The Cost of Owning Alpacas: 2021 Update

Whew- a lot has changed since the original Cost Of Owning Alpacas blog was published. And Since it is one of my most popular blogs- I feel it’s a good time to update those costs.

Why? Well, a lot of (agricultural related at least), prices have raised. Sometimes just a little, but other times significantly. And, to me, a blog that’s getting 300+ hits a month needs to be assessed occasionally for rightness.

So, as before, this is not a blog about how to profit from alpacas- I have yet to figure that out and I’m 4+ years in. So far they pay for their care. And I don’t take a paycheck. Make of that what you will but I have had to Completely move from live shows and fairs to Etsy due to COVID and other life changes.

This is a blog about how much it costs to acquire a herd and also an annual break down of costs to care. This is assuming you are doing the daily work yourself for the fun of it, because yes, most of the time it’s a lot of fun to be around them.

To be completely transparent- I have not tried adding more alpacas to my herd since the original blog. After some quick research, it appears that the original blog is holding up well in this respect. So for an extended explanation go there but basically, it’s as much or as little as you want depending on your expectation and budget. We got our whole herd for free- but they came with their own set of problems. One with a hernia, one with failure to thrive, others with eye damage & scaring & a bunch with varying degrees of bacterial infections & skin mite damage. It’s been a long road to healing their various ills and it’s not over yet.

As for shelter- cost of building materials have doubled to tripled in a lot of places since 2018. Some materials aren’t even available. So my original numbers are not holding up- especially if you have to hire someone to do the work for you. I had a shelter and fencing coming in around $1500 for self built and upwards of $6000 for buying. In our area, double those prices.

Food – food costs have gone up as well. Our alpaca pellet is now $17 a bag and hay has gone up as well. We got a good deal ($3.50/bale) because we picked it up in the field. We’ve seen as much as $8 a bale in winter.

Medicine costs have risen for a lot of reasons. People getting into farming, people using ivermectin for human use (don’t get me started), people stockpiling meds for whatever reason. The cost of injectable meds that we use (vitamin a&d & ivermectin specifically) have almost doubled in just the last two years. And that’s when they’re available. I just bought a 6 month supply of injectable ivermectin and needles with syringes and it cost $70. Stuff like vetericyn washes have not really increased.

Supplies have also gone up in some areas, but not others. Heated water buckets doubled from $25 to $50. Buckets and scoops haven’t really changed.

Education wise- there are no changes price wise. You can still get a ton of great info for free online or buy the books for $20-$50 a pop.

Shearing also hasn’t really changed- expect $40-$60 an animal for a full shear, teeth check, nail trim.

Fiber processing also has not gone up really but we’ve only had it done twice.

That’s about the gist of it- please feel free to leave any questions or comments for further discussion!

Until next time, have a wicked good day.

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