A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

March 6, 2008

Cooperative Quarantine Can Have It’s Benefits

Our friends and mentors Rick and Ann Evans from Enchantment Farm Alpacas stopped by yesterday to pick up their alpaca Enchantment’s Snow Prince. Snow Prince is an offspring of our herdsire Enchantment’s Prince Regent and had been with us to the recent TxOLAN Alpaca Spectacular, winning a second place ribbon in a very competitive class of yearling white males.

Snow Prince had been put into quarantine with the rest of the alpacas that had been at that show, and having spent close to three weeks in quarantine without any signs of any health problems he was safe to return home and go straight in with Rick and Ann’s other alpacas.

We are very fortunate to have a great relationship with Bob and Regina Dart of Llano Soleado Alpacas who are also here in Clovis. Working together we are able to share transportation to shows, split loads of feed and hay, share supplies and also work together to provide a good quarantine solution for when our alpacas return from shows. Both of our farms have quarantine pastures and by pooling our resources we can have several groups of alpacas in quarantine at the two farms if needed. On this occasion the show string went to Bob and Regina’s for quarantine, and so when Rick and Ann arrived at our place to pick up Snow Prince I had to take them up to Llano Soleado Alpacas (or Windrush North as we jokingly call their farm, with ours being Llano Soleado South) to collect him.

Being able to work cooperatively on quarantining our alpacas is a benefit to both farms. If we worked independently we would need to have at least two quarantine pastures each, one for male alpacas and one for female alpacas and there would be occasions when there was just one alpaca to be pastured on his or her own. By working together we can avoid the “lone alpaca” scenario and use our quarantine pastures to the best advantage.

I had a conversation just the other day with another alpaca breeder who was saying how difficult it is for small alpaca farms to effectively quarantine their alpacas, especially if they have only a few acres to work with. Unfortunately some small farms decide that they cannot devote any space to a separate quarantine pen and end up putting incoming alpacas in with the rest of their herd, thus exposing their whole herd to whatever viruses or bacteria that incoming alpaca may bring with it.

Perhaps a better solution for these small farms would be to partner up with other small farms in the area and quarantine their incoming alpacas together. Ideally the farms would share the same ideas about herd health and biosecurity and would attend the same shows, thus making it easy to quarantine alpacas returning from those shows together. Usually there would be more than one alpaca to be quarantined at a time, which would be easier on the alpacas too as they are such herd animals.

Admittedly there may be some small farms who are not fortunate enough to have another alpaca farm reasonably close by to partner with on quarantine facilities, but as the alpaca population grows and more alpaca farms spring up hopefully within a short time there will be another alpaca breeder in their area and the farms will be able to work together.

Working cooperatively with another farm really does have its advantages, both for quarantining and in other areas of farm operation. So if you are a small alpaca farm, check out your alpaca “neighbors” and see what you can do to work together, it could make your lives easier.

Rosemary

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