Tips from Successful Alpaca Breeders #3


Tip # 3 – Proven Herdsires Give You A Leg Up

Experienced breeders will most likely read the title of this article and instantly assume that proven is the better option here. I will lay-out the pros and cons of both arguments here, and come to the conclusion that proven males are in fact, the way to go for new prospective buyers.

Young and Sexy…

So a breeder friend calls you up and begins to boast about their new jr. herdsire / show prospect. With curiosity knocking on the door, you set-up for a time to visit. The upcoming weekend you drive down and your friend halters up the much heralded male. At six months old his fleece is a spinners dream and coverage that will demand the presence of any onlooker. All of a sudden a dazzling slideshow of the future flashes in your brain- images of breeders applauding you winning a Championship at AOBA Nationals, and going on to sell his offspring for six figures… And, he’s only $15,000 with all this potential! SOLD.

Three months later you are at the first show of the spring season, and your highly touted new jr. herdsire doesn’t look as impressive anymore next to the “Big Guns”. Nonetheless, you gladly took 2nd Place. By summer you and your future star have won two blue ribbons and a couple 2nd or 3rds- a successful season by many standards. The next year his fleece doesn’t come back quite as fine, and you decide this boy’s show career is over.

This is a common situation among all breeders. The idea of being in early on a future Champion producing stud is very persuading. Sometimes you pick em’, but more often you won’t, and the worst is still possible- buying an infertile male without a reproduction guarantee in his contract.

Pros Cons

- Purchase before animal’s peak value - Might lose value if not shown well

- Name recognition in marketing and shows – Could be infertile or produce poor quality

- Lag time until able to breed

They know the drill…

So you recently received an auction catalogue for the upcoming sale next month. One male in particular catches your eye who appears to be big and robust in his photo, is backed by quality genetics, and recently became proven with cria on the ground. At the sale you find the male and take a look at his fleece bag– fine and crimpy at almost four years old?! No show record though…You decide he’s the one though, and end up buying him for $15,000- completely under the radar.

From here the “bargain” could fulfill itself and the herdsire produce quality offspring and sell some breedings. The chances of this happening are more in your favor, the better the genetics are backing your male. Or, your $15k investment might not return due to poor production quality.

Pros Cons

- Ready to breed immediately - More difficult to find these “diamonds in the rough” at later ages

- Could be “under the radar” if never shown – Could be more difficult to promote

Nonetheless, the odds for long-term success are much more in your favor with example #2 Proven vs. #1 Unproven. Certainly going the latter route can be more frustrating as it can take longer finding the quality you want. However, for newer breeders especially, purchasing an already proven male offers you better production security, a “brand” to build, and well frankly, a herdsire who already knows what to do when he sees a maiden…

To go about either of these processes I suggest consulting an experienced breeder(s). If unbiased, they should send you in the right direction and even provide a list of promising bloodlines to invest in.

This tip contributed by Cooper Smith, Editor at the Alpaca Guy blog.

Tips From Successful Breeders Series:

Tip 1:Don’t Forget the Old Girls

Tip 2: Define Your Success

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