In my previous article, I talked about selecting your first alpaca on the basis of its color, temperament, etc.
When you buy your alpaca, you must make sure you get the ARI registration papers along with a list of awards and health issues. If she has had more than 2 lost pregnancies, or has given birth to more than 2 crias who didn't survive, you need to probe further, before buying her.
When you are buying a pregnant dam, you must ask whether a scientific test of pregnancy was done. You must also ask when the breeding was done, and when the baby cria is due. Your contract should also mention fertility guarantee, if any.
Next, you must also insure that your alpaca has taken his or her vaccinations and wormer dosages for the particular state (area) where you will be raising him/her, corresponding to the diseases and parasites native to the area.
You should geld or neuter males you plan to use for fiber or raise as pets. If you are buying a male fiber animal, be sure to confirm who will be paying for his neutering.
You will also require a bill of sale, a copy of the ARI certificate, and all financial and boarding arrangements in written form, as a contract. If your seller has already taken insurance for the animal, you must find out whether the policy can be transferred or it is necessary to take one afresh.
Then, you must do the registration of a cria, if it comes along with the mother dam, or if the dam delivers it, after she is bought. The breeder-seller should help you with the ARI registration paperwork, including DNA analysis of the cria, to verify its parentage.
The seller-rancher will normally provide a halter and lead rope to transport your purchased alpaca. This, along with some feed suffices to take it home. You would do well to ask for references you can quiz. That will help you to find out how much the seller was willing to help them learn to care for their animals.
Also shows are useful as they exhibit breeding conformation - they feature animals with varied fiber, color, and temperament. They are also there to locate an ideal sire to breed dams with, and grow your herd.
You can also buy alpacas through the internet, using the appropriate websites and online auctions. However, I wouldn't advise you to make your first purchase here. You must first learn the alpaca business, how to identify registered animals, and how to recognize quality animals, before launching into online purchasing.
Again, if you need just a couple of animals, for use as pets or for fiber for your personal use, you can opt for non-breeding males ranging from $500 to $2,000. Such gelding males are perfect for the owner who wants show animals - handsome animals that serve primarily as pets.
These animals can be companions to children, taken to fairs and shows to exhibit breeding, be companions to other alpacas, while traveling, or even act as guard animals for your herd of alpacas or other animals, protecting them from predators.
Such gelding alpacas can also be used to experiment with, and decide whether you can live with, care for and raise an alpaca herd.
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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.