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 1. Alpacas 101: Getting Started
 What nobody told me about the alpaca industry
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Doubletake Farm

258 Posts

Posted - 12/28/2009 :  1:55:11 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Nobody told me what a HUGE learning curve this is. Holy cow, you need to know about hay quality, fleece quality, conformation, how to find a good shearer, genetics, what meds you can and canít use, how to treat this and that, how to give shots, how to trim nails, who to call for advice, on and on..

And nobody told me how competent I would feel when I learn all this and am able to do it myself. The information is out there; if you canít find an answer, just ask. You can never have too much knowledge, and you can never do enough RESEARCH.

Nobody told me how expensive the vet bills become. I get charged $65 just for my vet to come out to my farm. A visit easily turns into a $300 bill.

And nobody told me how much I would come to like and respect my vet. I feel very blessed to have her in my area, and I trust her experience and advice. She knows me by my first name, always returns my calls right away, and schedules me in as soon as possible. She is worth every penny.

Nobody told me my Christmas list would change from jewelry into asking for a centrifuge, microscope, and ďanything alpaca.Ē

And nobody told me how excited I would be when I got that centrifuge!

Nobody told me about the disappointments (driving three hours one-way to purchase that female that I have my heart set on only to have the farm tell you ďwe just got a call from another farm and sheís sold, but maybe you would like this female instead.Ē Yeah, right, I donít think so. I just drove 3 freaking hours, you knew I was coming, you couldnít have told me someone else was interested in her? They just happened to call while Iím standing in your barn looking at her?)

And nobody told me about how wonderful other alpaca farmers are (dropping what they are doing, hitching up their trailer, driving out to rescue me and asking nothing in return because my van broke down at the gas station with an alpaca in the back!). I can guarantee that if I had a problem on my farm any of the local alpaca people would come help me at the drop of a hat. Thatís just how they are. And I would do the same.

But most of all: NOBODY told me when I began this adventure that I would find my calling. Iím XX years old, and Iíve never really known what I wanted to do with my life until now. THIS is it. I canít explain that feeling; it isnít something I can put into words: choosing the breedings, watching that cria being born, getting kisses from my favorite girl, going to shows and meeting other breeders, going to an auction and someone leads a prancing male by; I just get that stupid *ss grin on my face. Yes, itís a lot of work, time and money, but boy is it worth it!

Kimberly Brummitt
Doubletake Farm
Orwell, Ohio

Select Decisions. Superior Results.


219 Posts

Posted - 12/28/2009 :  2:19:31 PM  Show Profile  Visit johnson's Homepage  Reply with Quote


I'll add one for you.

Nobody told us we would start with 3 alpacas and end up with over 20 and also with a Mini Mill set up on the farm.

It's all good ! Find a job you love, you'll never work a day in your life

Craig Johnson
Worthington Acres Alpacas - Cottage Criation Fiber Mill
Unityville, Pa.
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491 Posts

Posted - 12/28/2009 :  4:15:34 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Nicole Carter
Upper Farm Alpacas
Pownal, ME
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384 Posts

Posted - 12/28/2009 :  4:44:40 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Well said both of you. Nobody told me that my heart could break over an aborted cria one min. and then mend that heart the next min when your previously sick old girl pronks like she's a youngin. Yeah life is good HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Lee Ann Hammer
Magnolia Hill Alpacas
West Point, VA.
757 870 0037
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425 Posts

Posted - 12/28/2009 :  5:17:36 PM  Show Profile  Visit nancyspacas's Homepage  Reply with Quote

You wrote the words right out of my heart! I could not have said it any better! This is truley the best job i have ever had! Or sould I say the best calling!

Have a happy and blessed new year!


Walnut Hill Farm, LLC
Metamora, MI
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144 Posts

Posted - 12/28/2009 :  6:30:48 PM  Show Profile  Visit CESpeed's Homepage  Reply with Quote
The 7th paragraph has happened to me and I'm really grateful to Pucara for not doing that and calling me to let me know someone else was interested in the animal I had my heart set on.

Chenyn Allen
Alpaca Springs (coming soon)
Hot Springs, AR
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Offbeat Acres

91 Posts

Posted - 12/28/2009 :  7:47:30 PM  Show Profile  Visit Offbeat Acres's Homepage  Reply with Quote
The forum needs a like button. Great post!

Erin Egan
Offbeat Acres Fruit & Fiber Farm
Cottage Grove, WI
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922 Posts

Posted - 12/28/2009 :  8:53:51 PM  Show Profile  Visit Paradise's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Awesome post, Kimberly. I was nodding and laughing with each and every thing you said. Although in my case, I bought my own microscope, but asked for and got a Pregtone for my birthday!

Thanks for putting into words why we go through the heartache and self-denial (I actually used to care about clothes.)

Laura Hillman
Paradise Alpacas
Hempstead, TX
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271 Posts

Posted - 12/28/2009 :  8:56:58 PM  Show Profile  Visit gracelandnorthalpacas's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Couldn't have said it better!

Pam Schaber
Graceland North Alpacas
Cushing, Wisconsin

Where The Love Of Nature Animals And Farming Meet
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769 Posts

Posted - 12/28/2009 :  9:51:27 PM  Show Profile  Visit kipaca's Homepage  Reply with Quote

Thank you...for reading my mind...This probably rings true for every one of us 'Alpaca people'!!



Laila V Roukounakis
Graceland Alpaca Farm
Lisbon Falls, Maine
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115 Posts

Posted - 12/29/2009 :  09:54:24 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
My Feelings EXACTLY. Here is another "no one told me". I posted a request for anyone having anything "alpaca" that I could purchase for a young gal that was having some medical problems. I NEVER, in a million years would have expected the outpouring of support from this forum. I received packages from all over the United States and NZ. As an update, the aunt and uncle of this young girl left town for the holiday, so I haven't been able to deliver them yet. I am going to ask that they take a picture of the girl with all her "presents Alpaca" and I will post it so all can see she got them. Again, thank you so much. There is REALLY something very special about alpaca people. Glad to be one of them!!

Kathie Mecham
Ace of Hearts Alpacas
West Haven, Utah
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220 Posts

Posted - 12/29/2009 :  1:28:33 PM  Show Profile  Visit mfount's Homepage  Reply with Quote
We can identify on so many levels with what you said! My mother in law (85 y/o) says "You always ask for the strangest things (on my alpaca wish list)". We look back, Mike used to live in a condo in a suburb of Chicago. Now he's caring for 29 alpacas! We wouldn't trade it for the world! Looking and caring for them reaches deep down inside your heart and centers us, brings us peace.
Happy New Year to All!
May it be one that is Blessed and Prosperous, may our Friendships grow to include those who have yet to learn about these wonderful creatures. May we impart our love, respect and knowledge of alpacas to them and comfort them thru the difficult times!

Mike and Jan Fountain
Fountain Mist Alpcas LLC
Marshfield, WI 54449
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1844 Posts

Posted - 12/29/2009 :  2:33:30 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
What a great post. The first thing we did when we got back into town was go out and check the alpacas and remember how fortunate we are to have these wonderful animals.

Robin Alpert
Alpacas 'R Diamonds
15163 W 323rd
Paola, KS 66071
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Heidi Christensen

4211 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2009 :  12:37:53 PM  Show Profile  Visit Heidi Christensen's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Nicole's post about the truck/trailer sliding into the fence reminded me of another - no one told me nearly every emergency is going to happen on a weekend or evening. Or even better, on a holiday.

Heidi Christensen
WingNut Farm
Graham, Wa
(253) 846-2168
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2830 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2009 :  2:02:59 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have never had a dog or alpaca emergency that was not either at a time when all vet clinics in the local area were closed, in the middle of the night, a week-end, or a holiday. I hate my local ER and would rather take an animal to Ohio State, especially since it is not much further than the local ER, and they have vets who know something and care about animals as well as the owner

Christiane Rudolf
Tanglewood Farm
19741 Victory Lane
Fayetteville, Ohio 45118
(513) 875-3739
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Heidi Christensen

4211 Posts

Posted - 01/01/2010 :  12:39:29 AM  Show Profile  Visit Heidi Christensen's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I hear you Christiane. When I took my cat with kidney failure in to the Emergency Clinic, they charged me $200 for lab work. My own lab work didn't cost that much, and I got a lipid panel in addition to the regular CBC and chem panel

Heidi Christensen
WingNut Farm
Graham, Wa
(253) 846-2168
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936 Posts

Posted - 01/01/2010 :  11:48:02 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Nobody told me just how relaxing raking up poo can be. Being out in the pasture after an awful day at work puts a lot of things into perspective (I'd rather shovel poo, than shovel poo, if you know what I mean ).

And nobody told me about how wonderful other alpaca farmers are

I'll second and third this. Whether it's folks here or other forums, or neighbors who let me borrow one of their studs for spit testing (thanks Heidi!), it's been an incredible journey helped by all the wonderful folks out there.

Happy New Year everyone.


Dani McKenzie
Longbottom Meadows
Roy, WA
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1401 Posts

Posted - 01/01/2010 :  12:55:44 PM  Show Profile  Visit llamapelli's Homepage  Reply with Quote
No one told me I would have to put aside mourning for a one of my girls because she had a new cria that we had to care for...and no one told me that I would so fall in love with this baby that I just couldn't wean her (or that it would take my going out of town for my husband to get her weaned).

No one told me that even if it is cold and raining, when the horse shelter collapses under the weight of heavy snow, you must get the animals rearranged so that everyone has enough shelter to keep them safe.

No one had to tell me that these are the most wonderful animals (along with llamas) in the world. They are the best tonic for a hard day. They are the ultimate anti-anxiety drug. They are the perfect cure for boredom.

Melanie McMurry MD
Anasazi Alpacas & Kokopelli Llamas
Gladesville, WV
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Doubletake Farm

258 Posts

Posted - 01/01/2010 :  8:51:03 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks everyone. Just came in from the barn (shoveling the right kind of poo ) and read some more responses. Like it's been said: Life is good!

Kimberly Brummitt
Doubletake Farm
Orwell, Ohio

Select Decisions. Superior Results.
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284 Posts

Posted - 01/01/2010 :  10:26:30 PM  Show Profile  Visit Dawn's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Great thread! Looking back at the last six years I am so thankful for the income and friends this business has brought me but I'm even more thankful for what this business taught me about myself.

Before alpacas I had no livestock experience yet I've learned to draw blood, give IVs, do ultrasounds, do fecals, deliver dystocias, tube crias, etc. I am always amazed at what these alpacas make me learn to do. I am constantly learning and I love every minute of it.

As I sit here watching my newest cria romping in the barn cam I can't help but be thankful I purchased alpacas. This adventure has been everything I hoped for and more!


Dawn Dolpp
Mada Vemi Alpacas
Axton, VA
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1291 Posts

Posted - 01/02/2010 :  08:25:04 AM  Show Profile  Visit highpeaksalpacas's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Three years ago, I never would have imagined wanting "a gift certificate from Tractor Supply" for Christmas!
I'll second everything everyone here has said...the alpacas have changed my entire life...not that it was bad's just "enhanced" now!
They are the calm in every "storm" in my life...and the source of many smiles and much laughter during each day... can't even think about not having them in my life!
Happy New Year everybody!

High Peaks Alpacas
Wilmington, NY

You only live with alpacas!
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3320 Posts

Posted - 01/12/2010 :  2:21:32 PM  Show Profile  Visit nyala's Homepage  Reply with Quote
What no one told me about alpacas is that they would have a wonderfully positive impact on my family especially my two daughters. We started in alpacas in 2002 and to make time to take care of our farm we gave up TV. My daughters were five and eight when we started. They immediately became enamored with performance showing and have been showing ever since. They also do alpaca 4-H and have gotten into fiber arts. They have helped with births and do all most all the halter training now. Working with alpacas has given them a strong sense of accomplishment and empowerment. They are both strong, independent, and creative. I think this is in a large part do to the farm and the alpacas.


D. Andrew Merriwether, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Anthropology and Biology, Binghamton University
Ann and Andy Merriwether
Nyala Farm Alpacas,Vestal, NY
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42 Posts

Posted - 01/22/2010 :  5:10:37 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
What a great post, no one is bickering back and forth. Can you feel the love?

I'm so glad that Noah didn't leave Alpaca's behind.

Terry & Sue Hart
SunRise Suris
Vinton, IA
319 784-7847
319 310-7705
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663 Posts

Posted - 01/22/2010 :  9:32:26 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Roxanne Goss
Lands End Alpacas LLC
Vermilion, Ohio 440-225-4138
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