Buying your first Alpaca

When you're thinking about joining the alpaca owner's community, there are lots of questions to consider. As it's a long-term commitment, it's important to be prepared and informed. If you are intending to start an alpaca based business, the information below will assist you in building your business plan.
To streamline this process, we've compiled a Buyer's Checklist covering all the most important questions.

The Whys:

  • Are your alpacas for fleece?
  • Breeding?
  • Showing?
  • Herd protectors?

Your purchase will reflect the purpose of your alpaca investment.

The Whats (Before You Buy):

  • What age, colour and registration status suits your needs?
  • Are the animals registered with the AAA so they can be transferred? It is the responsibility of the breeder to register the animal before transferring it.
  • Is the vendor a reputable AAA member?
  • Check the Breed Standard on the AAA website for ideal traits and possible faults.
  • Obtain health records, Vaccination Status, breeding history and mating status for each animal. Make sure to see the Registration Certificate to verify the information. If you wish to have an animal vet checked before buying it, you bear the cost.
  • If buying a pregnant female, you may need Form A4 (Note of Authority for Non-owned Sire Service Certificate). This only applies if the female has been mated to a male belonging to another owner. The seller should supply the form. Ask for proof of pregnancy, ideally an ultrasound.
  • Know if castration obligations are applicable.
  • Visit farms and speak to experienced breeders and owners. They're a wealth of information about pitfalls to avoid and for tips on successful alpaca farming and breeding.

The How:

  • Agree on who pays the registration transfer fees, and on the Contract of Sale. Transfer should occur within 30 days of sale.
  • Research care requirements – there's plenty of information on our website, www.alpaca.asn.au
  • Join the AAA to have your animal automatically registered and for up-to-date information, education and events. The website is a great resource for questions and contacts.

These steps will have you established for an alpaca purchase that is best suited to your goals, and will make sure that the animals you purchase are in good health and ably suited to your purposes. As with any purchase, you want to know that you're buying good quality with no hidden and unpleasant extras.