Plum Creek Alpacas

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We have practiced male Alpaca castration here at Plum Creek Alpacas. We understand that a great many ranches choose not to. 

The Case Against It

We ask why people should want to do so:

• The first reason we have observed is primarily to reduce aggressive behavior in a problem male.

• The second is to ensure that there are no accidental breedings.

• The fourth is to ensure that older males maintain finer fiber as they age.

We have chosen to be on case by case decision. Things to consider.

• Cost. Why spend money needlessly?

• Pain. Why cause a male to experience pain needlessly?

• Possible complications. Why risk infection or other problems?

• Castrated males do not lose their desire to mate. They only lose the ability to inseminate. When run together with females they will frequently mount them under cover of darkness. As their penis is cartilaginous, it is hard, sharp and corkscrew shaped. The mating is dissimilar to other mammals as the Alpaca penis does not stay in the vagina. Since breedings last 20-40+ minutes and the penis penetrate into both horns of the female’s uterus it does damage. Bleeding can be evident. Also, in the process of finding the vagina, the penis picks up dirt from the ground and introduces germs and bacteria into the female’s reproductive system. Repeated breedings can cause the female to experience infection, infertility and even death.

• While male hormones have been shown to increase fiber diameter in sheep there has yet to be a definitive and accurately run case study that shows that this is the same in Alpacas. There probably is no doubt that castrating males will help keep fiber finer, but for us the tradeoff is not worth it. Everyone can make their own decision on this topic.

• Other solutions. Improve your fencing and gate procedures to ensure there are no accidents. Re-pasture or re-home the aggressive male. Take them for a ride with their pen mates together. Find a cheaper solution.

• We believe that castrating males is only in the interest of the owner, not in the best interest of the male Alpaca. That’s our personal belief and we’re happy with it.

Castration Precautions

If you still want to utilize male Alpaca castration on your ranch, do not do it yourself unless you are a veterinarian. Alpacas do not have pendulous scrotums and should never be banded. The proper procedure is a surgical solution by an experienced camelid knowledgeable veterinarian.

If you do castrate a male Alpaca, you will find various recommendations about when to do it. The minimum age should be 18 months and preferably 24 months, but that should be tempered by their size and weight. We have read that castration of males at an earlier age (under 18 months, but especially prepubertal) has been shown in several species to delay the closure of long-bone physes. The danger is that geldings will develop a tall, straight legged stature, particularly in the hind limbs. Lateral patellar luxation and early onset of degenerative osteoarthritis of the stifle joints are also possible.


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Thursday, January 11, 2024