Because they are small, gentle, quiet and clean and because they do not reproduce rapidly, alpacas are actually an ideal choice for small farmers to raise for profit. In this article, we explore several ways how to make money with alpacas. Read on to learn more.
What You'll Learn Today
- Investing In Alpacas?
- Alpaca Fiber Is In Demand
- Sell Young Alpacas
- Offer Your Male Alpaca for Breeding
- Take Advantage Of Online Alpaca Advertising & Sale Opportunities
- You Need A Business Plan To Raise Alpacas
Investing In Alpacas?
Alpaca Fiber Is In Demand
Unlike many types of small livestock, alpacas are clean, smart, friendly and pleasant. This makes caring for them much more enjoyable than some other types of animals such as pigs, sheep or goats.
When kept as wool producing animals, you will never have to face having them slaughtered, and you can make pets of them and simply enjoy having them around.
These small animals produce a great deal of high-quality wool that is in demand and fetches a high price. With a good business plan and proper care, you should be able to have your alpacas pay for themselves and their care and turn a profit during the first year and every year thereafter.
One thing you must understand, though, is that you can’t keep a single alpaca. In fact, you’ll need to keep at least three for them to be happy.
If you’re just keeping them for wool, you can keep a trio of castrated males and have very simple care. If you want to breed them, one intact male and two good breeding females will be happy.
Determine Local Demand
If you’re planning on raising alpacas primarily for wool, naturally, you’ll want to be certain that you have a good market. Before you ever buy a single animal, scope out local demand to determine exactly what will sell in your area.
Will you be better off selling small amounts of high-quality wool; larger amounts of lower quality wool and/or young animals as pets or breeders?
Large Scale Alpaca Fiber Production
If you have plenty of space and the market for lots of wool, you can purchase a larger number of breeding alpaca without worrying much about the kinds of qualities and genetic traits that would be important to show animals.
In this case, you won’t be worried much about body conformation or the straightness of the animals teeth. Your main concerns will be the amount and quality of fiber produced.
When your goal is to produce large amounts of good fiber, you’ll want to look for a number of differently aged females from varying bloodlines. In this way, you can avoid inbreeding. You’ll also need a high quality mature male.
Small Scale, High Quality Alpaca Fiber Production
If you don’t have a lot of space and/or your goal is just to raise a few alpacas to produce high-quality wool, you’ll want to choose only a few very select animals. Go to a top breeder and purchase the best male and pair of females you can afford.
When looking for high-quality animals that will do well in the show ring and produce top quality wool, look for these attributes:
- The animals should produce high quality and high quantity fleece in the color you desire.
- The animals should have near ideal conformation, bone structure and bone density.
- Their teeth should be strong, straight and with good bite.
- Their registration documents should show good lineage.
When you have chosen your alpacas and started producing fiber, you should enter it in local alpaca shows and fairs. This will help you familiarize your local community with your product, and it will be verification that you are producing top quality alpaca fiber.
Sell Young Alpacas
Having documentation that your animals produce the best fiber is also helpful to you when you want to sell offspring or offer your male alpaca for breeding.
If you are selling offspring, always cull out individuals that do not meet the standards you have set. For example, if your goal is to produce wool of a certain shade, animals that fall short of this will be the ones you want to sell.
Offer Your Male Alpaca for Breeding
In addition to entering your fiber in local competitions, you should also show your animals in local alpaca shows and fairs. Wins at these events are good publicity for you, and will make your male alpaca more in demand for breeding and your cria more in demand for purchase.
Take Advantage Of Online Alpaca Advertising & Sale Opportunities
In addition to producing wool and selling cria, there are number of other interesting ways to make money with alpacas. Look into exploring these unusual ideas:
1. Set up a website/Web store
It’s easy to set up a very professional looking website for a business of any size these days. It’s also very easy to sell products on established websites such as Etsy. You can expand the use of your fiber by creating homemade goods using it. Sell the small items online to make a little money and to spread the word about your business.
2. Teach online classes
Once you have mastered the art of alpaca raising, you can share your knowledge in the form of online classes with established websites such as Udemy. Teach the skills you’ve acquired in exchange for half of the fees you charge. Successful classes will help build your reputation as a breeder and act as advertisement for your business.
3. Offer one-on-one tutoring
Along with standardized lessons, you can also offer to talk face-to-face via Skype or other service with aspiring or troubled alpaca farmers. Charge by the hour or half hour and answer questions individually to help people succeed in alpaca raising. This will help establish your name within the alpaca community.
4. Create alpaca themed gift items
Websites such as Pixels and Instaprint give you the opportunity to create products such as greeting cards, prints, jewelry, mugs, tote bags, T-shirts, etc. using your own photos. Take some cute pictures of your adorable alpacas and offer these items for sale. You’ll make a little profit and get your name and pictures of your high-quality animals before the public.
It’s easy to self publish books through Amazon Kindle and make them available as e-books or as print-on-demand books. Write short and instructional books about individual aspects of alpaca keeping, or write a lengthy tome about your entire experience. If your books are popular, you can make a good living keeping approximately 65% of your sales earnings. As with all other pursuits, your efforts are good advertising for your business.
6. Create YouTube videos
Vlog your every day experiences in alpaca raising and post your videos on YouTube. Be sure to sign up with Google ads first so that your videos will be monetized and you can earn effortlessly while advertising your business in a friendly and interesting way.
7. Write your own blog
Word Press and numerous other services offer the opportunity to create a revenue stream through blogging. Write about your daily experiences, share pictures (and your photo merchandise) and your YouTube videos to make a bit of money through Google advertising and to advertise your alpaca business.
8. Make an app for that
Use a service such as Buildfire to convert your website to a mobile app. This will make it easy for people in search of alpaca information, videos, websites, products and lessons to find you via Smartphone.
Be sure to get accounts for your business through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter so that you can connect easily with other businesses and individuals who are interested in your alpaca adventures.
Raising Alpacas For Profit
You Need A Business Plan To Raise Alpacas
When you’re raising animals, you’re taking on a responsibility. You need to know what you’re doing from the start, and you need to know what you will do when you encounter problems. It’s very important that you understand what you will need and to make a firm plan that covers all eventualities.
Your plan should include not only your care and feeding of the animals but also your intentions for turning a profit. You need to know what niche you hope to fulfill.
For example, if you’re looking to sell high quality alpaca fiber to artisans, you’ll need to seek out animals that produce naturally deep colored wool. On the other hand, if you’re looking to sell in bulk to large commercial interests, you’ll want to have more animals and the color of the wool will not be of the utmost importance.
If you want to focus on producing small amounts of very high quality wool, you’ll need to begin by investing in smaller numbers of top-notch, registered stock. This may also be the case if you want to build a reputation for producing high quality animals.
On the other hand, if you want a large portion of your income to be derived from selling young alpaca, you may want to look for a large number of inexpensively priced animals.
It’s important to sit down and think your plan through at the outset. Establish your objectives and set realistic goals that will ensure that you attain them successfully.