse and in 10 years or so, the Humane Society may be training volunteers to go round up all the abandoned alpacas that idiot owners have turned out.
     
  4. Gary in ohio

    Gary in ohio Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I had some llama's for a while and they were in the same price class as alpaca's are now. Once you get into an exotic animal market you end up with a pyramid system of selling. On breader brings in something new, they sell at high prices and the only people who will pay that are other breaders, Now you have more breaders but still high prices and the market is more breaders. You finally get far enough down the scale where an animal reaches the "hobby" price and at that point there are more than enough breeders that the price structure falls apart.

    Take a look at what you have and what the markets are. While the wool is fantastic (as is llama) most people can afford to have a large enough flock of alpacs to get enough wool to make a commerical venture out of it. The only other value of an alpaca is creating more alpacas to sell. So you sell, but again the cost is so high only breaders are buying so the market is still pretty small.

    Alpacas and llamas while requiring a small amount of land, do require a country setting, Neither are the most friendly pet, Kind of like a cat that doesnt want to be petted.

    Granted they are fun to raise and if you enjoy showing animals they can be a lot of fun, Neither llama's or alpacas are high maintenace animals, minimal vet care, no specical diets and require a minimum of space.

    If your a weaver and want some wool for personal use llamas/alpacas wool is great. There are some markets out there but they are few and far between and usually will not pay enough to justify an animals cost alone.

    IF your still intersted in alpacs then go for it, the market is still active but dont beleive the magazine ads and tv commericals that your going to get rich.
     
  5. BlueRidgeBabe

    BlueRidgeBabe Active Member

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    I've been curious about alpacas, too.

    Back in an old thread called "alpacas anyone?", I was reading a post from Karen (moderator) that said:

    "Another down side is that due to thier delicate nutritional needs, they have to have special food not available at your local feed store except by special order - that is if you can convince your feed store to order it. They also need very high quality pasture and hay."

    Gary in ohio just said they require no special diet...so which is it? :confused:

    Also some people decribe them as very friendly and affectionate, attention seeking pets, others say they are shy and stand-off-ish...does it vary a lot from one alpaca to another or just depend on how much they're socialized?

    -Blue
     
  6. Gary in ohio

    Gary in ohio Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Here is one referance to alpaca nutrition. As it says there foragers, food is food.
    This is similar to what the llama's sellers will tell you.

    From one alpaca breaders web site.
    What do alpacas eat?

    Alpacas are grazing animals who are accustomed to quite poor forage in the high Andes Mountains from where they come. Scientists have found them to be as efficient at converting poor-quality forage into usable nutrients as scrub goats. Alpacas can eat any traditional North American grasses with perhaps some alfalfa thrown in for heavily- pregnant or lactating animals. Too much alfalfa will just make them fat. If you come from a traditional livestock background, you will want to know that 10 alpacas eat about as much as one cow (one animal unit). Alpacas eat about 2 lbs. of hay a day, making them a very inexpensive animal to feed. Alpacas should also be given free-choice loose mineral salts, which should be selected to complement your animal's regular diet, as well as grain mixes for those animals who need a few more calories. Typical grain mixes that would be appropriate for alpacas would be lama pellets or COB (corn, oats and barley) available from your local feed store.
     
  7. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Well-Known Member

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    Just out of interest, why alpacas? What can they do that sheep can't, and cost less?

     
  8. 65284

    65284 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    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.
     
  9. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Well-Known Member

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    65284 is probably right unless you have some specific markey in mind. Getting in when the bottom falls out would be a reasonable thing. thats how I got my potbellies, wonderful cheap livestock. Once I get a new pen built and tree protectors for the orchard, I'm planning on letting them free range, and get them out of the sheep pasture.
     
  10. Lt. Wombat

    Lt. Wombat Well-Known Member

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    (tongue squarely and firmly against cheek) but ...but you have to be able to make a million dollars for every $1 laid out ...you just gotta ... it said so on the T.V. ... the the major cable providers would never let something not true onto the airwaves just to make a profit selling air time. It just can't be that people have to work hard to get rich .... and as soon as I scrape up the $20 to buy point of sale terminals, internet terminals & phone card vending machines I'll prove it to you all cause I'm gonna get the BEST locations cause they're really going fast!!! We'll see who gets to sit on his but all day waiting for the mail to bring his $gazillion in profits for that measley $1 I started with and who has to keep working .... hell my only "real" work will be stopping by the Mercedes in the driveway (on my way to get the mail) to wipe a blemish off the paint :haha:
     
  11. All of you are probably right. That's the reason I asked. I was thinking probably it was that way.
    I really wish that there was some money in them. They seem ideal. Not much work. Docile. And keep the grass down.

    But I won't bite.

    I've considerd sheep. My pasture is growing up with thistles. I don't want to use poisens. But my fences aren't that good.
    I've also considered calves. I know that they won't eat the thistles, but they would keep the other grass down.
     
  12. Gary in ohio

    Gary in ohio Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Dont let the thread scare you off. Alpaca's are a bit pricy but llamas are pretty cheap. Llamas are fun pets, THey make good pasture mates for sheep and goats. There wools is nice for spinning. Your not going to get rich but they are low maint, low cost to raise animals.
     
  13. BlueRidgeBabe

    BlueRidgeBabe Active Member

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    By the time DH and I buy our property, build our house and get ready for animals, they'll probably be giving alpacas away! :haha:
     
  14. Marilyn in CO

    Marilyn in CO Well-Known Member

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    Alpacas are expensive but llamas are cheap. We have had 3 llamas for quite a few years now out here on the Ponderosa. The male is out with the cows and guards them and the other two females are in a pen in the yard, pretty much lawn ornaments. The females I am ready to sell because I need to downsize my grandkid zoo. :D LLamas are much like alpacas....although I think they are smarter....... and are very easy keepers. They love to eat weeds(noxious ones too) and would be great out on an open space. They keep coyotes out and watch everything that goes on. One of my females loves to spit at me and is a brat and the male came up behind me once and tried to chest butt me down....that is why he is out with the cows and shall always be. :yeeha: Marilyn, the farmer's wife.....
     
  15. renee7

    renee7 Well-Known Member

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    Marilyn, The Trader has a llamba for $150. But I wouldn't pay that for just a pet.
    How hard is it to sell their wool? Do they eat thistles?

    For any one that has sheep. How much trouble are they? And are they hard to keep fenced in? Do you have to feed them extra, besides the pasture? I've never raised sheep before, or known any one that has.
     
  16. K. Sanderson

    K. Sanderson Active Member

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    Donkeys eat thistles, or so I've heard. Goats don't (at least mine never did).

    Advice I've heard and thought good was to estimate the practical value of any particular type of livestock. For instance, a sheep is worth so much for it's wool and so much for meat, and you shouldn't pay much more than that for breeding stock, at least not when you are starting out. So alpacas are good for what? Just their fiber? What is the value of the fiber per year? That is the value they will have to come down to before I would even consider getting one.

    Kathleen
     
  17. Marilyn in CO

    Marilyn in CO Well-Known Member

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    Renee, Sometimes you can find a llama for $50 or even free. I was a big dummy and paid $800 a piece for my girls(they are supposedly fancy bred) and I bet I will never get that out of them, however the male was free. I can see them eating young newly sprouted thistles. They do like to eat tree leaves and young saplings and have nibbled on my pine trees, so be aware of that. I don't bother with their fiber. The fiber off of 2 llamas isn't worth the trouble to me, but might be to someone who spins. I brush them out occaisionally. The male never gets brushed because he doesn't like to be touched at all. Our male stays in a one-wire electric fence with the mama cows. Sorry, I don't know much about sheep but would take a guess they are a lot more work than a llama because they must be sheared regularly and I think but don't know for sure that they are a little more fussy on their diet. Marilyn, the farmer's wife....