1. How much money does it take to start a farm?
At this stage of development of the industry, the price for an alpaca is directly related to the reproductive potential of the individual and the potential quality of his offspring.
For example, a gelding (castrated male) with no reproductive potential is less expensive to buy (around $ 500 to $ 1,000). On the other hand, a male of high quality - with lots of offspring on the ground - which has a very high reproductive potential can be worth several thousand dollars. It can also provide high income for the breeding services .
The price of a female depends on her quality, her age, her genetics, color and personal history, but also from which male she is pregnant at the time of purchase. The price can vary from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.
Revenue from females are derived from the sale of the offspring. It's important that your alpaca breeding program has the goal to be profitable and to increase your heard quality in the long run.
The purchase of a pregnant, double registered premium female will cost between 8,000 $ and 15,000 $. For that price, she should probably be from a line of prestige and the breeder will provide you with certain guarantees about the quality of her offspring.
A young single registered pregnant female of good quality costs around 3,000 $ to 8,000 $ .
Young female crias or older females are sold for about 3,000 $ (single) to 5,000 $ (double).
If your budget allows it, you can start farming with 3 or more alpacas, and the growth of your farm is even faster.
The following chart illustrates how a herd might grow over a period of ten years, assuming you start with 10 pregnant females and two males to reproduce. The initial herd grows to 126 animals, assuming a 80% rate of reproduction and a 50/50 male / female ratio.
Please note that this graph does not represent the average alpaca breeder. Most breeders choose to sell all or parts of their annual production for practical reasons, such as recovering their initial budget to cover their operating costs and produce profits.
Of course you can also buy young female crias. They are less expensive to purchase and at the age of 14 month they are ready for reproduction. Domaine Fraser Alpacas has crias and adult animals for sale at any time.
It is also a good strategy to buy several young males with good potential who are not related with most of your females. Yes, they will not be ready for breeding before the age of 2 or 3 years, but this way you can raise your own future herdsire for less money. During his youth, you can attend exhibitions, be evaluated by the judges and make him known among other farmers. If you have purchased several potential herdsires, you can even make a selection for only keep the best male for your breeding project. This investment can be very interesting as a good herdsire worth easily between 6,000 $ and 20,000 $ as adult. (A single registered male is cheaper)
What is the cost to start an alpaca
business, apart from the cost to buy animals?
Land values vary considerably across
Canada. In general, 5-8 alpacas can live reasonably on an acre of pasture. If
you have more than 5 to 8 animals over an area of one acre, it is possible
anyway, but you need to feed with extra hay even while the pasture season.
Alpacas can live easily with a shelter closed on 3 sides. But the ability to have a place to treat newborns and sick animals (on occasion) is highly desirable. Some authors suggest that the minimum size of a habitat is 8 square feet per animal. We think it would be very crowded. We propose 10 to 12 square feet per animal is best for them.
Is not absolutely required for the alpaca, but it makes maintenance a lot easier if electrical power is available.
Water should be available at all times. Alpacas must have access to fresh clean water. They like lukewarm water in winter and cool water in summer.
For most new breeders of alpacas, the construction cost of fencing is a major investment. Often, breeders set up fences "anti-predator" of 5 to 8 feet high. The cost for this type of fence is around 6.50 $ per foot.
As we have very large pastures (100 acres fenced), fences "anti-predator" would
cost a fortune! So we thought that with this money, we would rather invest in
For our winter pens and pens for newborns, we chose a combination of wooden boards and electric fence. Cost 2.50 $ per foot depending on the wood which is used.
For our big summer pastures, we installed only 4 electric wires at a cost of $
0.25 per foot (plus the unit to bring the electrical current).
So what is our secret weapon? Well said!
In fact, there are two:
First, we have since some years Pyrenean Mountain Dogs that make her rounds every night to keep predators away outside the enclosure. This is a breed which is elevated for centuries to protect the herds of animals.
But even before we had these dogs, we had never lost an alpaca because of predators. Our second weapon, this is our Guard-llamas. From the beginning, we had 1 or 2 llamas in each herd of alpacas, which are trained to be a guard animal. They do a very good job and they don't allow dogs or coyotes to enter in the pastures.
Here at Domaine Fraser Alpacas, you can
buy Guard-llamas or Pyrenean Mountain Dog puppies to protect your herd of
A scale is a purchase necessary to weigh animals regularly and to monitor their health. A good digital scale cost between 300 $ and 700 $ plus shipping. Other basic equipment such as hay and grain feeders, waterers, buckets, a first aid kit, a birth help kit for crias, containers to keep the feed, a place to store hay, portable fans for cooling, a children's pool for hot days and other items such as halters, leashes, etc..
3. Maintenance costs for the animals
Alpacas are, compared to other farm animals, very easy to maintenance. They are very robust, effective and economical to maintain. All nutrients in food consumed, everything they need, will be digested. These unique animals leave no loss in consumption. Their main food is grass pastures, and they eat about two liters of grass a day! This is much less than a goat or sheep. During the winter, when pastures are covered with snow, an alpaca eat around 250g to 500g of grains per day and consumes only 3 bales of hay per month (compared to a horse who eats a bale a day).
Like all animals, veterinary costs may occasionally occur. But thanks to the robust health of the alpacas, the vet does not need to come often, if you take good care of them.
Once a year, we shear the animals. Costs for the shearing (done by a professional) vary between $ 25.00 and $ 50.00, depending on the number of animals. Some alpacas need being cut their teeth every 1-3 years. The shearer is generally equipped for this work and the costs are around $ 5.00 to $ 10.00 per animal.
To prevent diseases caused by parasites, all alpacas need to be dewormed every 40 to 60 days, depending on the season.
Most breeders provide vitamins and
minerals in addition to their feed. If necessary, they are provided with food or
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Domaine Fraser Alpacas
St-Ferdinand, Québec, Canada