Tips for Prospective Alpaca Breeders
Submitted By: Jacki Robert (Alpaca Creek Farm)
Before you decide to become a breeder
We started our business just a few years ago, so I am very aware of the questions and concerns that you might have. Here are some tips that might help you with your research.
- Don't be discouraged by not having any land. There are many great opportunities and options available that will still allow you to own alpaca and take advantage of the financial benefits
- Visit the AOBA website at www.alpacainfo.com It has a world of information.
- Visit regional and local association websites like the Southeast Alpaca Association http://www.sealpaca.org or the TN Alpaca Association (website pending).
- Keep a journal of questions, notes, thoughts, etc. Also keep track of any expenses you have during your research (these are tax deductible). Include any helpful contact names and websites that you encounter.
- Ask every farm you visit or breeder you talk to all your questions. Get lots of opinions to start. No question is a dumb question.
- Visit at least a few different farms. Every farm does it differently and it is important to get different views.
- If possible, attend a local or regional show. Many of these shows have halter and fleece competitions, plus stores and vendors with alpaca products.
- Talk to a tax accountant that is familiar with Alpaca or Llama about the tax benefits in detail
- Develop a written business plan. Start simple and then add detail so it's not as over-whelming.
- Consider using an experienced, qualified consultant or breeder to help select the proper animals and strategy for you. In most cases, they can save you money when purchasing the animals because of prior relationships. Check references!
- Plan to start a website and obtain alpaca products from the very beginning.
- Ask other breeders what their successes were and what they would have done differently starting out.
- Do research on the internet through breeder websites and alpaca sites.
- Subscribe to the Alpaca Magazine (from www.alpacainfo.com)- it's full of great information.
- Start a list of what you want your farm to be about and select farms that best match those qualities. For example, if you want to show and have the best bloodlines - purchase show animals from a breeder that is successful in shows. If you want to raise fiber animals - purchase from breeders that are doing this.
- Healthcare is important - purchase animals from farms with a solid healthcare program. Talk to each farm about their program.
- Service is important - purchase animals from farms who will be there for you AFTER the purchase. You will have questions - you want a farm that will be able to help when you get your animals home. Don't be afraid to ask for references.
- Check out listings on www.AlpacaNation.com. Many breeders list their alpacas on this site.
- Ask what is included in the sale - like transportation, guarantees, registration changes, after sale service, etc.