After wading through all the information relating to alpacas, including the financial aspects of alpaca farming, we come finally to the most important question of all: Is this the right occupation for you?
This is a loaded question - a person who has already opted for this way of life will, willy nilly, take offense, if you question his/ her decision. However, the question merits an answer. Because, unless you cherish certain values, alpaca farming is definitely not for you.
For instance, are you excited by the thought of being out on a pasture, early in the morning, watching your herd, with a mug of coffee in your hand? Would you rather talk about your investment, or about the joy of watching crias gamboling about, as the sun goes down, in the evening?
Do you delight in talking about knitters, who buy yarn from you, posing for pictures with the animal from which that yarn came? Do you enjoy talking about that eccentric sire or dam in your herd?
Because these are the things a protective alpaca farmer should cherish. Typically, an alpaca farmer will revel in telling everyone how he or she started out with one or two animals, and how the number of animals grew quickly, over time, into a sizeable herd. In fact, a typical alpaca breeder is addicted to the animals. He or she can never be satisfied with owning a solitary animal, and will always look forward to building a herd.
Alpaca farmers love to speak about the many great people they've met and become friends with, in the farming community. The alpaca community, in particular is so close-knit that a farmer is likely to claim that this is the only community whose members care for one another. Each one is said to be committed to the industry and its growth, and tries to help others to succeed in their alpaca enterprise.
So, if this is the kind of lifestyle you envision, for you and your family, go ahead. Mark attendance at the alpaca shows, and schedule visits to alpaca farms. And if you haven't mingled with alpacas before, be prepared to get passionate about these majestic, inquisitive and gentle animals, as most alpaca farmers have done.
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Richard Runion is the President of Geostar Publishing & Services LLC. His latest weblog on Alpaca rearing is fast becoming popular, as it is comprehensive and well-researched.