Articles & Resources

Basic Alpaca Care for Beginners – Quick and Dirty ‘Paca Care

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by Jo Overbey Rock Chimney Farm Alpacas Physical Plant Let's begin with a discussion of the perimeter fence, as it is of primary importance. An alpaca's only means of self-protection is to flee and we take that away from them by enclosing them in small spaces. Thus, a perimeter fence, which provides adequate protection from predators, is a basic requirement. Generally, the perimeter fence is of woven wire (2x4 or no-climb is preferred) with either barbed wire or electric wire along the exterior … [Read more...]

Blue Eyed Whites

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by D. Andrew Merriwether, Ph.D., and Ann M. Merriwether, Ph.D., Binghamton University Nyala Farm Alpacas Much controversy and secrecy revolves around discussion and use of blue-eyedwhite alpacas (BEWs) in breeding programs. Blue-eyed white alpacas are all-white alpacas, with blue eyes, which are often (but not always) deaf. Recently some alpaca farmers have suggested that the BEWs should not be used for breeding so this gene can be eliminated from the American alpaca gene pool. This suggestion … [Read more...]

From Bottle Fed to Grazing

Arjina

We are into the 350th bottle feeding of "Arjina" the son of Rolex (Magical Farms herdsire). It is difficult but doable, our first experience with the dam who had milk, but would not accept the cria who could not stand, Arjina was 5 weeks early, and totally unexpected for early arrival. Thanks to Dr. Mark Hamerick who was able to milk out some of the colostrum and tubed it di-rectly into his stomach, Arjina is still with us and gaining weight. I then learned that milking an alpaca is much different … [Read more...]

Glossary of Alpaca Terms

by Mike Safle A-C | D-F | G-L | M-O | P-Q | R-Z AGGREGATE BREEDING VALUE: Also net merit. The breeding value of an individual for a combination of traits. AGOUTI: Thought to be a locus on the chromosome where color occurs. Sometimes also called the wild or natural color gene (this would be vicuna color in alpacas). ALLELE: An alternative form of a gene. ALTIPLANO: The high plateau in southern Peru and northwestern Bolivia located around … [Read more...]

Halter Fit – Solving Major Behavioral Problems in Thirty Seconds

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Solving Major Behavioral Problems in Thirty Seconds by Marty McGee Bennett Camelidynamics I am only partly kidding. If you haven’t paid very close attention to halter fit and you are having trouble with one of your alpacas, you may be able to solve the problem in thirty seconds. I have worked with hundreds of difficult alpacas that were difficult only because they were in fear for their lives every second they wore a halter. I have seen problems from kicking to kushing evaporate … [Read more...]

Winter Birthing

by Chas Brooke Classical MileEnd Alpacas So should we breed our females this late in the year? What are the consequences if we do and are we adding unduly to the risks? My experience says I don't think so, but there are some lessons that have been learnt on the way. We would all like our cria to be born in the late spring or early summer. Why? just because it is easier for both of us - that is mum, the new cria and those of us who have to manage the delightful duo. However, it is not always … [Read more...]