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Getting Started

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First Steps

It is the rare person who doesn't at least consider investing in alpacas. Without a doubt their personalities and adorable faces draw you to them. But knowing for certain that you want to take the step to actually incorporate them into your life is another thing. Below Hasu Ranch has outlined a process that will help you to arrive at an answer. And if desired it will take you from alpaca-less to alpaca owner in 10 easy steps. And along the way, should you have any question contact us any time to talk. Or better yet schedule a visit to see what breeding alpacas is all about. In the meantime, browse this section to get a good head start on finding out how to add alpacas to you life.

10 steps towards alpaca ownership

1. do research

The best way to learn about anything is to gather as much information as you can. There are many resources online providing information about alpacas, the business and the lifestyle. One place to start is the AOBA web site. AOBA is the governing organization of the alpaca industry in the U.S. Here you will find information addressing the interests of the new breeder. AOBA also publishes "Alpacas Magazine" a periodical featuring articles for alpaca enthusiasts of all levels. You can subscribe online. Even better, consider joining AOBA. Members receive a subscription to Alpacas Magazine, a bi-monthly newsletter, a membership directory, access to the AOBA library, and many other support services. Additionally, visit individual breeder web sites, such as this one. Many include the story of how they got into the business as well as other alpaca related information. Our "Resources" section includes a list of additional reading you may also find helpful.

2. identify local breeders

It is always encouraging and helpful to find out about people near you who successfully took the step into the alpaca business. The AOBA web site features a "Farm & Ranch Locator" where you can identify breeders near you. Also, if you've joined AOBA, you can search for these people through the printed membership directory. 

3. visit farm

Seeing is believing. Or rather, seeing things up close and personal will immediately give you some answers to your questions-- how does a typical alpaca farm look and smell, what does a normal day of alpaca maintenance involve, what do you feed them, how much space do I need? So now that you have identified some breeders nearby, select farms to visit. Observe their practices, and animals. Ask as many questions as you can and get close to the animals. We'd love to show you around HaSu Ranch.Contact us today to schedule a visit.

4. attend events

One can also broaden their knowledge by attending Regional/Local AOBA affiliate Shows, Seminars and Individual Farm Events. The affiliate shows give you a look at another aspect of the business and provide a venue for you to meet additional breeders and see more animals. Many shows also host seminars available to the public to attend. Individual farms often host seminars and alpaca related events that not only serve to be educational but again, provide you an opportunity to mingle with more alpacas and the people who own them. Find out about HaSu Ranch's offering of seminars and farm events.

5. get "hands-on-time"

Nothing beats actually working with the animals. Hands-on-time allows you to actually discover whether alpacas are animals you'll enjoy being around. It's one thing to look at them from across a fence; another thing to put your hands on them. You can find out what alpaca husbandry entails, from trimming toe nails, scooping poop, fitting a halter to even giving shots. Volunteer for a day at a farm. Alpaca owners love to share their love of the animals. And who wouldn't like someone helping out for a day. You may also consider volunteering at a show or seminar. This can provide a behind-the-scenes look at the industry. We'd love to show you around HaSu Ranch. Contact us today to schedule a visit.

6. revisit farms

Now that you have spent a day or more volunteering, reading articles and books and attending seminars and shows, you've amassed a fair amount of information about alpacas. A good practice is to revisit farms you first visited. This allows you to reassess what you saw or heard. You will be better equipped to evaluate everything from the animals you first saw to the farm layout. Ask more questions and find out about the breeders after-sale support. In the end you will have a pretty clear idea of what the business is like, what type of animals you are interested in and who you might want to be doing business with. Learn about HaSu Ranch's services and after-sale support.

7. develop a business plan

If you have continued to this step, one can assume the business looks attractive to you. So now is the time to develop your business plan. Here you need to outline capital requirements, define your business objectives, timelines and mission statement. As in any new business venture it is good practice to consult with your accountant and lawyer at this step. Contact us any time if you would like to discuss your ideas and how we developed our business plan.

8. develop a marketing plan

Knowing what you will be selling is one thing, knowing who you will be selling to and how, is quite another. Too many breeders go into the business without a clear strategy for how they will market their animals. Develop a marketing plan that outlines a strategy for reaching your customers. Identify your target customer, develop a time line and schedules for your marketing efforts and establish a realistic budget. Learn more about how HaSu ranch can help you with your marketing.

9. identify/select animals

After educating yourself, developing a business plan and marketing plan, you'll have a good idea of the type alpacas needed to meet your goals. Are they suris or huacayas, or both? What color, age, sex and pedigree? What quality of alpacas will you begin with? Identify and define the general alpaca you want. Then contact the breeder of these animals and make your specific selections. HaSu Ranch offers both suri and huacaya alpacas from some of the most superior pedigrees available.

10. purchase your herd

Now that you have selected the animals you want for you initial purchase all that is left is to negotiate price and terms. Will you be paying over time? Will you be boarding your alpacas? Do bred females come with a free rebreeding? These are just some of the issues you will need to discuss with the seller. Once this is done the breeder will supply you with purchase contracts and it is good practice to have these reviewed by your lawyer, before signing. See what a typical HaSu purchase contract contains and learn what HaSu offers when you purchase your animals from them.
Good luck on your alpaca venture!


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