GENERAL ALPACA HUSBANDRY
The alpaca is a lean, hardy animal which carries a lot of fleece. (Shorn they look like the Pink Panther.) As such, symptoms of illness or imbalance are not easy to spot until the very last minute. It is not to the alpaca’s advantage to voluntarily show any weakness which means that when the symptoms are obvious it usually means that any deficiency or disease has taken a firm hold on the animal and it is more often than not time to call the vet. Regular Body Scoring of our alpacas is a must to find out what is happening below that magnificent fibre.
There is a long standing myth that alpacas do not need looking after. Nonsense! Althouhg they are by reputation a lot easier than sheep or other livestock they still need looking after. It is essential that alpacas are monitored at least twice a day. Yes, this can most times mean no more than a walk round the paddock to check that all is well, which ninety nine times out of a hundred will be the case but they do need looking at. Alpacas are rapidly building a reputation as an easy to manage user friendly livestock, all of which is true, but if you are under the impression that they look after themselves you are mistaken. As with all livestock it is our responsibility to take care of the health and welfare of our charges, a routine quick visual inspection twice a day once in the morning another at feeding is quite sufficient.
That beautiful fibre can mask a lot of things, weight loss, abscesses and infection and the only way you will know what condition your alpacas are in is to body score, touch and feel and get hands on and close every so often with your alpacas.
Please, if you have no intention of ever going near your alpacas go and buy a snake!
They will also need their toe nails cut at least 4 times a year. They will need an annual chlostridial vaccination. Depending on your pastures they will inevitably need worming at least once a year. They will need shearing once a year. If you are breeding alpacas rather than just keeping them there will be a lot more to learn besides.
If you are seriously considering keeping alapcas then please book into one of our Alpaca Husbandry Introductory Workshops and begin your alpaca adventure with our experience in your armoury. TOFT Alpaca Husbandry Introdcutory Workshops