Sunday, 2 June 2013

Pedicures and injections - Alpaca Husbandry

Tegan - wiggly!
I was really not looking forward to this weekend, we had planned a day of nail trimming and all injections (AD&E, 5in1) were due.  I can say, sitting here after a shower, that I am glad it is over but I still keep getting whiffs of 'Eau De 'Paca' and I think I have a dislocated knuckle (which is now strapped up)!

The good boys
First off, we did the four boys in their pen.  Hamish and Sherman needed their 5in1 booster and their AD&E, Eclipse and Chinook just needed their AD&E.  We had rotated the Alpaca's and rested up some paddocks, so we didn't think we needed to drench them too (we will just keep an eye on them).  Hamish and Sherman behaved beautifully, with just a little cry when their needles went in.  Chinook was harder to hold, but behaved when we got our grip.  Eclipse screamed and spat upwards (so we received our first 'Paca shower).  Thankfully, no toenails needed doing!

On to the girls...first I had to get them up from the other paddock.  They followed me with the a somewhat orderly,


 and lady-like...
until they spied the other buckets up in the pen...

and I was left to taste the dust!

Then the games began...the three cria were up first, they all needed their 5in1 booster and their AD&E.  Husband had all the injections ready, so we just had to hold the girls for him.  Tegan was first and she was a pain, she kept trying to spring away whilst 15y.o son held her and I had her head in bracelet hold.  She ended up laying on her side and wiggling until Husband could hold a spot still and jab her. What a pain! Next was Poppy...once we caught her she gave a little spit (copying her Mum!), but she was still and humming to her Mum whilst we injected her. Melony was perfect, little cutie, and stood still without a sound...I wish the same could be said of the behaviour of the Mum's!!
all done without a peep!
Harmony gave a little scream, but stood still.  Ambrosia was the same, no spitting from either of those girls.  Then came Maddie, who screamed, snorted and spat.  Acua was a royal pain, and ran around the pen many times before we finally got hold of one time dragging Husband...then she spat at us, on us, and into the air whilst she was injected errr....ONCE!!! I mean REALLY!!??  Then I realised that there was blood running down my hand from my knuckle...I don't remember doing it but it was throbbing, aching and swelling.  We had to go back to the house to stop the bleeding and Husband splinted my finger, but I insisted that I go back and help...

KayJay was better, but Lucky did a few laps before we could get a good grip on her.  By then, the Eau De 'Paca was in my hair, eyes and in the air everywhere.  Vodka, Allie and Malibu had to wait until last as they all needed a toenail or eight cut back.

We decided to go with the worst first...Vodka.  She is easier to grab but spits A LOT! She kushed and then spat over and over again until 15y.old put a loose, long sock over her nose.  This stopped her spitting and as I held her I tried to 'talk her down' whilst ensuring her breathing was ok.  Poor Vodka, she was a rescue Alpaca, and has had no halter training.  She gets really stressed, and we try to complete the tasks as quickly as possible and release her. 
Next was Allie (who came with Maddie), and as Maddie spat and screamed I expected the same from Allie...but she is an open female and boy, were we suprised!!  She stood like a lady, while I held her head in bracelet hold, and had her injection and all four feet done without a sound (and she is a big girl like Vodka)! What a pleasure!

Lastly it was Boo (Malibu) Vodka is a rescue animal and has never been handled prior to us taking her...she screamed and whinnied and spat all over us with the whites of her eyes showing.  EEEEwwww...but poor girl...she only needed her jab and two nails cutting then ALL DONE!!
Malibu (front)
Husband and I determined that we are going to injure ourselves unless we make some ammendments in the girls' pen, it is just too big and we have to chase the girls' too much.  Husband has an idea to halve and then quarter the pen, then it would be easier to get the Alpaca (like the boys' pen) I guess that is our next job... :)


  1. Just sounds so much like us when we had our first two alpacas! We learnt quickly that a holding pen that is too big is a nightmare and just leads to what we call, "The Washing Machine Effect" where they run round in circles!
    I still have one who is very difficult to hold - Islay - and we have to put her in an alpaca size handling gate and cut her nails whilst they are on the ground.
    Hope that finger is okay now.

  2. You are right about the size of the pen, if they have less room to move about, it does help. Sorry to read that you got your nuckles rapped as part of the fun process! Shirley & Robbie

  3. Yes, we are all going to make the same comments having learnt the hard way. Less pen space less trouble!! At least you can be relieved that that's all the husbandry tasks out of the way for a while and the herd are looking well.

  4. OH my I was exhausted just reading that lol Kudos to you and hubby for getting it all done. Now it makes me realize that giving our horses Spring shots and hoof trims is a breeze.

  5. Oh no, we have Lambivac injections coming up, and of our 5 boys 3 are very hard to handle, so you've got me worried. I've only needed a shower once before though, but I do remember a few bruises.