The majority of Alpaca’s farmed in the UK are huacaya’s, they are an ideal small acreage livestock. They can be stocked at approximately 6 to 8 an acre, depending on the quality of grazing. Their soft padded feet do little damage to the paddocks unlike other livestock. Alpaca’s are relatively disease free and easy to care for.
They do need a basic shelter to protect against heat and foul weather and fencing is simply standard 4ft sheep stock fencing as they do not challenge fencing.
Fresh clean water needs to be provided and although their digestive systems are set up for fibrous forage such as grass, hay and chopped straw it is recommended that a daily supplement, such as Camelibra or Camelid Complete, be given to ensure they receive all the vitamins and minerals they require.
General maintenance consists of trimming their toe nails approximately every 12 weeks; this can be more often, especially in pregnant females as their nails tend to grow a little faster.
Regular condition scoring is essential to check on the health status of the herd. A sudden loss of weight usually means there’s an underlying health issue and at the other end of the scale obesity is not healthy and causes fertility problems.
Body scoring regularly is a simple way of keeping check on their condition and an ideal opportunity to be able to give them the once over, i.e. checking there’s no brambles tangled in their fleece or trimming a top knot if it’s covering their eyes.
Shearing takes place once a year, The UK shearing season runs between the months of May and August, at this time the shearer will also do all dentistry work if it’s required.
As mentioned previously Alpacas are a very hardy healthy animal but preventative medication is required. They require a very similar vaccination and worming regime as sheep.
Vaccination against Clostridial diseases is recommended twice yearly. Worming every 4 – 6 months depending on stocking numbers, and results from egg counts performed by the vet on dung samples.
Stool testing is very important as it can also inform you of other parasite present such as Liver Fluke and Coccidiosis and these can be treated accordingly.
The owner can easily carry out these treatments and full training in all aspects of Alpaca Care will be provided as will any ongoing support that is required.