John & Susan Merrell
41390 Hwy 226
Scio, OR 97374
503-551-7219 (cell)
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A Checklist for Prospective Alpaca Owners

Alpacas can play a multitude of roles in the agricultural lifestyle. Unfortunately, there are people that fall in love with these magical creatures and quickly make their first purchass without the due diligence that they might use with other pursuits. At Gateway Alpaca Farm we encourage prospective owners to be clear in their purpose for alpaca ownership and their short and long range goals.

First, identify your reasons for wanting to own alpacas?

Are you considering alpaca ownership to:

  • Have pet alpacas to graze the grass and look nice without being too much trouble to care for?
  • Produce alpaca fleece for fiber arts - but without the intricacies of being in the breeding field?
  • Put together a small alpaca operation with the goal of simply enjoying the alpacas and being involved with breeding, but without the expectations of being in the show ring or at the leading edge of an expanding industry? Perhaps to be a part of a lifestyle change not dependent upon alpaca income?
  • A long term approach as part of diversification of a commercial farming operation?
  • A commercial approach to alpaca breeding with the fiber and value added processing as the end goal?
  • Becoming a serious alpaca breeding operation with the intent of being an industry leader?
  • The ownership of alpaca herdsires with genetic development of your farm and income from outside stud services?
  • Investment over the medium to longer term, without the intention of ever engaging in hands-on alpaca farming?

Once you have clarified your goals and directions, both short and long term, you can then answer the question. "What alpaca(s) do I buy and how much should I spend?"

It is important to keep your goals and direction in mind.

It has been said, "If you don't know where you are going, you just might end up anywhere." Alpacas can be found at every price point and for every purpose. If one begins their journey with alpacas without clarity of purpose it can lead to serious, and expensive, realignments in the future.

Alpaca Sales

"Mr. Lincoln entered, carrying an old carpet-bag in his hand, and wearing a weather-beaten silk hat - too large, apparently, for his head - a long, loosely-fitting frock-coat of black alpaca, and vest and trousers of the same material..."

- Francis Browne
The Every-day Life of Abraham Lincoln - Recollections By Those Who Knew Him
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