1. Are you retired or going to retire soon? Alpacas are bought by many retirees as a second lifestyle to the fast paced work place. They are wonderful for people with little or no farming background. Neither my husband or myself had ever lived on a farm, but I had always wanted to and alpacas are gentle, safe animals to work with.
2. Will you have an empty nest soon? Save the heartache of an empty house with a new lifestyle. There is nothing better than meeting new people and learning a new skill, not to mention having "new babies" to love. My kids will fly soon and I am counting on alpacas to help me through. There are days I can't wait and then there are other days I dread it, but with new crias (baby alpacas) to love and farms to visit, shows to go to, and yarn to knit and sell I hope to be in pretty good shape when the time comes.
3. Do you love to spin fiber or knit? Consider getting a few geldings if you don't want to get into breeding alpacas. Geldings are bought with less money and you have a whole fleece each spring to work with. Buying alpaca items gets expensive, but learning to make my own and possibly even sell them or give them as gifts is a wonderful thing to do.
4. Do you have small children you want to teach about farming? Alpacas weigh on average 150 lbs. They have soft pads on their feet(they can kick every now and then, but it doesn't hurt much). They do not bite (only lower teeth in front - no upper teeth.) Once halter trained they are easily walked around. They are not aggressive, but tend to be shy until trust has been built up.
5. Want to meet new people? Alpaca breeders are some of the nicest we've met. Helpful and willing to teach. Going to shows is a great opportunity to meet other breeders and see what they are doing with their farms. I can guarantee if you make an effort - even a small one - you will come away from that show with a new friend. You can also visit farms to learn about alpacas. Each farm has their own way of doing things. The more you see the more you can decide what will work for you and your farm.
6. Want to raise an animal that doesn't end up a dinner table? We don't eat alpacas in the USA. Most countries don't do it either. They are much more valuable alive and producing fine fleeces. Once you meet an alpaca you can clearly understand the love alpaca owners have for their animals.
For more information call me anytime, and I'll give you our experiences plus set up a farm visit for you. Don't wait - just join in the fun.
Jonni McGuire - Rainbow Run Farm
Rainbow Run Reasons To Start an Alpaca Farm