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There are advantages and disadvantages to owning your own alpaca or llama herdsire, or to pay a stud fee for breeding to an outside herdsire.

Outside Breeding

Many people just starting out elect to NOT purchase a herdsire because their females come with a free breed-back. This saves money that can be invested in ranch facilities, the purchase or more females, and other aspects of the business.

Some people who own herdsires may also elect to use an outside herdsire because their males are too closely related to their females, and they need to bring in new genes. If you are just starting an alpaca ranch and have just a few female alpacas and one male, then in a few short years all the female babies will need to go outside your ranch for breeding. In addition, if there are particular genetic characteristics that you want instill in your herd, then it may be necessary to breed a female to an outside male.

If you send a female to another farm for breeding, you'll want to get a signed contract explicitly stating all the farm guarantees. No doubt, you'll need to get a vet's certificate of health. It's also to good idea to identify her with either a microchip or Pet ID tag.

Remember, however, that when you breed to an outside male, you may also bring home recessive genetic characteristics that are not evident the male's phenotype.

Buying Your Own Herdsires

From my perspective, the advantages of owning a herdsire far outweigh the disadvantages. For starters, it’s impossible to do monthly spit tests without a male. More importantly, your female and the cria by her side can stay comfortably in their own pasture under your own management and not be subjected to the stress of transport and exposure to contagious diseases.

If you have your own herdsire, you can use him to "spit test" your females to see if they are pregnant. I regularly spit test my females once a month to see that they have retained their pregnancy. Once a female is visibly pregnant, there is no need to spit test her.

In addition, high-quality males can be an added source of revenue from people paying you stud services. The show-winning crias that your males produce are also excellent advertising for your breeding program.

This page was last updated on June 9, 2009.

Able Oaks Ranch 6167 FM1857 S. Rusk TX 75785 | 903-530-1009