Oakley Alpacas

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Husbandry & Welfare

AlpacaRoutine husbandry should include 6 monthly worming treatments, vaccinations against clostridial disease and blue tongue, and administration of vitamins and minerals as necessary.

Alpacas have toe nails that will require trimming approx 3 times yearly.

Alpacas teeth may required trimming and oral inspection is wise husbandry – treatment would normally be done at shearing time if required.

BeckhamFly strike is uncommon but not unheard of. Fleece hygiene in particular around tail and down rear legs is vital. Heavily fleeced alpacas must be trimmed to avoid faeces and urine contamination. Observation of fly presence is paramount.

Alpacas, like all livestock, require checking upon daily to ensure their continued health and safety. Alpacas generally suffer very few health problems, however occasionally they do become sick.

AlpacaKnowing your alpaca's normal behaviour, habits, posture and personality is the secret to monitoring good health and are invaluable guides to the individuals well-being or advance signals that all is not well.

A poorly alpaca sits down a lot or lies out stretched, reluctant to get up. They remains isolated from the main herd unable to keep up and appear hunched and uninterested in grazing. At this stage unless you are competent in your welfare knowledge, veterinary advice should be sought.

Normal adult temperature is 37.5 – 38.6°C. Normal resting respiratory rate is 20 – 30 breaths per minute.

Build a relationship and understanding with your alpacas spend time with them so they know you – this will reduce stress on the alpacas at time of husbandry needs as they will have previously experienced handling and human contact.

HerdAlpacas graze grass, browse hedgerows, eat hay and haylage, like a munch of good straw and for pregnant/lactating females, all youngsters especially weanlings, daily hard feed nutritional supplements are recommended. Clean water should always be available.

Alpaca course mix containing copper, zinc and selenium is required for health maintenance and is available from reputable animal feed stockists. AlpacaAn alpaca's weight should be monitored regularly by checking body score. An overweight alpaca is as unhealthy as an underweight alpaca.

A field shelter and catching pen has many uses making life easier for routine husbandry, halter training, matings, veterinary visits, birthing and cria care.

Alpacas are a herd animal thus do not happily live alone without the companionship of another camelid – in fact the British Alpaca Society strongly discourage the sale of single alpacas on welfare grounds. A minimum of two alpacas is necessary.

Land stocking rates are between 5 – 6 alpacas per acre but this depends upon quality of pasture and acreage available for rotation of grazing.

Herd with dogAlpacas are not susceptible to foot rot but they should not be kept on excessively wet land. If land is low lying or prone to flooding, hard standing or a raised mound should be provided to enable alpacas to seek dry standing areas.

Post, rail and stock fencing to a height of 4 feet is adequate. Electric netting must be avoided as alpacas can become entangled. Barbed wire should not be used.

ShearingAlpacas do not usually test fencing like sheep and goats. They can jump but rarely do so unless frightened, cornered, are males seeking alternative female alpaca company or are hungry by having insufficient pasture to eat.

Field maintenance and clearance of poisonous plants is vital – plants that are toxic to alpacas include yew, fern, bracken, laurel, ragwort, laburnum, nightshade and rhododendrons.

PenAlpacas are easily halter trained with brief but frequent sessions taught patiently with gentle persuasion, never pulling or pushing. A confused or frightened alpaca will cush down. Watch their body language – alpacas by nature are obliging animals; they do not barge, butt or bite. Alpacas are compliant by character; they will not challenge other equine or agricultural livestock nor humans.

When handling or catching alpacas they prefer routine, organisation and to know what you want of them. To avoid causing undue stress be organised, prepare the area where they are to be penned, make the right space available for the number of animals to be held and safely erect hurdles or make shift corrals. If penned overnight always ensure feed, hay and water is available.

Fleece Analysis Certificates

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