Alpaca Nutrition News
So you just bought (or are
planning to buy) a new alpaca
When planning to move a newly
purchased alpaca, there are a few things to remember:
1. Moving alpacas from one
farm to another is a MAJOR stress
Many things change when an animal is
moved from one farm to another. Most mammals see change as a threat, therefore, their bodies prepares for
action. This may lead to energy redirection and the consequential death of beneficial
rumen microorganisms. Microbe death can also occur because stressed animals
usually do not eat. Either way, protective organisms starve to death.
Although you may get your new alpaca
home safe and sound, these changes may only become obvious weeks or even months
after the actual move. This is because it may take that long for opportunistic
pathogens, which supplant the dead beneficials, to proliferate. Keep in mind
that it takes a minimum of forty minutes for one bacteria to become two. There
are literally billions of microbes in the rumen. The presence of pathogens may manifest as diarrhea or constipation or a
sudden inexplicable loss of appetite. That in itself can trigger either of the
first two symptoms.
Post-moving disasters can be
If the move is long-distance or
international, prepare your new alpaca by asking the original owner to treat
with a concentrated probiotic such as MSE paste or drench for at least a week
prior to shipping. Then continue to treat for at least a week once the animal
has arrived. Be aware of any changes in appetite or elimination. If diarrhea
develops, feed Scour-aid.
If the move is more local, treat at
least once before the move, and at least once after the move. Longer treatment
will be necessary if the animal develops any of the above symptoms.
In either case, quarantine is
strongly recommended once the new alpaca has reached your farm. A month is
usually long enough for any illnesses to manifest.
2. Unless the animal to be moved
comes from a farm very close by, expect to GRADUALLY transition the diet from
old to new
It takes at least two weeks for the
rumen microflora to reorganize and proliferate after a diet change. The best way
to keep a new alpaca healthy during this transition is to bring two weeks worth
or forage and supplement from the originating farm with the new animal. This
will allow the new owner to gradually decrease the old feed and slowly introduce
the new feed. This process should take a minimum of two weeks.
Stress + diet change can = disaster.
The preventive use of concentrated probiotics and slow diet change will keep
your beautiful new alpaca(s) safe and healthy. This is especially true of
pregnant females. If a pregnant female is moved to a new farm, the stress of
the journey and all the changes may cause her to abort or the fetus to die/be
Protect your investment with MSE.
MSE paste, drench, and Scour-aid can
be purchased at naturs-way.com. Please write nutritionist Lark Burnham (email@example.com)
if you have any questions or comments.