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Mountain Jewel Farm

Alpaca Clothing, Alpaca Socks, Accessories and Yarn

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Starting Your Alpaca Farm

Getting Started in the Alpaca Business

Consider the following tips:
  • Find a farm that is actively marketing and using their alpaca fiber for product sales successfully, and learn how they do it.
  • Service is important – purchase animals from farms who will be there for you AFTER the purchase. You will have questions – you want a farm that will be able to help when you get your animals home. Don’t be afraid to ask for references, reputable breeders can provide them.  Call their references.
  • Visit regional and local association websites like the Alpaca Association of Western Oregon, Columbia Alpaca Breeders Association or Pacific NW Alpaca Association.
  • Keep a journal of questions, notes, thoughts, etc. Also keep track of any tax deductable expenses you have during your research. 
  • Make a list of questions to ask experienced breeders you visit.
  • Attend a local or regional alpaca show to observe the halter and fleece competitions, attend workshops and visit with breeders and vendors.
  • Talk to a tax accountant who is familiar with the tax benefits of raising livestock.
  • Develop a written business plan. Start simple and then add detail so it's not as over-whelming.
  • Plan to start a website (or a farm page from alpaca sites such as Alpaca Nation, AlpacaStreet or Open Herd) take notes on things you want to include on your own site.
  • Plan to offer alpaca products for sale from the very beginning  such as yarn, rovings or alpaca socks from USA fiber co-ops such as AFCNA or NEAFP.  Plan to USE your fiber, don't let it pile up in the garage.  You are planning to raise FIBER animals.
  • Ask other breeders what their successes and mistakes have been.
  • Start a list of what kind of a farm you want to create and select farms that best match those qualities to do business with. 
  • Healthcare is IMPORTANT – purchase animals from farms with a solid herd health program who keep accurate up to date records. Talk to each farm about their program. Look around the farm, are the fields clean of built up poop piles? Does the farm look neat, clean, free of debris, well organized and well managed? Do the alpacas look happy, well nourished and relaxed? Do you see plenty of forage and fresh clean water available?
  • It can be a good sign when you find alpaca farms with a solid history of showing their animals, whether it be showing in fiber classes or halter classes.
  • Ask local farms if you can attend shearing or herd health days to observe or help with things like nail trimming, immunizations, body scoring, worming, weighing, breeding, etc. 
  • Ask what is included in the sale, ie:  transportation, guarantees, breed backs,  registration transfers, after the sale service and support, etc.
  • Ask to see the ARI registration certificate of any alpaca you are considering for purchase.  Be sure the owner is willing to provide registration certificates in that owner's name. If not, they certify who the sire and dam are, this requires a DNA blood test.  Go to the Alpaca Registry website to learn more about registering alpacas. You cannot register a cria born to parents who are not registered. The breeder should have no hesitation in providing records.
  • Gather information about local veterinarians who specialize in alpacas, local alpaca shearers, local fiber processors and feed/hay suppliers.
  • Join a local alpaca association.

Updated October 02, 2015