Even if you don’t have your own property, you can still own alpacas.

Agistment is a stepping stone for new owners, in which you house your alpacas on another person’s land. It can allow you to take unexpected investment opportunities while not yet prepared to support alpacas on your own land. It is also an option for those who don’t plan to own property, but wish to invest in alpacas for fleece and breeding purposes. The agreement between the agistor and agistee protects the owner’s investment, making sure their alpacas are properly cared for.

An agistor agrees to provide grazing land and water supply at all times for their fostered alpacas, and other feed as needed. They guarantee proper care for the agistee’s alpacas, keeping them safely fenced and healthy. This includes drenching and vaccinations, as well as compiling data for the owner. They agree to keep the owners immediately up-to-date about illness, injury, theft or death, and to organise veterinary attention if necessary when the owners cannot be contacted.

The agistors also agree to bar other animals from their property that may negatively affect the health or well-being of the alpacas. The agistors are not held responsible for circumstances including death, theft or illness of the alpacas that were beyond their control, and not due to negligence.

The owners are entitled to visit their alpacas by appointment with the agistor. The agistee accepts the risk of the loss of their animals, or insures the animals against theft and death from any cause. The agistee pays the agistor an agreed fee to cover their alpacas and any weanlings, as well as the cria throughout their adolescence.

Additional costs can arise if extra hand feeing is required, or if bought food prices increase. The new costs must be mutually negotiated. These agreements are in place to protect both parties, and if you’re considering making the move to agistment, you should consider only experienced, reputable alpaca farmers who are members of the AAA. This is important for protecting your investment and for avoiding unpleasant future scenarios.

Alpacas are low-maintenance animals, providing flexible investment and farming options. Even if you don’t have the spare space on your property, or don’t own farming land, you can still invest in your own alpacas. You can breed your alpacas while agisting them, removing the necessity of land ownership and maintenance by sharing the resources of other farmers. If owning property is a dream you’re soon to realise, you can use agistment to develop an alpaca herd before you move onto your own property, so that you are able to make full use of your land as soon as you occupy it.

Agistment also supports those who wish to show their alpacas in competitions, but do not have the resources to house them. By agisting show alpacas, the animals have company as part of a natural herd life, which is the best way of living for these highly social animals.