Learning Alpaca

Friday, October 20, 2006

A Day Off

The only negative thing about all of this is that I now work at Blockbuster evenings and weekends for living money and the farm weekdays. A day off like this one is rare indeed. So no alpacas, just kicking back at the library. Ahhhh, nice.
Kerrie ( my partner ) and I have 7 alpacas now. The nice thing is that we have only bought 2. We bought both of our alpacas when we were living and working in Japan. Carrini was first, followed more than a year later by Chiquita. These are both good animals, and cost us around $NZ13,000 each pregnant. We pay agistment of $NZ10 a week per animal (pretty standard) and mating fees (we go for the best genetics we can find at this stage) of around $NZ1000.

Sounds like a lot right? But, we've been very lucky. All of the cria (baby alpacas) we have had, have been girls. Alpacas have a gestation period of 11&1/2 months - so thats about 1 baby a year.So that's 5 girls each with a potential value of around $10,000. A pretty good return on investment.

Don't get me wrong though.... this isn't a license to print money. If we had had a boy, it is more than likely that he would be worth only around $700 -$900 as a wether (a castrated male). Probably 90% of males are castrated because they have less than superior genetics. (On a side note - if the genetic lottery goes your way and you get a stud quality boy...well, some males have sold in the 100s of 1000s of dollars!!!!).
It also has to be noted that here in New Zealand at least, genetic improvement is proceeding at such a pace that without using the best studs your alpacas can lose some value over a relatively short period of time.
The last factor is that as numbers of alpacas rise the average cost of an alpaca will drop. It has to in order for what is essentially a bloodstock industry to become a fibre industry.

Okay, don't let this money talk scare you off - I promise you cute photos and stories are coming.

Want to get involved in alpacas with much less money? Then get 2 (never have a lone alpaca - they need the company of other alpacas) wethers. Get halter trained ones that are more used to human company and sit back and enjoy these sweet animals. If you're here in New Zealand check out Southern Alpacas (no bias here :-) alpacas for sale page and look down the bottom for some seriously cute wethers ( I should know, I've handled many of them :-).

Here you go - to lighten the mood, check out the Llama song. The "not a llama" is an alpaca!!
Photos next time :-)

An Introduction

Hello there, and welcome to my small corner of blogger.

This blog is mostly about my adventures in the world of Alpacas.

Three weeks ago I woke up and realised that I was getting no closer to my dream of having a small alpaca farm. So I did something a little nuts. I quit my fun, comfortable job and asked Southern Alpacas, who agists our ( my partner and I ) alpacas if they would teach me more about alpacas in return for me working for them for free on their property - a kind of unofficial apprenticeship. And they agreed.

Now 4 days a week I get t
o work with perhaps the cutest and most fascinating animal on Earth - the alpaca.
What I thought I would share here is the things I have learnt, observed or thought about in connection with alpacas and alpaca farming.

I hope you'll join me in the journey.