Handling

 
Handling
Photo: Harvey Brown
  • Most handling is easier to carry out in a small area, so a designated area to catch animals is a must.
  • Always handle animals with the respect they deserve; if you enter a pen in a mad rush with flailing arms and bullying tactics in mind you will never win. Calm, quiet and gentle, but with an authoritative manner is the way to go.
  • Alpacas can be taught quite successfully to lead on a halter. This can be initiated with brief but frequent sessions. It takes time and patience and an understanding of your animals. A halter-trained animal can often make life easier when the vet comes to call.
  • Some animals become stressed, nervous or frightened when being handled and respond to this by simply lying down and refusing to move. The more they are handled, the more they will become accustomed to it.
  • As a rule, alpacas will usually walk away from you. When moving your animals always walk behind them gently, guiding them to where you want them to go.
  • If no catch pen is available, it is possible to catch an animal in a field with the aid of ropes, poles, or even a few friends or family walking around with outstretched arms.
  • Always remember that stress is a killer, but not always clearly visible. Please be aware of what you are doing to your animals.
  • It is very important that an alpaca's head collar fits correctly. Advice on halters and fitting can be downloaded here