One very important aspect of the alpaca business, if you are a breeder anyway, is the concept of breeding up. Put simply, this is taking a lesser quality female and breeding her with a supreme quality male to get a cria (baby) that is better than the mother. Hopefully, this is a female that you can then breed up again and after a few generations have a very high quality cria that doesn’t really matter whether it is a female or a male as you will have a good breeding quality adult in a couple years.
For many beginning alpaca ranches, this is a good route to start into the business. Take a couple lower quality females, and breed them up until you have a decent sized herd with high quality off-spring. You can then sell the off-spring for more than you have put into the females and then start making money. You do need to have a pretty good business plan to accomplish this though as you will not have the income from the sales in the first few years. If you know this going into the business with a solid plan, this won’t be an issue down the line.
Sales of animals have been slow in the alpaca business the past year or so along with the economy, so our herd, like many others, has been building up some very nice quality animals that are ready to breed up to some awesome quality animals. We have also brought in some new bloodlines to the farm in our males to make our breeding offerings more complete. If you have been considering getting into the alpaca business, now is a very good time to make the move. Prices have come down for some very high quality alpacas and it appears the economy is starting to make a recovery so the prices of the quality alpacas will start to rise again.
You don’t have to have property to own alpacas. Most farms will board, or agist, your alpacas. They will take care of the day to day herd management for you, while you make the decisions about the breeding and sales of your animals. How much involvement with the actual alpacas is up to you. I still believe in the investment potential of these wonderful animals because I believe the fiber they produce is such an ideal product. I believe that as we breed alpacas for better fiber quality, and other traits, they only make more sense as a business opportunity.