How much maintenance do Alpacas need?

Alpacas generally remain free from a variety of problems that affect sheep and other animals, such as foot rot or fly strike.  They do not need dipping, in fact this is not advised.  They do not need crutching as they do not have fleece under their tails. Thus compared to other farm animals they need relatively little attention. However it is clearly important to be aware of their state and an overall visual check of the herd once or twice a day can help to prevent the development of any possible problems. This is normally accomplished in conjunction with checking their water supply or distributing any hay or solid food that may be required. Commonly there is little or nothing to be done and it is as much for your own pleasure as for the benefit of the animals. Teeth: Alpacas have teeth on the lower jaw which press against an upper hard pad. Depending on the nature of food available these teeth can grow too long and overshoot the pad. They then need trimming, a surprisingly easy job that is generally done at the same time as shearing when the animal is restrained. Toenails: Alpacas have soft toe nails, rather than hooves. These need to be trimmed from time to time, an easy job, made easier if a second person has an arm held gently around the animalís neck to restrain it. Vaccination: against clostridial disease is generally done at 1 month old, 2 months and then every six months, in line with your vaccination program for the rest of the herd. Shearing: Huacayas are shorn once a year, usually in spring either up to two or three months before giving birth, or a few weeks afterwards. Suris are usually shorn every two or three years. Cria: Weight gain is an effective means of monitoring your crias progress. For the first 2 or 3 months of life weigh them as regularly as you are able, possibly weekly. Worming: Alpacas are fastidious animals and tend to defecate in a few communal spots in a field, then move away from this before eating. Thus they rarely get worms and worming only twice a year is usually adequate. However you may choose to have fecal samples checked from time to time.  If your alpacas are running with other less fastidious animals they should be wormed with the same frequency as these animals, for obvious reasons. Their dung piles can readily be collected and the firm and dry pellets make excellent compost.

Alpacas are generally h ardy and usually less prone to diseases than animals that have been breed and domesticated much more intensively.  However they are not immune and sensible surveillance and care should be a habit.

Biosecurity:  we have made it a habit, from the start, not to expose our alpacas to other alpacas or other herds such as sheep or cattle.  Until 2009 we were the only alpacas at shows and our stands were geneally isolated from other livestock.  Now that other herds are going to shows we have chosen to become a relatively "closed herd" and do not go.  This means that our animals have (except for only one or two of the original imports) been born at Killinagh and not left it.  In this way we hope to avoid or minimise the risk of any infections.  When you come to us you will be asked to dip your footwear in antiseptic fluid so please bring appropriate footwear. 


News and Sale

Gelded (non-breeding) alpcasa for protection from foxes
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Come and visit - Saturday evening September 23rd
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Shearing in June 17th or 18th
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Shearing 1
Shearing 1
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Our Alpaca Shop
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