How we got started…
We chose to purchase alpacas with the goal of selling quality offspring as a small family business that we could enjoy while working full time and still have time to enjoy other activities with our two young boys, Jody says.
The family set out in search of such an animal during the summer of 1997, county fair season. Through these fairs, the Hezouckys learned about alpacas and decided they needed to know still more about the animal. Trips to local breeders, the Internet and AOBA provided them with as much alpaca information as they needed.
Like most people first exposed to the idea of raising alpacas, sticker shock soon set in. With a new house payment, car payments and two kids in day care, many people would have given up on the idea of investing in anything, let alone an alpaca farm. But Frank and Jody did not give up. Because of the tax advantages owning alpacas offers it was simple for them to take out a second mortgage interest only loan on their house to invest in two bred female alpacas.
Getting started as alpaca breeders was easier then we ever imagined. With the type of loan that we obtained, it was just like buying a new car, except we could depreciate the alpacas and deduct the interest we pay on the loan along with all the other expenses associated with the farm at tax time each year, Jody explains. After only 18 months, the Hezouckys had sold one offspring of one of the two original females and still retained three for breeding. The family needed to sell only one more offspring to recoup their initial investment.
According to Jody, improving the quality in the offspring of the investment happens one generation at a time. Part of the fun of raising alpacas is the breeding choices we make that will improve the next generation’s cria. The stock market is so unpredictable and as investors we have little control over the final outcome. We love having our investment right outside our windows where we can watch and see it grow, she says.
In the fall of 1999, CPeruvian LB Remington, at nine months old, was added to their herd as the future herd sire. At the 2000 AOBA National Conference and Show, Remington was awarded Grand Champion for Age and Color. The Hezouckys realized Peruvian Remington was growing into an outstanding herd sire and turned out to be just what the family was looking for in its goal of breeding top quality alpacas. This was the first big alpaca show the Hezouckys attended as a family.
After attending the AOBA National conference in 2000, Frank and Jody really began to realize that they were in the right direction in their breeding program and that you did not have a lot of land or big herd of alpacas to be successful.
We enjoy attending the area alpaca shows and events. Not only is a fun family activity, but it also economical way for us to network with other alpaca breeders and showcase our offspring to potential investors, Jody says.
After the long winter, the Hezouckys were looking forward to the spring show season. They only owned eight alpacas-four breeding females and four males, including one pet quality companion male. They chose to take three males to the shows: Remington their future herd sire, LB Peruvian Castano Bay and LB Copper Moon their only 2 cria born on their farm in 2000.
At the MAPACA show in Harrisburg, PA, probably the largest show in 2001 with over 800 entries, their boys made them very proud. All three of the males that the Hezouckys entered in show were brown males. Castano and Copper competed against each other in the medium brown juvenile class. Castano, only six months old at the time, won the class and Copper received sixth place. Remington then took first place in the adult male brown class. But they were not done yet.
All the first place winners from all the brown male classes were brought back into the ring for the Grand and Reserve placing. When the judge had made the final placing, it was CPeruvian LB Remington chosen as the Brown Male Color Champion and LB Peruvian Castano Bay as the Reserve Brown Male Color Champion.
Impressive as these honors are, they are even more astounding when you consider that the Hezouckys went to shows when they owned eight alpacas in total and were competing against farms that had several hundred of alpacas to choose from.
And these awards weren’t just a fluke. Only three weeks later, the three animals repeated the same placing at the PAOBA show in Butler, PA. The Hezoucky’s animals also did well at several other shows this spring. Castano took second place out of 17 entries at the All American Alpaca Futurity in Oklahoma City, and Remington won Res. Light Color Champion at the Western Triple Crown and first place in his class at the AOBA National Conference in Portland, OR.
The Hezouckys agree that competing in such shows and events has been a beneficial learning experience for their farm. As a small part time breeder, you don’t always have the resources to advertise in every publication. Participating at the shows and events, learning what other breeders have to offer while promoting our own farm has been very beneficial for us, says Jody. It’s exciting to know that you are a part of a growing industry that has so much potential and there are so many working together to help it grow.
When visitors come to our farm looking for a particular type of an alpaca that because we do not have many to choose from may not have, we can refer them to another breeder in the area that may. It is very comforting to know that these farms also recommend others to us.
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