Alpacas have captured the imagination of Americans, with many deciding to set up an alpaca farm. The rewards can be immense--and the risks run high. Alpacas are considered fairly low maintenance farm animals, but there are several considerations regarding their care and upkeep.
It takes considerable investment to begin an alpaca farm, coupled with ongoing costs of care. There are no guarantees your animals will yield a return.
Alpacas carry the risk of injury, illness and death. Maintain proper fences and structures to reduce injury, check the animals at least twice a day and be sure to carry insurance.
Alpaca breeding can be risky due to maternal and fetal deaths. Breeding also leads to increased herd imbalance, such as too many males or females.
Bovine Viral Diarrhea virus is extremely dangerous to alpacas. Other disease risks include coccidiosis, stomach ulcers and meningeal worms.
Studs (unaltered males) tend to be aggressive towards other males, which typically results in fighting. When fighting, alpacas can seriously injure each other, so keep studs separated.
Ashlee Simmons has written professionally for more than 10 years. Her writing focus is travel, equestrian and health and medical articles, but she enjoys writing human interest stories as well. Simmons graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a liberal arts degree.