Pannonia Alpacas Susan and Zoltan Szabo
Pannonia Alpacas
Grants Pass, Oregon 97527
Tel: (541)946-7084

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Why do people in so many countries call Alpacas, "The world's finest livestock investment?"
For any investment to be valuable, it must possess certain qualities which make it desirable. Gold is scarce, real estate provides shelter, oil produces energy, bonds earn interest, stocks are supposed to increase in value and diamonds symbolize love. Alpacas share many of these investment attributes.

Around the world, Alpacas are in strong demand, and people pay high prices for them. They are scarce, unique, and the textiles produced from their fiber are known in the fashion centers of Paris, Milan and Tokyo. There are excellent profit opportunities and tax advantages to Alpaca breeders and investors. Historically, the Alpaca's value has sustained ancient cultures, such as the Incas of Peru, and today Alpacas are the sustaining economic force for millions of South Americans. History has validated the value of the Alpaca.

"Livestock," or animals raised for profit, was an investment long before financial stocks were sold on the New York Stock Exchange. The richest families of ancient times counted their wealth by the size of their flocks of sheep or herds of cattle.
Today, wealth as a result of livestock ownership is not as common, but tending to a graceful herd of Alpacas can also be an exciting way to earn a substantial cash flow and live a rewarding lifestyle.

Alpaca breeders enjoy nurturing their animals every bit as much as receiving the profits they provide. The man who created the "Beefmaster" cattle from imported Limousine stock made the following observation: "I know a lot of doctors and lawyers who would like to be cowboys, but I don't know any cowboys who would trade places with them."

What makes this animal so desirable?
The bottom line: alpacas can be both profitable and enjoyable.

Alpaca breeders are in business for the long run; they believe in the future of the industry. With the relatively small number of alpacas currently available, there will be an extended and steady demand for breeding stock to continue meeting the needs of our growing industry for many years.

Alpaca breeders come from many walks of life. For some, Alpacas are a source of income, for others a source of pleasure. Young couples with children might own three or four Alpacas and enjoy caring for them. Retired couples, who have raised their kids, sold their business, and retired to the country are often owners. The family whose members include a hand spinner might own two or three animals for fiber production. Several larger breeders are veterinarians who found the ownership of Alpacas to be more rewarding than practicing veterinary medicine. Many herds are owned by families, where the husband has a city job, and the Alpaca business is managed by the wife on their small acreage in the country. A large number of breeders are working couples who tend their herd in the evening after work. All of these Alpaca breeders, big and small, enjoy their animals and feel good about owning an investment they can hug.

Some investors don't actually raise their animals, They live in the city, and are building their herd toward the day they might change careers, or retire to the country life. Some investors invest solely for the exceptional returns Alpacas provide. For all investors, Alpacas offer a great way to diversify their investment portfolio with a commodity that is both rare and in demand worldwide.

There are big ranches with over 100 Alpacas, and small farms of only two or three Alpacas. The average Alpaca herd is made up of about eight to ten Alpacas. Most herds start out small and evolve to the size which fits the breeder's farm and financial goals.

The developing market for Alpacas has been moderated by the effects of relatively slow herd growth. As of early 2009, the total population of registered alpacas is about 150,000 in the United States.

Supply will continue to be limited in the near future for a number of reasons:

• Alpacas reproduce slowly. A female is pregnant for 11-12 months, and almost always only has one cria per year.
• Many breeders retain their offspring, building their herds.
• The U.S. alpaca registry is closed to further importation to protect our national herd.
• Mass production of "cria," or babies, via embryo transplant is not feasible, since there is no available supply of suitable host females.
• The limited size of the national herds in each country outside of South America will restrain growth to a small degree.

Meanwhile, demand for alpacas has increased dramatically every year since their introduction outside of South America (1984). There are more breeders entering the alpaca market each year in established countries such as Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the U.S. This growth is sure to continue as the alpaca gains international recognition.

Alpacas offer an outstanding choice for livestock ownership. They have long been known as the aristocrat of all ranch animals. Most of all, alpacas have a charismatic manner, they do very well on small acreage, and they produce a luxury product which is high in demand.


There are essentially two ways to own alpacas.
The ifrst approach is to simply purchase the animals and begin raising them.
The second is to purchase the animals and place them in the care of an established breeder. This arrangement for care and boarding of an animal on behalf of another is known as agistment.

Analyzing the feasibility of alpaca ownership requires a set of assumptions. Determinig the costs associated with raising the animals and what other requirements are involved. Prices for shelter, fencing and labor vary widely based on geographic location, as well as individual needs and tastes.

If you manage the herd yourself, you'll require an inventory of halters, shears, toenail clippers, lead ropes, and other miscellineous gear, tools and equipment. Insurance is a consideration, and cost about 3.25% of the purchase price paid yearly in advance.

If a person were to begin raising alpacas at his or her ranch, a typical start-up budget might look like this:

Acquisition of one pregnant female and one young female.......$35,000
Insurance on animals for one year.............................................$ 1,100
Equipment.....................................................................................$ 500
Small barn and fences...............................................................$30,000
One year's feed.............................................................................$ 300
Veterinarian and miscellaneous reserve......................................$1,100

Costs are rough estimates for comparison purposes only. Actual cost may vary.

The hands-on method of raising alpacas as part- or full-time business, requires that the alpaca breeder own a small ranch or acreage. The property should be properly fenced and have a small barn or shelter.

What are the first steps?

 
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