156 Waitara Rd
Brixton
Waitara
New Zealand

Tel +64 6 754 8148
Mob +64 27 422 2672
Email info@nzalpacas.com

Husbandry Services

 

For information on vairous stock tasks and services provide please select from the following list:

Shearing : The Process

Vaccinations: Giving injections

Ultrasound Scanning: Pregnancy diagnosis

Tooth Trimming:

Cainine Teeth:

Toe-nails: Trimming

For more information on husbandry support, seminars and workshops contact us at New Zealand Alpacas.

Shearing

In New Zealand alpacas are shorn once a year, normally in spring, to provide optimum staple length for processing.  The shearing process can be carried out using hand shears, clippers, or standard sheep shearing gear.  At New Zealand Alpacas we use mohair combs to reduce the risk of cutting the animal .
Alpaca fibre is non-greasy so great care must be taken to ensure that the hand-piece is kept well oiled to avoid overheating.
Most alpacas are shorn by lying them down on a shearing table and restraining them in a soft rope harness. This ensures that the animal is kept as secure as possible and is able to be shorn without adding unnecessary stress.  Females are usually shorn between birthing and mating or during the mid trimester of pregnancy, thus avoiding the periods when the foetus is most vulnerable.  Shearing is one of the many services we can offer our clients as well as expert advice on the sorting and preparing of fleece.

 

Vaccinations

A very simple and effective way of preventing clostridial diseases in all grazing livestock is to vaccinate. Clotridial diseases such as "Tetinus", "Pulpy Kindney", "Blacks Disease" etc., are in the soil and are widely spread throughout the world. By giving alpacas an injection of a live vaccine at 2 and 3 months of age they will produce their own antibodies to protect them throughout their lives. At New Zealand Alpacas we continue to give vaccinations to our breeding females at 6 monthly intervals thereby maintaining a high level of antibodies, some of which will be passed to their cria at birth. 

Ultrasound Scanning

There are a number of methods that can be used to detect pregnancy such as serum progesterone level examination, rectal palpation and 'spitting off'.  An open (non pregnant) female will accept the male's advances by sitting down.  A pregnant female will reject the male by spitting, refusing to sit, or kicking him away.
In conjunction with 'spit-offs', ultrasound is by far the most effective, the most convenient, and the least invasive technique available.  Most pregnancies can be detected as early as 35 days via this method.
We offer ultrasound services as part of our stud service package and also as an independent service for females serviced by non New Zealand Alpacas owned sires.

 


Tooth Trimming

Alpacas have a gummy dental plate instead of top teeth and only six front teeth on the bottom called incisors.  Sometimes if an animal has a slightly mis-aligned jaw ( over-shot) the incisors grow past the dental plate making it difficult for the animal to eat efficiently.
Tooth trimming is only necessary where these incisors over-extend the dental plate. They do have molars and pre-molars much further back in the mouth used for most of the chewing, but it is still necessary to have the incisors trimmed back if you find they are protruding.

The trimming of teeth can be achieved in a number of ways, using various file or "dremel" tools. At New Zealand Alpacas we choose to use a purpose built grinder that incorporates a protective mouth guard. We believe that, in the right hands, this is the fastest and least stressful way of trimming teeth. This service is also available from New Zealand Alpacas as well as equipment and training in the care and maintenance of teeth

Canine Teeth Care

As a young male alpaca develops it will produce canine or fighting teeth normally between the age of 2 and 3 years. The teeth, 6 in total, are found between the incisors and the pre-molars on both upper and lower jaws. As the term suggests these teeth are produced to enable the males to assert dominance over their rivals when competing for a mate.

Fighting teeth are very sharp and can, if left, cause damage to other males. We strongly advise those who are running a number of mature, non-castrated males to remove the sharp tips of these teeth. The operation of removing the tips of these teeth is once again very quick and painless. We are happy to arrange to do this for you.



Toe Nail Trimming

Many people assume Alpacas are "cloven hoofed" animals and have feet similar to cattle or sheep, this is a misconception. Alpacas have unusual feet that are comprised of a soft leathery pad (similar to that of a dog) with two protective toe-nails on each foot.

The toe-nails, like that of a humans, grow continually through the animal's life. The rate at which the toe-nails grow is dependant on three main factors:

  • The colour of the nail. Coloured or non-white animals commonaly have a dark pigment in their nails. These dark nails are slow growing, dense and quite brittle. As a result, the need to trim the toes of an dark-toed animal is reduced to possibly once or twice per year. Conversely, white animals tend to have toe-nails made up of a very fast growing, soft, pliable, light-coloured pigment. Toe nails on these animals are typically trimmed 4 to 6 times per year.
  • Nutrition. The rate of growth of the toe-nail is directly related to the level of protien the alpacas are eating. Animals being fed a high protien diet will require toe-nails to be trimmed more often. 
  • Environment. The soil type, availablity of grass, and under-foot conditions will all have an effect on the natural wear of the toe-nails. In the harsh conditions that alpaca experience in Peru, the combination of a low-protien diet, arid conditions, and the need for the alpacas to walk many miles each day to forage wears the toe-nails down as quickly as they grow. This is unlikely to be the situation in New Zealand.

Toe-nail trimming is a very quick, painless and simple process that, with practise, takes less than 1-2 minutes per animal.  As a part of our support service we can trim your animals' nails for you or will gladly instruct you on how to perform the task in a stress-free way for you and your alpacas.