- Alpacas are naturally herd animals and only really feel safe with their own kind; they must not be kept singly. Three is the minimum and more is better!
- Generally they are hardy, healthy animals and for non-breeding alpacas, as with all livestock they should be checked at least once a day, preferably twice. Pregnant females or females with young cria will need a much higher level of supervision and you should seek advice from BAS members with breeding experience or a vet for a suitable care regime.
- By spending time with your animals you will get to know them and it is easier to tell when they are ‘out of sorts’. The earlier problems are detected and help administered, the greater the chance of a speedy recovery.
- Alpacas usually give little indication that they are feeling unwell until they are very sick. Early indications may include loss of appetite, spending more time lying around and not keeping up with the herd. Other symptoms may include abnormal breathing and/or changes in posture, lameness, discharge from the eyes or nose, and just generally looking depressed.
- If there is ever any doubt pertaining to the health and welfare of your animals, veterinary assistance should always be sought.
- Members of the British Camelid Veterinarian Society who are happy to advise on the treatment of alpacas can be found on their website.
- The BAS will try and re-home alpacas that need a new place to live (whatever the reason). Taking on a re-homed alpaca is a great thing to do and the BAS rely on the generosity of its members to provided homes. If you can offer a home to an alpaca then please let us know (firstname.lastname@example.org). Every endeavour will be taken to ensure the re-homed alpacas are healthy enough to do well in their new home (we often arrange shearing and foot care) but specific disease testing is the responsibility of the receiving herd.
You can find a series of short videos that explaining different elements of alpaca husbandry below