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How much does Alpaca cost? Well, my friend asked me about Alpaca farming yesterday, the investment cost, and the generated revenue. After a few days of researching, I got some answers to give to my friends. I presented my friend with the cost analysis of being an Alpaca owner, what expenses to expect, and more.
Usually, the first question that is asked when considering buying Alpaca is the investment cost, and rightfully so. No matter who you ask, it is difficult to give a specific purchase price as a lot goes into valuing the Alpaca.
Search online ‘Alpacas for sale’, you might get a shock seeing the price tag and might give up on the idea of owning an Alpaca. However, the prices are high because probably you are seeing websites with the best breeds.
Alpacas being closely related to Llamas are often passed off as Llamas. Besides Llamas, the other close relatives of Alpacas include guanaco and vicuña. Alpaca has a long neck and legs, a short tail, a small head, and large, pointed ears.
Alpacas are usually kept for fleece production and many owners have been making quite a profit out of it. Huacaya and the Suri are two distinct breeds whose fleece is used for parkas, sleeping bags, and fine coat linings. Alpacas are herbivores and tend to feed only on vegetation.
Enough of the chit-chat, you must be getting impatient to know about the Alpaca cost. Here is your answer.
How much does an Alpaca cost?
How much is an Alpaca? Before we go into details, just a little heads up, they are a bit expensive. The cost of an Alpaca ranges from $250 to $50000. However, the average price of a young, healthy Alpaca will be around $3000 to $10000, most buyers can seal a good deal within this price range.
Alpacas or the Vicugna Pacos are in demand and many people have been breeding and importing them, which explains the price hike.
Prices heavily depend on the quality of Alpacas you wish to purchase, if you want a pet or for a hobby farm, prices will be lower. Show animals are generally expensive, show Alpacas are no exception either.
Do not just blame the quality of Alpacas but some other factors are also responsible for price variations. The purchase price varies depending on age, conformation, fiber quality, lineage, facial appearance, and personality.
Pet Quality Alpacas Cost
The price of Alpacas intended to be kept as a pet falls between $250 to $1500 or within the average cost of $500 to $1000. The reason for this low price is that the pet Alpacas may not reproduce and are not registered with the Alpaca Owners Association.
Hobby Farm Quality Alpacas Cost
The only purpose of keeping farm-qualified Alpacas is to generate revenue. Farm Alpacas are usually bought for their finer quality fiber and darker color wool.
Their higher quality wool is usually sold at a higher price to the cottage industry which automatically influences the price of farm quality Alpacas.
Expect a farm-quality Alpaca to be sold within the price range of $1500 to $5000.
Show Quality Alpacas Price Range
Like all show animals, show alpacas are expensive as well. You have to have the highest bid to get your hands on the show quality Alpaca.
Belonging to the Alpaca “royalty” genetically, these Alpacas do not just have the show-worthy physical characteristics and temperament but also the finest quality of fiber.
The minimum price of a show quality Alpacas starts from $5000. The highest selling price recorded so far for a show Alpaca is $750000.
Herdsire Alpacas have award-winning physical characteristics and temperament, making them the most coveted sire. These Alpacas are mainly bought and rented for breeding purposes. Herdsire Alpacas are usually sold at tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Herdsire Alpacas are usually rented for breeding operations owing to the expensive price tag. Herdsire Rental starts as low as $1000 and goes up to $5000.
Where to buy Alpacas?
Looking for Alpacas for sale? Look around, check local farms if you are unable to find the right Alpaca, go to these sale resources
- Alpaca Owners Association (AOA)
- Suri Network
These resources have hundreds of listings selling alpacas of different ages, breeds, colors, and quality.
How Much does it Cost to Raise Alpacas?
The purchase price is a one-time expense but it is the ongoing raising and upkeep cost most buyers tend to overlook.
Many aspiring Alpaca farmers do not have a decent grasp on the raising cost. A lot of investment cost goes into caring for the herd and making a profit off the Alpacas fleece.
Now, you know the acquiring cost of Alpacas, here is the breakdown of Raising or upkeep cost.
Alpacas like to graze on pasture or grass and you will witness they can never have enough grass to stack on. Their favorite grasses to feed on are timothy, fescue, and alfalfa. During colder weather, hay is included in their diet.
According to AARP It usually costs around $100 a month, this cost would be more if the Alpaca is being fed on hay alone. The feeding cost will also include the dietary supplements given to Alpacas.
Alpacas also drink a lot of freshwaters, install a freshwater source for them to drink. Here is quick factor Do Alpacas Eat Carrots?
Alpacas do not demand a lavish living space, they just need a dry place to sleep and a shelter to save them from rain and hot sun.
Build a three-sided structure, a barn, or a living space big enough to accommodate the Alpacas. This one-time cost of construction is about $800.
Fencing, though the biggest expense, but it needs to be incurred just one time. Once the pasture is fenced, set aside some amount for maintenance.
The area where the Alpacas graze must be fenced for multiple reasons, for their protection or abstain from trespassing neighbors’ property.
Durably made fence from wires, boards, split rails may cost around $1500. This cost varies depending on the area that needs to be covered and the type of fencing used.
Transportation costs should be considered if you plan on taking them to the farm. This cost usually varies depending on how far the location is and the number of Alpacas.
However, the average transportation cost would be more or less $350 to $500.
If you wish to register your Alpaca to track bloodline or for pedigree validation, it is advised to register them as soon as they are born, as the registration cost is less for the baby Alpacas.
The registration cost for Alpacas of different ages or transfer of registration ranges from $20 to $55.
To keep Alpacas healthy, it is recommended to vaccinate them for enterotoxemia and tetanus. Include the dewormer program in the medical cost as well.
Keep their pasture and shelter clean from the wire, nails, and hornets’ nests. An Alpaca owner may have to spend $200 a year for preventive medicine, to be clear, this does not include the vet visits.
Probably, the main reason you bought Alpacas is for their fine quality fiber, so it would be foolish to overlook the shearing cost.
If you are planning on shearing yourself, purchase a quality shearing clipper that may cost around $100 or more. If a professional is hired for shearing, expect a shearing fee. This is an annual cost as Alpacas are sheared once a year.
Factors that Determine the Price of An Alpaca
As you know by now that prices vary for different Alpacas. It is time to know what factors affect the price of an Alpaca.
- Genetics or Lineage – Alpacas belonging to the top genetic lines are priced higher than the Alpacas hailing from the traceless or low-quality bloodlines.
- Wool Color – Alpacas that produce rare color fleece are in demand and generally sold at a higher rate. The cottage industry pays more for unique colors therefore, Alpacas with darker and natural-looking colors are sold for more.
- Age – With age Alpacas encounter many health issues and they are considered good for about 10 years of age. Alpaca less than 10 years old have a higher purchase price. The average lifespan of an Alpaca is 20 years.
- Fiber Quality – Fiber quality, crimp, and fleece consistency play a vital role in determining the price of an Alpaca.
- Temperament – Nobody likes a rude Alpaca that does not play along. Friendly, gentle, and kind alpacas are worth more than the grumpy and skittish alpacas.
- Gender – Female Alpacas are priced higher than male alpacas.
How Much to Gain from Alpaca Farming?
If you are planning to start alpaca farming, it is a bit cheaper as compared to other farming experience. Here are few ways to earn after spending on Alpacas.
- Sell Stock: You can sell breeding stock to interested one
- Sell fiber and fiber products: There are many fiber enthusiasts who demand fiber animals, or you can sell fiber or fiber products too.
- Manure Products: Sell manure or compost to garden lovers
- Sell for meat: Sell alpacas for meat and hide
- Provide Services: You can provide shearing, transport and management services
How much does alpaca wool sell for?
Here are current prices chart for alpacas wool
- According to current data collected by Karl Heinrich, Raw fleece price is around 0 to 10$ per pound.
- Roving and batts are 50 to 75$ per pound. One pound alpaca yarn price is around 100 to 150$ per pound.
These prices can vary from region to region and quality of wool or fiber.
Why are Alpacas so expensive?
Alpaca fleece is quite famous in the cottage industry because of its high quality, exclusive fiber. Limited availability of Alpaca fleece is the reason for their soaring price as they are shorn only once a year. Raising Alpacas is very profitable that is why many farm owners are inclined towards Alpaca farming.
Putting it all together, the purchase price of alpacas varies in association with different attributes. However, they are a bit more expensive than other pets, also, it is recommended to buy and raise more than one Alpaca, precisely a herd.