Making a living from alpacas

You can listen to podcasts in so many places – where is your favourite place to listen to the Alpaca Tribe podcast?

I recently had some feedback from Muninn from Oregon who wanted to know how many alpacas are needed to make a financially viable business. Good question but unfortunately there is not a simple out of the box answer suitable for everyone.

Initial investment can be high if you aim for top quality animals and jump-start the size of the herd. Where you start depends as always on where you trying to get to. For example, let’s consider a breeding herd and sales of alpacas.

If you had say 20 breeding females and assume equal numbers of male/female cria you could have three groups of males and females to sell each year. Do you know the average values of pet males in your area? You could end up with only a few thousand pounds/dollars. The females maybe 10,000. Half of that could be swallowed by cost such as feed; vet and medicine bills; maintenance of land and equipment; shearing; registrations; transport etc.

Other income streams can be added such as fleece (from raw to finished product); services; training; shearing; composted alpaca dung; experiences and other tourism-related activities.

Good news – you can start small and cheap.

Bad news – cost of starting large is high.


  1. Setting up an alpaca business need plenty of planning and preparation
  2. It may not bring quick or large returns.
  3. Diversification is really helpful.


Joe Phelan of K2 Alpacas talked about his business growth in Episodes 42 and 43 – well worth another listen

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