THE NATIONAL HERD

There are over 50,000 animals in the UK at this present time, representing about 1500 owners ranging from herds of a couple of pet geldings to a few herds close to a thousand.

There are National alpaca herds developing throughout the all the European Union countries and beyond.

The demand for alpacas is at present greater than the supply, a factor which is reflected in the price.

The demand for quality Alpaca fibre is greater than the world supply a factor which will inevitably drive the industry forward in the long term.

The average prices at the moment for good female alpacas in cria (pregnant) are between £3,000 - £8,500 , depending on the age, pedigree and quality of the animal.

A castrated male, pet or guardian will sell for between £300 - £600. There are currently no shortage of peole wanting to use pet males as fibre producers , pets and guardians.

A potential stud male can cost anything from £4,000 upwards to a level that is controlled only by the buyers desire to own a particular animals unique genetics. Some Champion males are changing hands for tens of thousands of pounds.

Alpacas are now a grwoing presence in all the European countries from Norway right down to Spain and through to the Eastern European countries. There is a vibrant Pan European Market developing which will drive demand for pedigree UK Breeding stock.

Selective breeding

Through the process of highly selective breeding within this fledgling industry the quality of the stock is improving in leaps and bounds, a factor which is reflected in the increasing price of the younger pedigree stock.

Be advised- To maintain and increase the value in your investment you must breed better every season.

Investment

Nature dictates that the offspring of any healthy female alpaca will fall into a 50/50 male to female ratio. Hence an investment of £4,000 - £10,000 now in a breeding female could over a ten year period produce, say, 5 female cria and 5 male. Assuming that prices did not increase or decrease over this period and one sold all the offspring, males at £500 - £1,000, females at £4,000 - £8,000, this one female could theoretically produce a return of at the low end £20,000 and at the top end, £40,000

  • Minus: Top stud fees of £750 pa say £7,500.
  • Minus: Husbandry costs of say a maximum of £300pa ,say £3000.
  • Minus: Insurance at 4% av.£400pa. ,say £4000
  • Estimated potential profit at the low end, £5,500 and at the top end £25,500

Be Advised- Alpacas are a long term project.

Best laid plans?

It is vital that investors bear in mind that this is a live animal they are investing in and as such it is subject to all vagaries that life can throw at it, hence the annual insurance. The above is not meant to be a definitive model but a snapshot of the basic economics of investing in one alpaca. It takes no account of infant mortality or other problems nature may throw at it.

WARNING: Alpacas have a tendency to be an addictive and highly contagious investment for those who prefer to see their money running around a paddock!