They are so cute and in all their splendor ! Their fluffy cheeks, their small sympathetic face, they play a lot, they attract people and they are also very soft...
We buying baby cats, baby dogs... when you get into breeding, why not buy a baby alpaca to start?
Is it only a technique to sell our "old" dams or herdsire as advise not to buy babies?...
No... buy a cria (baby alpaca), it's like playing the lottery for the animal quality and it's not effective financially to start a breeding, far from it! In the end, you will not have what you want and that is why I want to warn you.
So unless you have the taste of risk, avoid for these 3 reasons to buy an alpaca isn't reaching 2 years yet...
1. No one knows the quality of a cria at the end
"Buys quality"; This one you may have heard a thousand times.
We can of course rely a little on the animal family tree and its ancestors to get an idea of the quality, but it does not say everything. This is only a clue and it is possible to bet on the wrong horse!
The five-year rule
The general rule is that it is not possible to predict the quality of an alpaca at 100% until about 5 years old. Before, we only do it at a fraction.
Why five years? Because enough statistical material was accumulated at that time to assess its development (comformity and fibre) and to predict fairly well the development of the fleece in the future.
The 5-year-old alpaca can also already have 2-year-old offspring, which makes it possible to see its quality as a breeder.
The most interesting age to buy is in my opinion about 3-4 years old. The animal remains a young alpaca but it is already easier to assess its quality because it has passed the most critical course of its development.
A conscientious breeder has already acquired a lot of information about him at this age (histograms, skin biopsy, statistics, samples and it is perhaps already proven...).
The first fleece of the animal (cria) is, generally, its most beautiful to life side finesse. It gives a clue about the quality to come of the animal, but... despite a beautiful first fleece, major flaws can come to taint the quality of the following years. The reverse is also possible even if it is rarer!
The price assessment is difficult...
To evaluate an alpaca, a seasoned breeder knows more than a young buyer but it remains difficult to put a price on a young alpaca anyway. How will it evolve? Going to know; The breeder can't predict all even he can more easily detects the potential in alpacas.
Is it sold too cheaply or too expensive for its quality? Selling a cria or buying a cria is the same lottery; Sometimes you win, you lose.
The difference between the seller and the buyer is that the seller is going to made money even if it could have more.
The buyer will live with a risk on a daily basis and invest money/time on the animal for many years before seeing the fruit.
We talked more about the quality of the fiber, but... how will it grow, this animal?
It is understood that normally, if the parents have good conformity, there is a good chance that the cria coming from it will have a beautiful one too.
No one can predict what a genetic mix will give; As the growth is still not finish, there is always a risk of bad development.
It weighs less than the minimum to conform to 2 years and remains very small? His testicles don't grow right? It can never be register! Its value will REALLY not be the same as if it could have been... You may have lost a lot of money!
Fiber is one thing, but there are parameters in alpacas that you can only know when they are fully grown !
2. Finally paying more
You're looking for dams of herdsire and you thought buying babies is going to cost you less than buying adults?
Babies are not necessarily less expensive than adults. In theory, perhaps, it's true... in practice, never.
A baby alpaca cannot be breed for few years (2 years in females and 3 years in males) and it takes an extra year before the first cria born.
Not only do we have to give basic care in those years, but also giving them veterinary care when they are going to need it.
The risks of death are also there even if they are young. Will your alpaca survive until the birth of his first cria? If he dies before, you can lose your investment...
Having a pregnant female instead of a cria allows to have a descendant of the same genetics shortly thereafter, sparing a little of your investment in case of death. And as a bonus, an adult who has already been reproduced is proven, which is not the case with a cria.
Because yes, the cria, once an adult, might have trouble to breed... wait all these years to have a baby from your cria and realize that this animal is sterile; It's frustrating! Very frustrating! And even if there is compensation from the seller (if it is still in business) remains that it does not reimburse the years of waiting lost, nor the money invested during this time on this animal...
3.It will change...et sometimes not as you wish!
You know it, obviously... your little cria will grow tall and fast enough.
The cheeks get bald with time, it will become bigger and perhaps less cute. If he wanted to play, he will soon want to spend more time eating and ruminating.
You wanted to buy it baby because you want he listen you and you have special projects for him. But you may not have heard about Berseck's syndrome and aberrant behaviors.
What does that mean? That your little ball of love could become your worst terror and attack you once grown. This aggressive camelid syndrome (also seen in llamas) makes the alpaca dangerous to rub shoulders with.
No, of course, it's not all alpacas who develop it, fortunately, but it stays in the realm of possible. I don't want to scare but want to talk about this risk. These are the risks of too much human impregnation.
To distort a cria who does not yet know quite the code of conduct of his species is to take the risk that he no longer acts totally like an alpaca. He can have behavioral problems even if it does not go to the Berseck syndrome. It can only be annoying...or extreme, creating a real problem.
For example, this little male who like to push you with is head baby... will literally be able to push you rudely on the ground when he weighs near 150-200 lbs... He can take the men for his species and try to communicate in the way he knows when he is frustrated by one of your behaviors... spitting...
An alpaca that knows the rules of its species will be much less disturbing than an improvising alpaca.
An alpaca that fears nothing (but has no more defense than another alpaca) does not flee immediately when it's in danger. He's not going to be suspicious as much as he should; This can cause its loss.. You're going to be his "survival system" on a daily basis... but you can't always watch him.
We must not forget to pay attention to the influence we have on the animals we live with!
Caution;it is possible to train an alpaca and do a lot of things with it, but it is better to do it when it has learned to be an alpaca beforehand to avoid this kind of problems.
Do we sell alpaca babies? No. And we do it out of conviction because we believe that it is not advantageous for anyone, even if we lose buyers by doing so.
It happens that crias are sold with their mother when it is sold before the end of breastfeeding. A bit like a "bonus". The buyer buys mainly the mother, thus an alpaca, which has already proven in part or in whole its value.
But for younger of one year, if they are put on sale, they are at the price of an adult. We do not encourage the purchase of a one-year-old animal, but as people often shop their alpacas for several years, we want to let them know that these alpacas are also for sale and will be in the future. Potential buyers can better monitor what they become as they grow. The price can change depending on the quality they develop over time; So always a fairer value for all.
Do you still wish to have an alpaca baby on your land quickly? Buy a pregnant female in the spring and you will have very quickly this baby so desired...