Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Alpacas - what's that all about?

These next two blog entries can be thanked due to Raine’s questions to my last post!

Alpacas – what’s that all about?

Alpacas originated from Peru and Bolivia. They lived in the Andes and make a remarkable fur/fiber that helped them withstand the harsh altitude. Alpaca fur and the items made from it are considered better than cashmere, actually one of the very best fibers in the world. The animals can stand both cold and heat, the hotter times of year are made better by being sheared in Spring and they must have some kind of shelter or barn to gather in.

We don’t eat them in the U.S. They do in South America. They are not pack animals. They also do not require a lot of land! Five alpacas per acre. And they don’t eat much. Just the grass growing out of the ground complemented with hay for vitamins. It is said it cost $300 a year per alpaca to feed, a significant difference between cows and other animals, or heck humans.

I’m going to get one to see how it goes. In my mind they are a bit of a pet and I love the fiber arts so I have plans for that fiber once they shear it off. The way to make money is to sell the babies. Also, there are still some mighty amazing tax deductions that will be available in this industry until 2009. As in nearly 100% tax deduction for buying one and anything having to do with it’s care! That woos a lot of people.

I’m interested in the shows. Alpacas are worth more if they do well in the shows, lineage and bloodlines are an endless topic to alpaca people. And you network. With animal people! The people are from many different careers and its not about what you do, its about the animals and I love that.

So for Tart, alpacas are part pet, part fantastic fiber source, a tax investment and maybe someday I’ll be making money off them.

Oh, and you can buy them without having land from a farm that will keep them for you. This can be good because say you can buy one and they still have other alpacas around them. Alpacas cannot live just one by itself, they need two or three if you’re going to have them on your own land. I have already met a farmer who will finance them. The least inexpensive alpaca is about $20,000. Most of my knowledge is (internet) research, research, research. And one visit to a far to a farm so far.


adrian stewart said...

If you just want an alpaca for fiber then a male not suitable for breeding but with good fiber will cost as little as $100 maybe $300.

Nice females are available for $10,000 shop around and don't believe everything you read in the glossy brochures.....find a local alpaca breeder and spend some time on their farm.

Adrian Stewart
Alpaca Farmer in Oregon

The FurBelow Alpaca Farmer said...

Male's are not that expensive as compared to females unless you are buying breeding quality males which can sell for considerably more.

Your best bet is to get two young males that have never been sheared,
which don't much chance of becoming a Heard Sire.

The babies have the finest fiber. The first shearing will produce the softest fiber you have ever felt. I don't think you are going to find any suitable young males in the $100-$300 range.

You certainly don't want any older males. As Alpacas get older thier fur get's less fine.

Clearly the finest fiber will be obtained from an animals very first shearing. With Sheeps wool this would be considered virgin wool.

Good Luck on Finding your first pair of Alpacas. You must have two.

Raine said...

wow- EXPENSIVE animals- I would go with these gentlemens advice and shop around a bit I think. They do sound like fun if you have the money to play with. I'm happy that you do and wish you a good time of it.