John & Susan Merrell
41390 Hwy 226
Scio, OR 97374
503-551-7219 (cell)
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Alpaca Stud Services

Alpaca stud services can provide exceptional outside income in the present breeder's market. But, the visionary alpaca breeder will see a time when top quality stock exhibiting superior production qualities will provide services to production farms across the country, just as in other livestock industries.

In virtually every mainstream livestock industry there are owners of prize animals that provide genetics across the breed. The alpaca industry will follow the same path. Commercial alpaca farms will seek out proven genetics to improve their herd's production qualities, or to create hybrid vigor, much as beef ranches or dairy farms do.

The alpaca breeder wishing to establish a stud farm will need to be knowledgeable in livestock breeding techniques and production qualities. They will need to demonstrate prescience about the direction the alpaca industry is headed in order to be able to breed and fix desirable qualities in their sires.

The reputation of a stud farm will be based on the production qualities of the offspring produced. In the show ring, this will mean consistent wins in the Get of Sire and Produce of Dam classes.

The Alpaca Registry, Inc (ARI) currently will not register alpacas produced by artificial insemination (AI), embryo transplant (ET) or cloning. For the commercial alpaca operation these prohibitions may not apply, since it is unlikely that they will be running large herds of registered alpacas. (The cost of registration would count against the bottom line in a production herd.) AI and ET have not been proven to be economically feasible in alpacas, but work continues in this area. The Australians have had some success in using AI, and are using the technique on a limited basis right now. If perfected, it is likely that we will see markets emerge similar to that in other livestock industries.

The stud farm will be able to produce income from breeding fees as well as the sale of animals. The stud farmer will need to cull their herd mercilessly to insure continual improvement, and it is likely that they will employ some level of line or in-breeding to set traits. These breeding practices entail their own set of unique risks. (For instance, see these articles about horse breeding.)

High end studs are often owned by partnerships or conglomerates as a way of spreading the risk associated with this approach.  We are already seeing this in the alpaca industry, with several well known herd sires owned in partnerships of two or more farms.  This phenomenon will probably become more common as the industry becomes more mature. 

An alpaca stud farm will be a high risk venture, but with the potential for high returns. Certainly not a course for the faint of heart.

Alpaca Sales

"...but there was an air of attempted fashion in the puffings and trimmings of her alpaca skirt; and there was evidence of a struggle with poverty in the tight-fitting lavender gloves..."

- Mary Elizabeth Braddon
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