BUYING ALPACAS: HOW TO AVOID SCAM FARMS
Buying alpacas is a big investment of money. Don't be one of the innocent newbies who get that horrible sinking feeling when they find out that the farm they purchased from scammed them.
Most alpaca farms have very high ethics, but unfortunately, there are a few crooks in the business out to take your hard earned money and run. You are left with no help and an alpaca that probably isn't worth the money you paid. Don't be naive and fall prey to an unethical farm.
With all the good farms out there, chances are you won't encounter a farm with questionable ethics. We had such a good beginning experience that we want that for all people starting out alpaca farming. If people are wiser consumers and the money source dries up, then less than honest farms will go out of business. This is a good thing for the alpaca industry and beginning alpaca farmers.
If this article helps even one person avoid buying alpacas from a dishonest farm, then it was worth writing. We have a list of some things to watch out for as a new buyer in the alpaca industry:
- If you are new to buying alpacas, never buy from a farm that is selling its' alpacas in full fleece. Wait until the farm has sheared so you can see the condition of the alpaca. This is
not to say that any farm selling an alpaca in full fleece is a bad farm, but it's a bad idea if you are new to alpacas because it makes it hard for you to assess the animals condition.
- Never be in a hurry to buy. An alpaca farm that is pressuring you to buy quickly should make you step away and rethink whether you really want to purchase from that farm. We recommend that you visit several farms and that you attend shows, seminars, and classes that provide hands on education before buying alpacas for the first time. There are lots of alpacas for sale. You'll find another at a better farm that won't pressure you to buy but are there for you when you are
- Does the alpaca farm regularly attend shows and win ribbons? For a beginner in the industry, it's important to start off with quality animals for a breeding program. Whether the farm is
large or small, the best way to prove the quality of their alpacas is by competing in shows.
- Look at the condition of the farm. Is it clean or dirty? In good repair or dilapidated? Are the animals nails untrimmed? Do they have patches of hair missing? Are the alpacas eyes dull?
These are indications that the farm does not take proper care of its animals.
- Is the farm hesitant to offer after sales services? Reluctant to give you references? Do they claim to be quality breeders and, yet, don't attend shows?
- Does the farm offer cheap alpacas that have no papers? In general, you won't find many quality alpacas for under $10,000. In the poorer economy, you may find some good deals, but just
be careful. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Know what the general price range for your area is by visiting several farms. You'll get a good idea of what the going price should be for a quality alpaca. Consider buying an older quality female that has had a couple of cria. You will get a better price and a proven breeder. No matter what, be sure the alpaca is registered.
- Is the farm owner able to easily handle the alpacas? Do they seem terrified? Alpacas should be curious, but stand-offish. They will run up to check you out but keep out of reach. Do the
owners have trouble catching and haltering the animals? As a new breeder you want to stay away from problem animals. Make sure the animal you buy can be caught easily and haltered without
- Read the contract thoroughly. Take it home overnight to read it. A farm should have no problem with you wanting to read the contract thoroughly so that you feel comfortable signing it.
It should be equally fair to the buyer and seller. Make sure that you get guarantees for live births if this is the dams first cria.
- Ask to see records kept on the alpaca you are thinking about purchasing. If the farm is hesitant to show you records, that's not a good thing. Either they haven't kept records or what's
in the records isn't good. Reputable alpaca farms keep records on all their animals. You want to know the animals health, histograms, worming, fiber, show, and breeding history.
Alpacas are cute and you may be tempted to purchase the first one you see. You have to treat buying alpacas as a business from day one of your alpaca adventure. Trust your instincts. This
list is not all inclusive of bad farm behaviors and tricks. If something doesn't feel right, back off and go think about it. There are lots of breeders claiming their alpacas are the best. In a lot of cases that's true, but in some cases not.
As a new alpaca buyer, if a farm does not offer after sales services...run very fast to another farm and start looking and asking questions all over again. You need guidance to begin your
alpaca farm and be successful. Get the after sales services clearly written out so that there's no misunderstandings between you and the farm on after sales expectations.
When buying alpacas for the first time, don't get taken. There are many respectable farms to buy from. Who you buy your alpacas from is very important to the success of your alpaca business
venture. The majority of alpaca farmers are good people. Just be aware there are a few bad apples out there. If you educate yourself and don't rush into buying, you will be able to spot a bad deal and not make the mistake of purchasing from an unethical farm which will put a financial and emotional crimp in your alpaca adventure. Being an informed consumer rests on your shoulders. We hope the tips above will help you as you enter the world of alpacas.
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