I first asked myself what am I interested in, what am I good at, and what am I passionate about. I love animals, I’m good at organizing, enjoy helping people, a logical thinker, and passionate about streamlining processes/systems.
My alpaca journey started as most of my larger endeavors; lots of research!
I started by helping vaccinate my stepdad’s Angus cows, and then volunteered at a 200-acre New Zealand purebred Kiko goat ranch. Although both were very interesting adventures (I still help with cow vaccinations), I didn’t feel either was the right fit.
To this day, I don’t recall how I came across alpacas, but I knew right away I was very interested. So the journey began setting up farm visits to gain a better understanding of all things alpaca; from breeding, birthing, husbandry, end products (fiber, manure, etc.), book reading, internet searches, and so on. Since there are two breeds of alpacas, I choose to raise Suri’s instead of Huacaya’s.
After arming myself with lots of data from the notes I took at each farm visit and Internet research, to the many books I bought, it was time to do a lot of praying and seeking God’s will for my next chapter.
I would like to interrupt this conversation for a short blurb about the importance of creating a business plan. This process helped me think critically about what I envisioned, a road map to get there (which isn’t set in stone), and projections of where I wanted to be in, say, 5 years. It also helped me think of things I didn’t necessarily think of in the beginning of my business to raise alpacas.
My first purchase was from an AOA judge who was selling the farm and moving back to Australia. I bought three bred females with their cria at their side. Oh! A baby alpaca is called a cria.
Within 4 months of purchasing my first alpacas, I purchased 10 more alpacas on a tip from my veterinarian.
Because all the alpacas I had purchased were female, except a baby boy, I started the process of looking toward breeding’s. Since the little boy wouldn’t be ready to breed until he was at least 2 years old, and I also needed to wean him, I would need another boy so he wasn’t alone when moved to another pasture, and to immediately start breeding. I did consider paying for breeding’s, but felt it was a better plan to purchase a breeding male. So I was on the hunt for another male that was at least of breeding age. After several inquiries of the alpaca community I had joined, I found a perfect fit; or should I say, two perfect fits! Two males with great bloodlines!
Seven months after my initial purchase, there were 18! Then two births makes 20. Whew!
All this would not be possible without the blessings and wisdom from God and the support of my family and friends, especially my mom and stepdad who have been invaluable.