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Alpaca wethers as guardians for livestock
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Sunday, 20 March 2011 21:00

An alpaca wether guarding sheep

Wethered male alpacas make excellent guardians of sheep, goats, chickens and many other livestock vulnerable to attack from foxes. In a study performed by Charles Sturt University it was shown that running alpacas with a mob of ewes at lambing showed an increased weaning rate at 14 weaks of 13%. (Mahoney & Charry,The use of alpacas as new-born lamb protectors to minimise fox predation, 2004, pp. 65-70). Many of or clients have reported sucess rates higher than this. On farm here we tend to run some of the alpacas with the chickens and very rarely lose a chicken to a fox.

What is a guardian alpaca worth to your farm?

The average guardian will live for 15 to 20 years and can start work from 18 months.So if you have a herd of 500 lambing ewes that result in an increase of 13% weaning rate that represents an additonal 65 lambs. If lambs are returning $80 a head thats a potential recovery of $5300 in year one.

Caring for your alpaca / Protecting your investment

Alpacas integrate very well with established herds as they are very effecient feed converters allowing a stocking rate equivalent to 1 dse. They require very little additional husbandy time. When run with other livestock the alpaca should be included within the same drenching regime. They must be shorn each year failing to do so not only negatively affects their health it also affects their ability to protect their mob. 5 in 1 vaccination should also be administered, this can be done at shearing. At shearing it is also a good time to check teeth and toes for extended growth.

Kobler alpacas can supply guardians all year round to meet your needs.

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 May 2011 22:19
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