Alpaca husbandry

Alpaca husbandry

The following reflects our practices; other breeders may well have different recommendations which better suit their particular circumstances and facilities.

Work on an average adult weighing approximately 70 Kg and a six-month-old weanling typically 30-40 Kg.

Daily feed

We give Camelibra (70 gms per adult, 50 gms per juvenile) to compensate for mineral differences between their native Andes and the UK.  We also give a handful (about 100 gms) of micronised peas per adult for working stud males, nursing and pregnant females.  Weanlings will be used to getting the peas, but they do not really need them, so the amount can be reduced to zero over a week or so. Please turn over or remove feed troughs/bowls when finished to keep them clean and dry and to deter badgers, crows and other vermin.

Monthly check

Make sure that you handle your animals regularly.  Most problems that we encounter with owners having difficulty managing their alpacas are down to lack of handling and familiarity, which leads to a lack of confidence on the part of the owner and fear on the part of the alpaca.  Scheduling a check at least once a month helps avoid these problems.

Body score

We use a scale of 0 to 5, though many people use 0 – 10.  Whichever you use, always use the same.  If you need to catch an animal for any other purpose, take the opportunity to body score it there and then.

Check teeth

The front teeth should be level with the upper dental pad at the front.  If overshot, they may need trimming, which is usually done at the time of shearing if necessary.  Also check that there are no lumps along the jaw that could be abscesses; just feel from the outside.

Mange check

Check for obvious signs of mange – bald patches, rough scaly patches or cracks.  Most likely places to find early signs are inside elbow, base of tail, under tail, leg joints and feet.

Feet

Trim toe nails with sheep foot clippers, just level with the pads.

Worming

  • Panacur Oct/Nov, 1 ml per 5 Kg, i.e. 12-14 ml per adult, 2½ % drench.
  • Eprinex – pour-on in Spring, 1 ml per 10 Kg, i.e. 7 ml per adult.  Alternatively, particularly if your land is wet and susceptible to fluke-worm, Fasimec Duo, 2 ml per 10 Kg, given as an oral drench.

Injections

  • Lambivac – 6 monthly, 2 ml per animal.
  • A, D & E (vitamin D in particular to compensate for lack of natural sunshine) – Sept to Apr, every two months.  Adult dose 1½ ml.
  • Vitenium (to counter selenium deficiency) – Adult dose 1½ ml every 3 months.

 

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