Alpaca Nutrition News. February 2009
The tale of
four females, obese alpacas (cont.)
In response to
my request for photos of obese females, and to my last
newsletter, I learned about four females. These girls represent
the range of problems (or lack of them) that obese alpacas
experience. The number of symptoms displayed by these animals is
also correlated to the amount of excess fat they carried.
Oro s April
(owner Brenda Hanes, of Stewart Heritage Farm, Xenia, Ohio)
April seemed to be unaffected by her weight, which was almost a
10 (on the 1 10 scale) prior to giving birth to twins. The
twins are healthy and April has plenty of milk. Further inquiry
revealed that she required more than one breeding to conceive.
(owned by Nancy Wright, of Always Accoyo, Oxford, MI)
According to Nancy, whirlwind was a big girl when she came to
the farm, and just kept getting bigger. This female displays
more of the symptoms of obesity trouble conceiving and lower
quality fleece. She has yet to bear any offspring, although she
was reported pregnant in January. Whirlwind has been bred and
appeared to be pregnant before. Current status is unclear.
agisted by a producer who wishes to remain anonymous
these females were already morbidly obese (probably two times
their ideal weight) when they came to this farm. The agister
tried restricting them to roughage only (hay and pasture), but
only one girl lost weight, and this was only a few pounds. These
females suffered from the worst symptoms of obesity painful
joints, including hips, legs, and feet, as well as conception
Animals in a
condition similar to the last two must be limit-fed to induce
weight loss, and their continued survival. This means limited
time on pasture or feeding only small amounts of hay.
females were allowed to gain so much weight because their owner
was trying to be kind. Grain-based supplement was over-fed. The
first thing that should be removed from an obese alpaca s diet
is grain and grain-based supplement.
April has lost
weight due to lactation and two healthy crias. Lactation is a
natural form of weight loss, but many obese animals have
difficulty conceiving or carrying a pregnancy to term. If feed
restriction seems cruel, consider the last two females above.
They were in great pain. Your fatty will be healthier and more
productive if their weight is brought down close to ideal.
Please send questions or comments to ruminant nutritionist, Lark