How can you make money with alpacas?

This question is probably asked by everyone who has ever considered buying alpacas and ending their current employment. As always, the answer is not easy, and as experts usually say when asked: "It depends ...". Of course, and here you cannot answer unequivocally, but only: It depends ... On what? From many factors ... animal quality, number of animals, direction of use. What's more, when making the overall balance sheet, it is worth paying attention not only to the profits that we can record thanks to alpacas, but also the costs that we have to incur in connection with their purchase and preparation of maintenance conditions. Then we can really reliably assess whether we can afford to start this "fun" and whether we will be able to make a living from it. This article aims to explain how alpacas can make money and what you need to be prepared for at the very beginning.

It should be additionally distinguished that the models of earning money from alpacas can be divided into two categories: 1) breeding and obtaining direct products from alpacas and 2) using alpacas. The first category includes: breeding (sale and covering), products made of alpaca wool, gadgets and souvenirs with an alpaca motif, while the second category includes: alpaca therapy (including meetings with alpacas, walks), alpaca tourism and photo sessions. Of course, one farm can make money on alpacas in several ways from both the first and second categories.

What are the beginnings?

Starting any business related to owning alpacas is associated with costs at the very beginning. In order for something to be profitable in the future, you must first invest in it. The amount of money needed depends on what we plan to do and on what scale. When establishing a breeding farm, it is worth investing in a good basic herd, because it is a guarantee of our future success. Initially, the number of individuals does not have to be many, a dozen or so should be enough. They can be, for example, pregnant females after mating with a good stud and 1-2 studs not related to the females. If we want the animals to be of really high quality, we should be prepared for a considerable expense, even tens of thousands of zlotys or more. This includes the costs of building or adapting buildings and their equipment, preparing pastures and the rest of the food base, as well as costs related to the transport of animals and any documents or permits related to their purchase and transport. Later, when it becomes profitable, the herd can be expanded.

The situation is slightly different in the case of using alpacas for alpacotherapy or agritourism. There, the quantity and quality of the animals is not essential. Alpaca is a herd animal, so buying one animal does not make sense, besides, most self-respecting breeders will not agree to such sale. At the beginning, you can consider 3-4 individuals, preferably of one sex, usually males that are already neutered or will be in the near future. The purchase of one alpaca animal of another species for companionship will not meet its behavioral needs (intra-species interactions). Such animals are much cheaper, you can buy them for a few thousand PLN per individual. However, animals that are too cheap should arouse vigilance and better determine what causes such a low price. In addition, the expenses related to the preparation of buildings or pastures will be lower with fewer animals. Before buying animals, it is also worth getting some knowledge about the specifics of the species and its maintenance. This can be done by studying the literature, but courses organized by experienced breeders can also be very useful. In the case of e.g. alpacotherapy, you should also obtain the necessary qualifications and prepare a workshop (teaching / class aids or a car for transporting animals).

Sometimes you can apply for a grant to start a business, so it is worth contacting, for example, the local agricultural advisory centers (eg Local Action Groups), which will help to see if there is such a chance for our business idea. There are no direct payments to alpacas in our country.

Breeding and obtaining products from alpacas

Here, the main profit-generating factor is the quantity of alpacas in the herd and their quality.

Sale of alpacas and mating

Breeding alpacas requires a lot of investment at the beginning, but allows for high profits. Especially if we keep the high quality of alpacas in our breeding. We wrote about the factors affecting the price of alpaca in a separate article. You can earn money by selling young animals, but also older animals. It depends on the needs of the new owners (they want to enlarge the existing herd or start new ones). High-quality alpaca for breeding can cost from several dozen to several hundred thousand. Young females can be mated at approximately 1.5 - 2 years of age (minimum body weight 40 kg). So the first young from them can be sold after less than 4 years (1.5-2 years of the female + 11.5 months of pregnancy + about 8-12 months of rearing). Of course, if our breeding is known abroad, you can have buyers not only in your own country, but also in other countries, not only European.

Having an excellent sire (i.e. a male not only compliant with the breed standard, but also well covering, with high heritability of the desired traits), it is possible to offer mating to females from other breedings. The male may start mating at the age of about 2.5 - 3 years. Usually, a female from another farm is brought to the male's breeding farm and stays there for some time (several weeks), in which she is regularly mated with a stud. The cost of such mating depends on the quality of the male and may range from several hundred to several thousand. The exact details of getting pregnant or not, or the conditions of the female's stay are agreed individually in an agreement between the owners of the animals. It is best to adjust the quality of the stud to the quality of the female, or the male to be of a higher quality, so that the price of the obtained offspring compensates for the costs of mating, pregnancy and rearing, all the more so as alpacas usually give birth to one young.

Alpaca wool products

The basic product obtained from alpacas is, of course, wool. The haircut takes place once a year. The top quality is the fleece taken from the back and sides of the animal - the so-called veil. A few kilograms of wool can be obtained from one alpaca, of which only a part is a veil (about 1/3 of the weight of the entire fleece). The more alpacas we have, of course, the profit from wool or its processing will be higher. A kilogram of raw (unprocessed in any way) alpaca wool costs several dozen. Contaminated wool (e.g. by fodder, other contaminants) or from animals with advanced scabies infestation may be of lower value, or if the market is saturated, no one will want to buy it. The downside in Poland is the fact that alpaca wool is not categorized in terms of its thickness (the thinner the fiber, the better quality - it does not "bite" on the skin), the price for all types is very similar, as a result of which the sale of good quality raw wool is not very profitable. With a large number of animals, it is worth processing the wool on your own and selling the finished product, which will be much more expensive than raw wool. Alpaca wool is used to make clothes, hats, gloves, scarves, quilts, pillows and even toys, which cost from several dozen to several hundred or even over a thousand zlotys. You can also sell skeins, which may be attractive to knitters. With the right amount of wool, the finished product, despite its processing costs, gives a higher profit than raw wool. In addition, it can be advertised as a local product, from animals that "graze next to it".

Gadgets and souvenirs with an alpaca theme

It is not a product obtained directly from alpacas, but when running a breeding farm or farm, sooner or later visitors will ask for souvenirs and gadgets or such an idea will come to mind. As for gadgets, they can be pens, notebooks or mugs, and souvenirs - toys, key rings or bags. Many companies offer to produce such gadgets with a farm logo for a small price. Obviously, your primary form of livelihood will never be it, but it could be an addition.

Use of alpacas

First of all, it is not their quantity or high quality that counts, but functional features, such as predisposition and preparation for work, the willingness to contact people.


Currently, this form of use of alpacas is very popular. You have to remember that not every alpaca is suitable for this type of work. She must have the appropriate predispositions and be trained to such work. They are usually castrated males. The 2 + 2 model is often adopted, i.e. two pairs of alpacas that work alternately on individual days or one pair. It also depends on the amount of work, i.e. the classes conducted and their intensity. The prices of classes with alpacas (therapeutic, educational or meetings) vary depending on the region of the country, the frequency of classes in a given facility or their advancement, the number of participants and the distance that must be traveled. Usually several dozen - several hundred $ for classes. Classes can also take place in the farm, if you have at least a few animals and facilities prepared for it. When conducting classes in alpacotherapy, one should have appropriate qualifications.

Meetings with alpacas can be organized almost anywhere where these animals are kept. They are about seeing animals, taking pictures, learning interesting facts about alpacas. It is important that the animals are willing to make such contacts, but you should also remember about their welfare and not force them to too many meetings. It also depends on the number of animals, in a large herd the work intensity per one alpaca will be lower than in a situation where you have only a few animals. There is usually a small fee to enter the farm and visit the alpacas.

A special type of meeting with alpacas are walks, which are organized for guests visiting the farm. They are currently in great demand, especially if you have attractive surroundings around the farm, where you can organize your exit in a safe and pleasant way. The walk should always take place with a guardian who cares about the safety of participants and animals. The prices for walks vary, usually several dozen dollars.

If alpacas are used in this way, it is important to remember about their welfare and do not overtake the animals. The vision of frequent trips to classes and walks may be tempting, in financial terms, but you have to remember about the good of alpacas, for whom it is an intensive work and they also need rest.


In this type of use, alpacas can be an addition that significantly increases the attractiveness of agritourism. In this case, the main profit comes from the accommodation offer, where guests can feel a bit of "rural life", while alpacas are an element that makes them choose a specific farm compared to others in the area. It is not necessary to have a large herd in agritourism. However, it is important that they are willing to contact guests (within reason for the benefit of the animals). For many people, the mere fact of being able to rest in the bosom of nature in the company of alpacas has a relaxing effect. Additionally, classes or workshops with or on alpacas (e.g. wool spinning) can be organized.

Photo sessions

It does not matter if you have a large herd or several animals, there may be people willing to take photo sessions. Alpacas are popular nowadays and many young couples are eager to arrange wedding outdoor sessions with alpacas, or the bride's team for a session during a bachelorette party. Also, non-wedding sessions can be popular. As a standard, a few or a few animals are selected for the session, they walk on the halter, but with a larger herd, even a session on the pasture can be interesting. It is worth determining the cost of the session based on its duration, or enter a price with a time limit. As in the previous usage examples, this is related to the welfare of working alpacas. For a wedding session, the cost is up to several hundred dollars.


There are quite a lot of opportunities to earn on alpacas. At the beginning, it is worth asking yourself whether you are planning to buy more animals and breed, or rather a smaller number and use of them. Both options can bring you income. It is also possible to have a farm and use some alpacas, e.g. for meetings or walks. Investing more money in the beginning, setting up a farm, gives you the possibility of considerable profits in the future, but it takes some time. When using alpacas, the initial contribution is slightly smaller, but the profits can be achieved faster, although they will not be that high. A good way (if possible) is to have several sources of animal income that will complement each other.

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