TEN Tips to Extra Income with Alpacas – Part 1

Kommander show blanket & fleece still on legs 5-11 pt1Alpacas need to be shorn in the spring before the weather and humidity become intense. The shearing process is not only healthy for your alpacas; it is a source of revenue for your business. If you prepare ahead of time and work with your shearer, you can get maximum return on your alpacas’ fleece.

In this photo you can see that we laid an extra large piece of plastic along side the alpaca’s body so that we could collect the blanket portion in one piece. We did this first before we sheared any other part of his body.

This post explores numerous ideas to make some income while you’re letting your herd grow. Your goal should be to achieve some extra revenue whether you have a small fiber herd or you are starting a breeding business.

Below you will find a list of a few possibilities:

1. Locate a local spinning guild and invite them to shearing day to help and purchase raw fiber.

2. Offer hand spinners the first choice of the raw fiber once it is bagged.

3. Locate local fiber artists and invite them to the ranch to feel your fiber. Show them the different grades of fiber and introduce them to creative ideas of how to use alpaca fiber in crafts projects.

4. Send some of your best fleece to mini-mills and have it converted into beautiful yarn. Introduce your yarn at “Farmer’s Markets”, Craft Faires & Country Festivals.

5. Knit, crochet, felt or weave accessories out of alpaca yarn and start a small farm/ranch Boutique, or take them to the “Markets” & “Faires.”

Here’s a link to our web store. We have it linked through our Ranch Home Page: http://alpacasav.com/alpaca-boutique/

[Side note: Even though I live in a warm & sunny climate, I’m still successful selling my yarn and hand made items at local Faires & Open Aire Markets especially from September through April. The rest of the year I devote to making more items to sell.]

So, with a modest initial investment, you could easily bring in several thousand dollars during the eight months of the year that you are promoting your alpaca items.

It’s a good plan to spend the other months creating items to sell. Or fix up your place so that you can invite the public to see your alpacas and take tours.

These are just a few ideas to get you started thinking about the potential for your situation. In the next post I will continue to explore other possible ways to bring in revenue with your alpaca business.

Julie

PS: Do you have an idea that you would like to share? Please post your comments below.

TEN Tips to Extra Income with Alpacas – Part 2

In the last post I listed 5 possible ways that you could generate some revenue from your alpaca fiber whether you had a large herd or just a few fiber boys.

In this post, I will Open Aire Marketshare some additional ways to use your fiber and the manure.

6. Contribute a portion of your fiber yield to a Co-Op in exchange for ready made alpaca products to sell in your Boutique or at the “Markets.” If you don’t have a large quantity of fleece in your first few years, then find other alpaca breeders who wish to combine fiber to get a better return from the Co-Ops.

7. Set-up Open Houses at your place, or join in with other farms/ranches that hold them. Display and sell your alpaca items as you educate the public about the virtues of alpaca fiber.

8. Set up in-home parties and take your alpaca items to other people’s homes or offices. This works especially well around the holidays and in colder climates.

9. Set up an online virtual store through one of the major outlet websites. We use Amazon.com because they offer so many varieties of products to choose from. They also make it very easy to set up your virtual store. They pay an affiliate commission regularly.

10. Another idea that is unique to alpacas because of the nature of the way they digest their feed source. Invite local organic gardeners to pick up alpaca manure. They can either pay you in dollars or barter with the fruits of their labors.

Even with a small herd, you can accumulate enough manure to support several gardens. Our “Poop” is referred to as “Alpaca Gold!” We fill (using a tractor) several Pick-up trucks every month. In the beginning with less than a dozen alpacas, we used to shovel it in sand bags and sell it that way.

Some alpaca ranches make an alpaca tea “liquid soil amendment”. Be sure that you comply with any health regulations. Check your local area and agriculture extension for suggestions on what you can say or print and what would require special licenses.

I was advised not to call our bagged manure “fertilizer” or “compost” due to the local restrictions and regulations. Throughout the year we support the local nursery with the best “soil amendments” possible. Just think about what you could do in your area!

I hope that these 2 posts have given you food for thought about the potential for income with an alpaca business.

[Perhaps you have a special skill that could incorporate the use of alpaca fiber or manure to create some extra revenue for you. What an opportunity to share that with other alpaca enthusiasts as well. Please comment below and share your ideas on bringing in extra revenue.]

Julie & Don Roy own Alpacas of Anza Valley since 2004. They provide training, education and consulting to alpaca beginners, owners and breeders so that they become more successful, profitable and knowledgeable in the alpaca lifestyle. More than 50 alpacas call Alpacas of Anza Valley home at any one time. Come for a visit. Check out the website for more details. http://AlpacasAV.com