You understand that the health and well-being of your sheep, goats and alpacas are important parts of running a farm. Today, our Brighton vet specialists share a few quick tips and facts about these small ruminants.
Small Ruminant Health
Ruminant animals are herbivores (plant-eaters) with a specialized four-chamber stomach that allows them to digest the tough fibers of grasses and other vegetation. Because they are herd animals, an illness or condition with one animal can swiftly infect or stress the rest. If the herd increases in size, there may be a growing need for the services of a veterinary specialist for their ongoing health.
Some steps that responsible livestock owners can take include:
- Routine Exams And Preventive Care
- Medical Emergencies
- Vet-Guided Animal Husbandry
- Diagnostic Testing
- Breeding Soundness Examinations
Some Facts About Alpacas
Although they are gaining in internet meme popularity, many people in North America know little about alpacas. And it's no wonder since they've only been in the United States since 1984! Below are a few interesting facts about these fluffy, personable ruminants.
- Alpacas are a part of the camel family (Camelidae) and it's thought that they may have distant relatives stretching back as far as 35 million years.
- There are high numbers of alpacas in a number of countries including Peru, Chile, Bolivia, the United States, Australia, and Canada.
- Alpacas' wool comes in a variety of 16 recognized fiber colors ranging from white through shades of grey/silver, black, and brown.
- A reliable method of ascertaining whether a female alpaca is pregnant is whether or not she spits at a male. If she does, it's almost certain there is a cria (baby alpaca) on the way!
- Alpacas are clever and can be trained to understand hand signals, simple commands, and tricks.
- Alpacas are herd animals and will feel unsafe and stressed if there are fewer than 3 of them in a group.
- Alpacas are fastidious animals and will create a 'litter box' to eliminate waste, if not provided with one.
For more information about caring for your small ruminant animals, contact your knowledgable Brighton vet specialists.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.