Once you’ve decided you want to become an owner of alpacas, what do you do next? There are a number of questions you need to ask yourself:
- Do you plan to raise your animals on your own land or agist (board) them on another farm? Temporarily or permanently?
- Do you want to specialize, i.e., Huacaya or suri, color or white?
- Will this be a full-time job or a second income?
- How do you learn to tell a quality alpaca from a lesser alpaca? What do you look for when you buy?
- How will you ensure the health and well-being of your animals?
Luckily, the alpaca industry abounds with information and friendly, knowledgeable people eager to help you get started. It is in the interest of the industry as a whole to encourage and foster success among new breeders. There are alpaca shows all over the country that you can attend in order familiarize yourself with the business. Visit farms. Do research. Ask questions. Who is the best, the most respected? Can they steer you in the right direction? There are even those who will help set up a financial plan for the future that includes tax advice for the livestock rancher. Farm visits are the best way to learn about the alpacas and how to take care of them. Many alpaca breeders will welcome your assistance as they go about their farm chores. Visiting farms can also be a fun excursion. Use the time to ask questions and get hands-on experience.