Farmers who rent animals for Nativity scenes say business is holding steady, although some organizers are swapping camels for cheaper livestock amid the recession. Renting a camel can cost $500 to $700 per day, including a handler and liability insurance for the ornery animal.
Mark Schultz of Glacier Ridge Animal Farm near Oshkosh says the high price also reflects the fact that there are few camels in Wisconsin — about 30 to 40. Three of his four working camels have been rented this year.
Kathy Meyer of Jo-Don Farms in Franksville said all of her eight camels are employed, but she's also seen customers choose cheaper sheep and goats.
Two or three sheep, a couple of goats and a handler cost $250 per night. Skip the handler, and the price drops to $25.