Most alpaca owners keep their alpacas on the land they own or rent, but not having land does not need to be a barrier to alpaca ownership. Some BAS members practise “agistment” as either a short term measure when they are establishing a herd or sometimes as a long term approach.
Agistment is where the owner pays someone else to look after their alpacas. The Agistor often has their own alpacas as well as those from one, or more, other owners.
If you are considering agistment as part of your alpaca journey then please talk to someone who is already doing it and draw up a proper written agreement between Agistor and Owner to ensure neither party gets any surprises! A draft agreement is available here and should be customised for your particular circumstances. The draft is just a guide to help you think about what should be considered.
Alpacas have adapted very well to life in Britain and are generally hardy, healthy animals that are relatively easy to keep. However, it is important to be aware of acceptable ways of keeping this class of animal, including basic knowledge of their nutrition, exercise needs, breeding regimes, normal and abnormal behaviours etc.
This can be a shared effort, ie, the people/team looking after the animals need to collectively have the knowledge and skills to fulfil the husbandry (or care) requirements. And the person(s) in charge need to know the limit of their knowledge and skills, and seek help and advice when necessary (eg, from their veterinarian).
By joining the British Alpaca Society, you enter the safety of a national network for all things alpaca. Via this website, Alpaca magazine, BAS regional groups and regular electronic updates from the Society, you will be kept up to date with all developments affecting alpacas in the UK. You do not have to own alpacas to become a member but if you do want to explore ownership, then you owe it to your animals to join the BAS and keep them within its protection.
No book or website can offer practical hands on experience, however, the majority of BAS members are only too pleased to share their expertise. BAS has trained number of affiliates who are trained to deliver training!! Look under education for current courses. Many members offer their own day courses, workshops and open days and your local BAS regional group will welcome you with open arms. All you have to do is ask…
DEFRA also periodically publishes general advice on its website, eg, how to safeguard against farm fires or dealing with seasonal issues, such as protecting animals in cold weather, animal transportation, etc.