Alpaca - Breeding
Alpacas are easy and little troublesome in breeding. Their little nutritional requirements and resistance to adverse weather conditions makes the animals undemanding and easy to get adapted to different conditions.
In summer, the nutritional basis of alpacas is pasture flora and hay to which the animals should have permanent access. Alpacas are a species that has no tendency to destroy the plants as they always bite them over the surface without damaging the roots; therefore, the animals are well suited as living lawn mowers. It should be kept in mind that alpacas are reluctant to eat grass that overgrew 15 cm!
In winter, their diet should be further enhanced by nutritious grains and vegetables (such as carrots and beetroots), which are a valuable source of vitamins. It is also important to remember that the animals should have a year-round access to drinking water and salt licks that provide essential minerals.
To while away the lives of alpacas, also keep in mind that they are very eager to use both sand and water baths. Therefore, on the run they should find a shallow pool with water in which the alpacas can cool off on a hot day, and a place covered with yellow sand where the alpacas will be able to roll freely – it is a pleasure for them but also it allows to clean wool from dirt and insects. Another big advantage of alpacas is the fact that the animals consolidate their faeces in one or two spots in the pasture, making it easy to collect and keep the run clean.
On the run there should be a well covered shelter where the animals can hide during adverse weather conditions. Because of their thick wool, alpacas should be able to shelter from strong sunlight to avoid overheating, as well as from heavy rain and wind.
The care also does not pose any major problems. Besides shearing, alpacas must have the nails cut (hooves) - preferably twice a year (in spring and autumn), but the frequency also depends on the ground where the animals graze. Another treatment for alpacas is teeth correction. Alpaca’s teeth, similarly to rodents’, grow throughout life so if their food is not hard enough to be able to wear them out in a natural way, the animals must have ensured annual correction.
The shearing takes place once a year, in spring (April-May). While shearing alpacas at this time of year they are not exposed to overheating on hot summer days and to freezing during harsh winters. The shearing should also be planned so that it is not carried out on females in the last weeks of pregnancy.
There are three techniques for shearing alpacas:
- on a special shearing table
Veterinary treatments for alpacas are generally limited to preventive vaccination once a year and deworming which we conduct twice a year - in the spring and in the late autumn.
Alpacas - Titbits
1. Alpacas are very friendly animals, they exude a very positive aura and appear to be smiling all the time. Contact with them has a relaxing and calming effect. Alpacas are used in animal assisted therapy - as a form of treatment of mental and emotional disorders, especially in children.
2. Alpacas are not aggressive and do not pose a threat to people so making contact with them is completely safe for elderly people or children.
3. Alpaca fleece is a unique product. It has many unusual features about which you can read in the section FLEECE.
4. Alpaca foot is made up of two toes which have a toenail and a pad. This helps them to move in the hard mountainous terrain and reduces stress on the ground which prevents from devastating pastures.
5. Alpaca is a so-called modified ruminant with a three-compartment stomach. It converts grass and hay to energy very efficiently, eating less than other farm animals.
6. Alpaca Herd consolidates its faeces in one or two spots in the pasture, thereby controlling the spread of parasites, and making it easy to collect use as a very effective organic fertilizer.
7. Thanks to the split upper lip and the lack of upper incisors alpacas bite the grass shoots a few inches above the ground stimulating the growth without destroying the plant.
Alpaca Poland sp. z o.o.
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