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Llamas and Alpacas  

What behaviors should we consider for camelids?
Camelids are a prey animal and have a flight response, therefore move quietly and slowly around them. They are herd animals. To move a large number of camelids, move them down alleyways, making sure all gates are closed so that the animals cannot escape. Camelids will panic if separated from the herd, and may leap into solid objects (fence, wall, you) in an effort to escape. They are also protective of the herd and will attack, bite, kick, stomp and spit in defence. When stressed and spitting be aware as they can choke and die easily. Males can be aggressive, use caution as they can knock you down.

llamas eating
Llamas in the background showing aggresion to each other with ears back

What environmental conditions should we consider for camelids?
Keep camelids calm and cool as they easily suffer from heat stress. Provide good ventilation, clean bedding, and fresh water and food.

Alpaca herd
Content alpacas

What is the proper way to hold or restrain a camelid?
Most camelids at shows have been halter broke and taught to lead.  If they are not haltered; crowd the animal against a wall with arms outstretched. Place one hand around the neck and your hip against the shoulder of the animal. Use caution as they can swing their head and hit your face. Hold halter with nose piece open and hands on each side of halter, apply over the nose and secure behind the ears. If a halter is applied, approach the shoulder and run your hand up neck and under chin to apply the lead rope.

Haltering a llama
Use your body as a brace when haltering a llama.

What should we look for to identify a sick camelid?
Observe the camelid in the trailer looking for open mouth breathing, droopy ears, and overall dullness suggestive of heat stress.  Some show animals have blankets on them; have the exhibitor remove the blanket  for an examination.  Check the face; lips, mouth, nose, eyes, and ears for any lesions, discharge or abnormalities.   Run your hands across the animal, checking for any lumps and or abscesses.  Part the fiber in various places looking for parasites and fungus.  Observe each leg, use caution as they can kick, checking for swelling, lesions or abscesses.  Check  for diarrhea and the genitalia for swelling, discharge or abnormalities.  Change your gloves or wash your hands before moving onto another group of commingled animals.

Stressed lllama
This llama is showing signs of stress, ears back and excessive salivation