Homestead How to: Alpaca Herd Health Check

Hello Again Friends!

I love taking care of my animals- and they benefit greatly from regular handling and care. When I first jumped into the world of alpacas, I read a lot of different online resources that helped me to form my action plan. And now I’m going to share my care plan with you folks to help along the next generation of alpaca people!

(I will add some of my favorite alpaca resources at the bottom of the blog)

This is for alpacas specifically- if there is an interest in a chicken or pig one, I’ll do separate blogs for those.

Every day – Check their eyes for any kind of mucus or sign of injury. I just spend some time in the barn every morning and evening, talking to them and giving them a quick once over. I watch their gait and I try to see if any of them are having a hard time getting up and down. I also check the poop piles for anything unusual. This is pretty easy as I am scooping poop most days.

Also check water and hay supplies Every Day.

Weekly – I make sure to physically touch every alpaca to assess its body score and condition. I have to physically put my hands on them each week to test body score. Alpacas can loose weight very quickly and with their fiber growth, it can be hard to tell by sight until too late. I will put a guide below. I also inspect each animals coloring by checking the ears, eyes & gums- a famache score guide can help you here.

Monthly – this is when your region plays a small part. We live on the eastern seaboard of the United States (in maine) and so we treat for menegineal worm every 4 weeks with injectable ivermectin from March to November. I know other alpaca owners that do The injections year round, but my vet personally advises against it and he’s been working with alpacas in Maine for years. When temperatures dip below the teens for the season, we hold off on the ivermectin until spring. If I lived in a more temperate climate I would absolutely treat year round.

We also do a nail check every month and clip accordingly. The older, or runtier, the alpaca, the more their nails seem to break which will need fixing.

Winter – we inject with vitamin a&d every two months- this is an absolute must in order to prevent rickets. Rickets is not only VERY painful for alpacas, but can lead to premature death.

This blog has a good companion – my first aid kit for alpacas has a lot of essentials for keeping your herd in good condition.

More references:

Modern Farmer – Raising Alpacas

Alpaca Association – About Alpacas

Feel free to leave any questions below- I’ll try my best to answer them myself or point you in the right direction.

Until next time, have a wicked good day!


Published by gillisgardensllc

This is the official website for Gillis Gardens, LLC. Gillis Gardens is a farm, run by myself and my wonderful husband. We believe in biodiversity, organic growing methods and doing things ourselves. I knit, crochet, make jewelry and sew. MrGillis builds, doing everything from our plumbing to our mechanical to our renovations. We are both active members of our little community. We both take care of the plants and animals. He weeds, I harvest. He spreads manure, I plant. We raise multiple breeds of chickens for eggs and meat. We have a herd of Alpacas that we shear every year for their beautiful fiber, which we then have milled into ultra luxurious yarn. We make our own maple syrup, preserves and pickles. We raise bees for honey and herbs for medicine. We also raise pigs for meat and fun. We are the parents of two young children, and consider that our most important job. Follow our adventures here and also on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

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