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How Much Does It Cost to Keep Alpacas? (Updated October 2023)

Updated: Oct 23, 2023


Thinking of keeping alpacas but have no idea how much it will realistically cost? Check out our blog below to find out how much it costs to buy and keep alpacas.



How many alpacas should I buy?

Alpacas are social animals that thrive in groups of 3 or more – they should never be kept alone! Therefore, you should set aside an initial fund to purchase at least 3 alpacas and plan a budget for their ongoing care. Remember that you need to keep males and females separate - see our blog on 'How many alpacas should I have?' to find out why.



How much space do I need to keep alpacas?

As a guide, you will need 1 acre of ground for every 4 to 5 alpacas you own, but the exact number will vary depending upon your grass quality.



How much does it cost to buy an alpaca?

Alpacas typically cost between £400 - £5,000 in the UK, but price will depend upon a variety of factors such as whether you wish to buy field pets or breeding stock, their age, fleece quality, registration status and genetic bloodline. Here's a breakdown on some of the key factors that affect pricing in alpacas...


1. The type of alpacas you wish to keep

Pet prices are vastly different to breeding prices in the alpaca world. Expect to pay £300 - £850 each for pet male alpacas or between £1,500 - £3,000 each for stud male alpacas or between £1,500 - £5,000 each for breeding female alpacas.


2. Colouration

Popularity and current colour trends will impact the cost of your alpaca. At the moment, greys are most popular, and whites are least popular. So, a white pet male currently cost around £400, whereas a grey pet male costs around £850.


3. Breeding lines & conformation

Alpacas with good heritage lines and excellent conformation will generally be more expensive than those with less notable heritage lines.


4. Registration with the British Alpaca Society

Alpacas that are registered with the British Alpaca Society (BAS) tend to be more expensive than those which aren't, as registered breeders will have typically invested more money into their herd than unregistered keepers and are subject to fees for registering and transferring breeding alpacas within the BAS and the cost of microchipping the alpacas in order to register them.



Set up costs for 3 alpacas

To ensure you are fully prepared for the arrival of your new herd, you will need to consider where you will keep your alpacas, tools and equipment. Below is a suggested (but not exhaustive) list for a typical starter herd size of 3 alpacas:

  • £73.35 = 3 headcollars & 3 lead ropes (we recommend Homestead Farm Supplies)

  • £23.45 = bucket & holder

  • £14.07 = 3 feed tubs

  • £3.65 feed measure scoop

  • £100 = 2 hayracks

  • £25 = 2 plastic 50litre bins for feed storage (or £160 for galvanised feed store)

  • £49 = wheelbarrow

  • £18 = gorilla (lightweight plastic) shovel

  • £150 = veterinary visit & herd health plan

  • Subtotal: £456.52

  • £4,000 = brand new fencing for 1 acre (if needed)

  • £1,300 = shelter (if needed)

  • Subtotal: £5,756.52

  • + purchase of land (if needed)

  • + cost of buying the alpacas


Ongoing Annual Care Costs

After the initial purchase, there will be ongoing costs associated with their care. Below is a suggested (but not exhaustive) list for a typical starter herd size of 3 alpacas:

  • £150 = feed (based on feeding just Camelibra at the maintenance rations to 3 castrated male alpacas)

  • £80 = hay (based on X2 large round bales at £40 each)

  • £90 = straw (based on X3 large round bales at £30 each)

  • £400 = maintenance of fencing, shelters & paddocks and equipment costs

  • £150 = shearing (based on just 3 alpacas and the shearer coming to you)

  • £49.20 = clostridial vaccination and vitamin supplementation

  • £100.80 - routine FECs (x2 per alpaca, per year at £16.80 each)

  • £300 medication and veterinary care (this could be less or substantially more, so it is good practice to keep a reserve and insure your alpacas)


As a guide, alpacas cost around £1.20 each per day to keep in the UK, or £37.20 each per month or £438 each per year.


But, you have to bear in mind that alpacas must be kept in groups of at least 3... So a herd of 3 alpacas costs £3.60 per day, £111.60 per month or £1,314 a year to maintain.



Disclaimer: Fostings Alpacas are not a veterinarian body. Always consult your vet when creating a health plan for your herd and before administering medication. Prices given are guidelines only and may not accurately reflect the market at any given time.


 

Learn how to look after alpacas


This 95 page E-Guide is packed full of information for new and prospective alpaca keepers, covering Alpaca 101, Requirements, Diet & Pasture Management, Husbandry Tasks, Disease & Parasites and an Introduction to Breeding & Cria Care. Download upon purchase so you can dive straight in! For the full contents list and to get your copy, click the image below.



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