Alpaca Care

Buying alpacas for the first time can be daunting, we have been there. There are many difference resources for getting your information including books, the internet, and courses. We would highly recommend that you do a practical course before you buy your alpacas so that you have a good understanding of what to expect. There is a lot of conflicting information out there and it can be confusing. We have put together a simple guide to help first time owners. 

Halter Training

It is important for you and your alpacas to get to know each other and spending time around them feeding them, poo picking etc will help this.

They probably won’t be able to walk round the field on a halter straight away but getting them used to wearing one is important. Enabling them to be comfortable wearing a halter will make general husbandry easier overall. To get started, pen in your alpacas and put the halter on a few of them for a few minutes at a time. This will help them to get used to having it on. It is very important that the halter fits correctly; an incorrectly fitted halter can suffocate and may even kill an alpaca. Ensure that the nose piece is not too loose and sits right at the top of the snout, near to the eyes. The head strap should also be fitted correctly and once fitted you should be able to fit two fingers underneath albeit snuggly. Fit the halter on from underneath the animal (don’t bring it above the head) and always be calm and speak encouragingly to your animals. We also suggest that you halter train your animals on a calm day (not during a gale) as they are quite sensitive animals, they will not appreciate being halter trained on a day of extreme weather. Once you have trained them on the halter a few times, take them in twos or threes on a walk around the field. As you progress, you can take them to other areas outside their field. They are very inquisitive animals and will greatly enjoy the change of scene.

Cutting Toenails

This is something we really struggled with as new owners. All the YouTube videos make it look so easy! We found that the best way to do this is through practice and becomes easier when the animals become more familiar with you.  You will need two people to do this. Start by penning the animals in, put on their halter and place them side on against the pen/wall. The first person holds the head with the animal’s head facing them and resting on their shoulder. If you can, rest you knee to the side of the animal, under the armpit. It is important to have a strong hold but not to be too firm otherwise this can agitate the animal. The second person cuts the nails whilst facing the back of the alpaca. Run your hand down the side of the animal and down the leg that you are about to pick up. Scrape out any mud and cup along the nails, place the foot down gently. 


All Alpacas need annual injections to ensure that they are protected from common diseases such as Enterotoxaemia, Lamb Dysentery, Struck, Pulpy kidney, Braxy, Tetanus, Black Disease, Blackleg, Metritis, Bacterial Redwater, Abomasitis, and Malignant etc. Cria received their first inject at around 4 months old followed by another booster 4-6 weeks later. After their initial injections, alpacas should have a booster annually. We inject our herd with Bravoxin.


From October through to March, alpacas will need a vitamin supplement. We have tried different ways to treat our animals including paste, drenching, and injecting. However, we have found that vitamin injections are the easiest way of treating the animals.


We undertake a faceal egg count twice a year to ensure that our animals are fit and healthy. There are a few companies that you can send your poo samples to. We have found the process quick and easy and you obtain the results in a few days after sending.

Body Scoring

We body score our animals every other week to ensure that they are maintaining their weight. Doing this allows us to keep an eye on our animals as rapid weight loss can be a sign that there is something wrong and that the animal is ill. Body scoring is marked from 1-10 with 6 being a perfect weight. Please see the diagram provided by Camelid Veterinary which gives you an idea of what to do and how the animal should feel.


Alpacas need to be sheared each year to ensure that they do not overheat in the summer months. We book our shearer to come in May. If you are going to show your Ccia you may want to book in your shearer to come again a few months later. However, not all breeders shear their cria.


If you want to build your herd you need to consider and plan when to mate your herd. Many breeders (including us) offer stud services where a male visits your farm to mate with your females. Mating usually happens around June/July time (to ensure that Cria are born the following summer). Most mums will still have cria at foot when mating for the following summer.

Birthing and Cria Care

This will be your busiest time of the year. You should have a good idea of when your cria are due to be born and it is very important that you are close by when they are born in case there are any complications. In our experience, we have had to help most newborn cria in some way. Rubbing off the mucus, check that they are breathing, ensure that they are up on their feet within 30 minutes and ensure that they are feeding from their mother within 2 hours.