We moved to the Atlanta area in the Fall of 2002 and bought a small farm where we could continue our involvement with horses. Before our move we had done considerable internet research about alpacas, and toyed with the idea of breeding them in the future. In preparation for moving and buying a farm we got a magazine called “Small Farm Today”, which transformed the thought of raising alpacas in the future into a business plan for today.
Being a part of the alpaca industry has been a wonderful experience for us. Every day there is something new to be learned, new material is always being written to update all of us on veterinary practices and care, animal breeding decisions and goals and desired fiber characteristics. The industry is growing rapidly and alpacas in America are improving at a tremendous rate. Breeding better animals takes research and planning, each breeding should genetically and phenotypically improve the herd. A breeding program is critical to moving ahead, breeding goals are what sets one farm apart from another. Anyone can breed 2 animals together, the differences become obvious when a farm selects genetically superior herdsires that display the desired phenotypical traits of the individual breeding program to breed to their females in order to improve the next generation. It’s called breeding up. If the alpaca industry would have a breed standard, the desired traits of the alpaca would be highlighted, making it easier for everybody to define their breeding objective and therefore allowing the industry to grow more effectively.
Currently new alpaca breeders have a hard time defining their individual breeding objectives (breeding program) and choosing their breeding stock without a breed standard to guide them. Some say “buyer beware”. We believe in sharing our knowledge in order for the new breeder to make an educated purchase that will help them become successful in the alpaca industry. Making bad choices is costly and will set you back years. Define your goals in raising alpacas and then find people that you trust to help you reach these goals.