Your Alpaca and You

These guidelines are designed to promote health, happiness and a general well being amongst your herd, regardless of size.

The alpacas

Alpacas are naturally herd animals and only really feel safe with their own kind; they must not be kept singly.

Generally they are hardy healthy animals and, as with all livestock, they should be checked at least once a day, preferably twice.

By spending time with your animals you will get to know them and it is easier to tell when they are ‘out of sorts’. The earlier problems are detected and help administered, the greater the chance of a speedy recovery.

Alpacas usually give little indication that they are feeling unwell until they are very sick. Early indications may include loss of appetite, spending more time lying around and not keeping up with the herd. Other symptoms may include abnormal breathing and/or posture, lameness, discharge from the eyes or nose, and just generally looking depressed.

If there is ever any doubt pertaining to the health and welfare of your animals, veterinary assistance should always be sought.

Members of the British Camelid Veterinarian Society who are happy to advise on the treatment of alpacas can be found at their website: www.camelidvets.org

You

Never be afraid to ask if you have any problems. You could learn something new each day about alpacas and they would still appear to have an air of mystery about them.

If you experience any problems with newly purchased alpacas your first point of call should be with the person you brought them from.

Don’t be afraid to question your vet and provide him with all the information you can. For example, mention the weight of a fully fleeced animal before he approaches with the hypodermic. There are many conflicting views and opinions regarding all aspects of these creatures.

If selling animals, make sure clients know and understand the minimum requirements involved in looking after alpacas.

If possible, visit the new homes and ensure paddocks are of an adequate size and that the animals will be safe and looked after.


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