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About Alpacas
General Information   About Alpacas - Often Asked   About Alpacas - Funny things alpacas do  

Are alpacas easy to care for?

Depends on what you call easy.

Alpaca JohnnyAlpacas require similar attention to other livestock.

We give them vaccinations once a year. You can get your vet to do this, but it's not hard to gdo yourself once you know how. Some breeders choose to vaccinate their alpacas twice a year.

Most alpaca owners use a 5 in 1 vaccine, the same as for sheep and goats.

We also round them up every three months to drench them for worms, trim their toenails and do a quick check of their condition and general health.

Alpaca toenails are generally easy to trim once you know how. They aren't tough like hooves, but feel a bit like cutting plastic. A good pair of straight blade pruners will do the job nicely.

Most alpacas don't particularly like having their legs and feet touched, so it can take a little while for them to trust you with this. Be patient, they'll get there.

As they get older, some alpacas' lower front teeth will grow long and need trimming.They should also be shorn, normally once a year, although some of our older animals don't grow much fleece in a year so we do them every second year.

You can shear them yourself and many alpaca owners do, but it is much easier (on the back, hands, and nerves!) to get a shearer in to do it for you. There are shearers who are experienced with alpacas and some of them will do toenails, vaccinations, teeth and even castration for you at the same time.

Alpacas tend to dung in several piles around the paddock, making for easy clean up. (Incidentally, we've found that our males keep much neater piles than the females). The only setback with this is that unless you clean up very regularly, you will end up with bare 'sour' spots in your paddocks where no grass will grow. Directly around these spots will grow long, lush pasture (which your alpacas will be reluctant to graze - Can you blame them?)

We usually rotate our alpacas around several small paddocks, allowing each area a chance to rest and re-grow while the alpacas eat another paddock.

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