So you think you want to start an alpaca farm?
The first thing you should know is that owning alpacas is not a “get rich quick” type of business. If that’s what you’re looking for, you need to look elsewhere! First and foremost, you should only purchase alpacas because you absolutely LOVE alpacas, can’t imagine life without them, and will do whatever is necessary to properly care for your alpacas on a 24/7 basis. Sometimes this means working outside when it’s really hot, extremely cold, rainy, snowy, or just plain old not particularly convenient – such as walking out to the barn at 11:30 p.m. because snow is coming and you want to shut some barn doors and move feeders out of the line of the blizzard that’s on its way. If you consider a late night trek out to the barn a labor of love, then starting an alpaca farm as a business is right up your alley.
Getting back to the “This is not a get rick quick scheme”…Diversification is quite often the key to a successful alpaca farming business. Diversifying your effots and finding your own niche – or variety of niches – will help keep your start-up alpaca business vital, financially afloat, and responsible.
At one time an alpaca farm could simply concentrate on the buying and selling of alpacas as well as selling breedings to their alpaca males commonly known as “alpaca herdsires.” Today, for the majority of farms out there, simply selling animals and breedings isn’t going to pay the bills. Or at least not very well. You’ll need to explore multiple opportunities for income. Examples of income are the following: selling raw fleece, processing fleece into yarn and selling it, boarding other people’s alpacas, making and selling products, and developing an alpaca compost business. Agritourism has also become big business over the past decade. Consider offering farm tours and holding various types of events at your farm as a way to generate income. Are you good with the clipping shears? Do you think you could shear your own alpacas and eventually start a side business shearing other farms’ alpacas? Are you particularly crafty? Can you teach others how to make something with alpaca fiber? Consider offering fiber classes to aspiring artisans in your area.
It is said that every part of alpaca fiber can be used to make something and that none of it is trash. Alpaca bed pillows sell for $$$. Alpaca fiber can even be used as insulation.
There are numerous ways to both enjoy and make money with alpacas. The opportunities are endless and only limited by your imagination. You just need to find the path that works for YOU.