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Raising Alpacas: The Basics

If your considering raising alpacas, these are just a few things that are a must for happy, healthy alpacas! 1. A structure. A barn or run-in so your alpacas can get in out of the rain, cold or hot weather. Preferably with electric and water. 2. A buddy! Alpacas are very herd oriented livestock so a same sex pair is a must. Some folks even suggest 3. Most do not do well by themselves. 3. A clear fenced pasture. Think of alpacas as a bunch of 2 year olds! If they can get in trouble, odds are, they will. A clear pasture with some shade and at least a 4 ft fence. 4. A small catch pen. Either in the barn or a corner of the fenced area that they easily can get too. We have learned over the years that this is a must. We do herd health once a month and having a small area we can wrangle them into makes it much easier to do any shots, de-worming or medicating along with any assistance that might be needed with birthing or health issues.

5. Males and females ALWAYS need to be separated. Intact males can breed 24/7 if given the chance. What we have learned over the years: - 6 to 8 per acre is a nice number to work with. Plenty of grazing space while keeping parasite levels down. - A second pasture to easily move the herd for good circulation of pastures. "Resting" a pasture allows for re-growth and clearing parasites. - A nursery area. If you have a cria on the way, a separate area right next to the main area is great for moms to be. We usually move our moms the last month so as to bulk up on extra nutrients if needed and for us to keep a closer eye on our moms. If you only have one mom that is due, bringing a friend or two in the nursery helps to keep your mom calm. - Intact breeding males are to be separated at all times other than scheduled breeding's. - If living in or around deer, a 28-30 day injectable Ivermectin protocol is highly recommended. Deer are carriers of the M-worm. This nasty parasite travels up the spinal cord and affects the alpaca brain. Please check with your local vet for more info.

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