Your Stud Decision

This is your business, and apart from your initial female purchase decision, the stud fee/male purchase is about the most critical long term success decision you will make.  Make sure it is a fully informed decision that best meets your breeding plan, not one driven by hype, trend, show results or stud marketing. Check through in your own mind what you are hearing to ensure that it makes sense, and is supported by the facts.

Remember the alpaca industry is maturing and changing quickly. For the last decade we have relied on “venerable ancestors” to breed to our females. If we are truly progressing we need to be using the (best) offspring of these forefathers. In a successful breeding programme, the son will supplant his sire in 3 – 4 years.


Whether to buy a stud or contract in stud services is a decision all breeders get to eventually as their female numbers mount and consequently stud fees add up.

The move from stud services to stud ownership should be phased in, with three steps, as the herd grows.

  1. Buying in stud services
  2. Buying in stud services, negotiating for discounted fees or free matings as part of a package purchase
  3. Purchasing a stud, or a share in a stud.

Less expensive than buying, is breeding your own. To do this you have to own a very high quality female, buy in top stud services for her, and hope for the birth of a male at the top end of the potential genetic spectrum of both parents. Genetic statistics indicate that occurrence of such an event is rare.

There are pro’s and con’s to the buy/contract decision:


You save stud fees, but it is expensive to get a good proven quality stud

Tendency to go for cheaper unproven males, giving fertility, pre-potency and progeny risk, and management problems in the bring-in phase

Physical management of a stud on the farm can be a hassle, especially if the male is not getting constant work

Getting a young male “settling” his first female (getting her pregnant) can at times be difficult

Need to get into “a whole new business line” offering stud services to offset the cost of the purchase (requiring capital costs of stud transport, time, and stud master knowledge)

Still need outside stud fees for your stud’s offspring and for your best female(s) to improve your herd

Re-sale values of stud males tend to plummet with age

In all but the exceptional circumstance the reward of owning your own stud is not great. In USA I asked the owner of the male winning its colour age class in AOBA, and the Reserve Colour Champion, how many outside matings (at US$3,000) he, as a small breeder, had achieved. The answer was 4 this year, 3 last year.


  • Proven stud arrives for a fortnightly visit – or your girl goes to him
  • Stud management, bring-on risk and additional business hassle left to the professional
  • There is an ability to switch stud should the progeny from the combination of genetics not be what you expected
  • Using different stud males ensures wide genetics and avoids line breeding within your herd
  • Regular payments are required for stud service fees – although overall “value” should be given through the offspring and return service guarantees

I know one breeder who “finances” the year’s stud fees through the sale of one female, but the fees of course produce several females each year to replace her.

We are finding that purchasing “part” of a higher quality stud male gives smaller breeders the ability to achieve a higher genetic level, for a lower price long term, and with more flexibility, than the full own stud ownership option.