isn t about showmanship. Nor is it about winning more ribbons.
Rather, it s about bringing home alpacas that stay healthy
after the show.
There is a
practice among alpaca producers to wean animals shortly before a
show. Please be aware that weaning is one of, if not the
most, stressful event in a mammal s life. The effects of this
stress may not be visible to producers until several months
after the fact.
because stress kills beneficial rumen microorganisms. Their
absence allows opportunistic pathogens to proliferate. It also
leaves an animal more vulnerable to pathogens that are only
present in smaller, usually non-threatening numbers.
Proliferation may take as long as two months. By this time, many
newly-weaned crias have been to a show.
almost as stressful as weaning. The animal is exposed to strange
sights, smells, people, animals, and sometimes food. They are
also exposed to new pathogens. If they have been recently
weaned, the double stress can severely overwhelm the vulnerable
prior to a show is necessary, there are steps the producers can
take to avoid disaster.
concentrated (paste or drench) probiotic such as MSE (5 10
cc/day) at weaning and for about a week afterwards.
This will help the animal weather the effects this stress.
Either product can be continued longer if the animal has not
returned to pre-weaning appetite and vigor.
A few days
before a show, give 5 to 10 cc per day of the same
concentrated probiotic. Repeat for the next day and
throughout the show. Continue for one to two weeks
afterwards. Observe behavior, appetite, and stools and
continue longer if any of these are suspicious.
keep your animals separate from others as much as possible.
Try to prevent nose to nose contact. The stall can be
sprayed or wiped with a disinfectant. Bring own feed if
quarantine for at least two weeks, and preferably a month.
Observe behavior, appetite, and stools. Feed quarantined
animals last and change clothing if contacting other animals
Dry microbial concentrate (daily formula) to feed before,
during, and after the show.
Be aware of
any changes that occur in show animals for as long as two or
three months. It may take this long for opportunistic pathogens
to become numerous enough for symptoms to become obvious.
Quarantine may prevent transmission of these microbes to other
animals in the herd.
Don t let
weaning + showing = disaster, use prevention and be aware of
animals that have recently been to a show. It is very easy to
disassociate these events because so much time may have passed,
but they may indeed be connected.
products are available at natures-way.com. Please contact
ruminant nutritionist Lark Burnham (firstname.lastname@example.org)
if you have any questions or concerns.