We are happy to introduce ourselves to you and this wonderful new lifestyle. We are Big John (as he’s called) and Leslie Watson-Leake of Alpacanaca Farms in Moyock, North Carolina. We are in the process of building our new farm house as we are relocating from Virginia to North Carolina. Please check back as we will update with pictures of, hopefully, our progress. The sooner the better, we are grateful to those who are keeping our animals for us until we are ready to take care of them ourselves.
We are thrilled to be involved in this young industry, and anxious to get started. Being business owners already (currently owning the best garage door opener website on the PLANET), we are not newcomers to taking risks and working many hours. The interior design business has been good to us, but after 18 years we were restless for change and diversity. The timing was perfect, our kids are getting ready for college and the developers couldn’t keep away from the 7 acres behind us any longer. I, Leslie, discovered an alpaca farm written up in the local paper and WHAM!! It was a lightening bolt. My husband and children said ” you wanna do WHAT”?? After many months of research on the kids phone line, and many heads shaking in disbelief, (Moms really gone crazy this time!) I made our first purchase from Amblers Alpacas. Jim Perry took a whole afternoon to walk me around his farm and educate me as an unexpected visitor. Since then, I have met even more individuals who are just as passionate as Jim, which infected us even more to carry on with this crazy idea. After all, I am still in the textile industry! When my husband was told we now own our 1st alpaca, he was dumbfounded! After the 1st shock, he is now talking herdsires, micron counts and IGG’s with the best of them! We now own 11 huacayas and are expecting 3 more cria. We are keeping them on the farms we purchased them from until we are ready. We are caught up in the building phase now, and what to do about fencing etc……..
I WOULD say that we are trying to breed the best conformation, the finest fleece and to the best bloodlines, but EVERYONE says that. So here is what its really about. We want to make sure we breed quality for quality, enjoy the heck out of the process and meet all kinds of people all across the globe along the way! WE are gonna’ have fun!!!
New Owners – what we have learned so far:
Web Driven Industry – Get computer educated, use it!! Look at websites, alpacas for sale, pricing, bloodlines etc. You’d be amazed how much you can learn from the forums online. See what NOT to do as well.
Farms – Visit farms whenever possible. Try to schedule visits, most won’t mind if you just show up, but make sure they will be there to show you around and can give you the time. Ask questions! Get your hands on the animals. Get a feel for what you are looking for.
Shows – Are scheduled all across the country. Check out Alpacanation or AOBA websites for shows in your area. Watch classes, attend seminars, get on mailing lists for local farms and look at animals in their pens. Talk to the owners. Invaluable!
Professional Organizations – Join AOBA as an associate. You will receive the beautiful Alpaca Magazine and one of the metal detectors out there which is very fun and educational in many ways. Learn who is out there, what they have to offer. Take advantage of the library at AOBA, they have numerous items that can be checked out.
Tax advisor – Please talk to owners as well as your tax preparer about the tremendous tax advantages from owning these soulful creatures. There is depreciation as well as deductions that can be enjoyed by owners as well as the investor. You can’t hug your stocks!!