Plum Creek Alpacas

Mentoring is what we do!

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Plan/install more gates than you think you need. You probably will not go back and put them in later!

It is best to have a 30’ space between different sex pens. Open females cush by the fence and attract males that go kind of crazy.

A catch pen area is needed to ensure that you can easily catch and halter your animals. Some sharp angles in your catch pen will make it much easier to “corner” the alpacas (alpacas can run up to 35mph you wont catch them in large open fields).

Many people with a larger land area design lanes that feed into a central barn. That was our original plan, but we have opted into utilizing our shed system.

How Many Pens?

Depending upon your choice of sex/sexes, for your purpose determined above you will need a pen for mature Males/Geldings AND a Females/Dams pen.

At least a 3rd pen for younger boys will probably come in quite handy (the bachelor pad).

Preferably a 4th pen to utilize during weaning.

A 5th pen used to isolate incoming animals (quarantine pen). Ideally it should be at least 30’ feet away, downwind from your prevailing winds, and downhill of your main pens. This is needed for either Alpacas new to your herd or for Alpacas returning from a show if they exhibit any negative conditions at the show. 2-3 weeks is usually sufficient isolation time.

Even more pens will be helpful as you can rotate your grazing. Rotate your grazing pens if you have room.

Geldings in Females Pens

Geldings are commonly run with females in other species. We have briefly explained in the following paragraphs why the same is not true for camelids.

While the removal of a male’s testicles (a surgical procedure), does not remove their inbred behavior to mount and breed females. Camelid breedings can last 20-40 minutes. They cause physical damage to the female due to the cartilaginous penis. The penis picks it up from the ground as it searches for entrance through the vulva.

Once inside the female it penetrates both horns of the uterus as a camelid breeding is not just vaginal as in other mammals. It introduces dirt into the female’s uterus. Geldings mount females under cover of darkness, and females never get pregnant, so they do not spit off the male’s advances.

Such pen arrangements are not good husbandry practices. Never allow geldings in with females for any length of time. And remove weaned male crias to a separate pen for the same behavioral and anatomic reasons.


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Thursday, January 11, 2024