Living with alpacas
Alpacas are a lifestyle choice with benefits and opportunities for the whole family. What are the rewards of adding alpacas to your lifestyle? As more and more people are discovering, raising alpacas can add a dimension to family life that many find to be just what they have been looking for in terms of relaxation, fun, and a potential source of income.
Who can breed alpacas? Anyone!
Raising alpacas is a lifestyle and investment available to many, from the empty-nester to a family with children to the professional looking for an outlet to daily stress. While the individuals and families who have decided to experience the alpaca adventure are widely diverse in their backgrounds, they share a common love for animals and a desire to remove stress from their lives. Alpacas meet the qualifications for such a lifestyle effortlessly. Families with children will appreciate how alpacas are so gentle and easy to handle, and they may want to become involved in the many family-oriented events around the country. Fairs, auctions, shows, and on-the-farm activities are just some of the events in which to participate.
The highly prized fleece of the alpaca has inspired many to start in-home "cottage industries" which involve shearing the alpacas and spinning the fiber of their own animals into yarn that can be made into high quality apparel while others market the fiber through the support of organized fiber co-ops.
Alpacas require a small amount of acreage compared to other livestock; the average farm is less than 10 acres. They eat pasture grasses and hay. A small three-sided barn or shelter is adequate for a small herd. The size of the herd is up to the individual's personal goals. The fact that alpacas are "easy keepers" makes them an attractive alternative investment. Owners still living in the city or suburbs can board their animals at many established alpaca farms, building their herds with an eye to the future when they can become more hands-on by raising their alpacas themselves.
Alpaca breeders from all walks of life interact with each other by participating in shows and open houses, co-owning animals, and by sharing their acquired expertise. This mutual interest and support has been the start of many lifelong friendships. The pleasure of owning the beautiful and gentle alpaca is a reward in itself. The prospect of enjoying shared family activities with this very huggable animal while reaping the financial rewards of owning and breeding alpacas increases the pleasure many times over.
Raising alpacas is a labor of love. The escape from a fast-paced urban lifestyle to the quiet, pastoral surroundings of raising and breeding alpacas is a prescription for healthier, less stressful living!