FAQ: Getting Started with Alpacas?
What is the NZ Alpaca Association? Should I join?
The New Zealand Alpaca Association (NZAA) is a breed society that manages the herd registry for alpacas in New Zealand using the International Alpaca Registry (IAR). The NZAA provides its members with support, information and the latest developments regarding health, fibre, genetics, farming techniques and much more.
AANZ was formed in 2001 and there are now over 700 members and 14,000 registered alpaca in New Zealand. The alpaca industry is enjoying healthy growth as we move towards a commercially sustainable future.
The current membership is spread throughout New Zealand and includes farmers, lifestyle block owners and city folk looking for an alternative lifestyle. The rare alpaca and its unique fleece properties will ensure a successful future for the industry.
The Alpaca Association New Zealand offers all new breeders and parties associated with the industry, a cordial invitation to join our organisation www.alpaca.org.nz
We highly encourage people who are interested in purchasing breeding females to join the association and register your own unique 'herd code'.
BENEFITS OF MEMBERSHIP:
- A comprehensive information pack covering all aspects of owning and breeding alpacas.
- Three A4 colour alpaca magazines posted April, August and December.
- A 16 page, colour tabloid - extra copies available for clients.
- Ability to register your animals on an international database. Prospective purchasers will be comforted by the fact that the animals are registered and can trace their pedigree.
- An invitation to join the voluntary Tb scheme.
- A membership directory of all financial members throughout New Zealand.
- An invitation to advertise and promote your business or farm on the Alpaca Association New Zealand website.
- An invitation to attend workshops, shows and field-days organised through the Association.
- An invitation to attend educational workshops on fleece, health issues, showing, birthing, shearing and many other issues of interest.
- An invitation to attend the Associations annual conference - world reknowned overseas guest speakers are usually invited.
- An invitation to exhibit animals for showing at the A & P shows throughout New Zealand.
- Finally and probably most importantly - access to knowledge. There is a real wealth of knowledge within the industry - by joining the association you will be better informed, make many new friends and foster a passion for the future of the humble alpaca.
What alpacas should I buy?
Deciding on what alpacas to purchase is the hardest part of getting started.
Do you have previous livestock experience? If not, start with non-breeding alpacas, such as a group of quiet males, until you are confident with their behaviour, basic maintenance and the suitability of you land. Buy local and expect support from the seller.
Do you just want pets/grass-eaters? Look for well-handled, healthy alpacas. Visit the animals before purchasing to make sure they are the ones you want to take home. All alpacas sold as 'pets' should be halter-trained and easy to handle but respect boundaries.
Are you interested in breeding? Start slowly, purchase mature females who are proven, trouble-free breeders. All breeding alpacas should be registered with the NZAA international alpaca registry and carry a brass tag in their ear (females right/males left).
Decide on a direction for your herd - are they pets or fibre producers?
Do you want to supply bloodstock for the industry? Research the demand you want to supply. Decide on a long-term breeding goal (e.g. colour, micron range, density) and purchase alpacas which fit this goal. Invest in quality stock from sound genetics. Attend A&P shows/AANZ events and talk to a variety of breeders about the demand for your fleece style and bloodstock in NZ and internationally.
How much should I spend?
Identify what kind of alpacas you want to buy - pets or bloodstock?
Pets/grass eaters can be found from $100 to $800 depending on personality, behaviour, age, fleece, colour and support/extras offered by the seller. If you are new to livestock or still learning about alpacas, ensure you buy local and expect support from the seller.
Bloodstock prices vary due to the genetics and quality of the alpaca.
Breeding stock below $1,000 is generally part of the 'pet-market' and has little commercial value.
$2-5,000 provides a good level of return for your initial investment. There is a good demand at this price level for quality bloodstock that will contribute consistently to the growth of the commercial fibre industry.
Purchases above this price range require in-depth research and knowledge of the alpaca fibre industry. Discuss your ideas and build on the experience and knowledge of others that have been before you.
$5-9,000 is where the majority of high-quality breeding animals are valued - these form the base of a successful breeding plan.
$10,000+ is where you will find the best breeding animals in the industry. This price bracket requires a long-term investment and focused breeding plan. Often alpacas in this range are available for share-holding between a group of breeders.
$100,000+ is reserved for the elite alpacas in the market that are 'game-changers' in the industry - generally stud males. Every year several alpacas reach this milestone around the world, and as recent as 2013 a male alpaca was purchased for $200,000 by a New Zealand stud.