Plum Creek Alpacas

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That Smelly Green Stuff

Spit happens. And some of your alpacas may spit at you more willingly than others. But you’ll encounter it and most at feeding time. An Alpaca that will raise its head while lowering its neck should be a sure indicator of what they have in mind. Many times, you can simply raise your hand to their face to discourage what you know is coming. At worst, this allows them to spit on your hand rather than your face.

Spitting is an Alpaca’s first line of defense. It’s a social mechanism. Smaller ones may be quicker to spit than larger ones because they are tired of getting picked on. Alpacas raised in a large herd situation and brought to your smaller herd may instinctively spit to express their dominance. That’s what they grew up knowing. Don’t take offense. And try to see the humor when you end up with a green face rather than getting mad.

The spit causes their lips to hang loosely as their stomach acid numbs their lips. Don’t worry. It usually passes in 10 minutes or so. It can cause an issue at feeding time as those with numbed lips may miss out. And if they nose around in various feed bowls others will likely pass on eating feed that has been tainted by their spotty lips. Don’t throw it out. Just mix it with fresh feed the next day.


Alpacas can and do kick. Since they have pads and toenails the worst you can get is a bruise. Unless your head and eyes are down in that range and worse damage is possible. Always be vigilant to this reaction to their space being invaded. Sometimes it is a simple pass near their hindquarters that is enough to set them off. If you have children visiting always emphasize their responsibility to keep the children in tow and away from their rears or from running up and scaring them.

Watch your feet during herd health. Good shoes or boots with a strong topside will protect you from a strong stomp. Hematomas have been experienced here at our ranch.

Other Reactions

Alpacas can respond to a sense of danger. One response is an Alarm call that sounds like a strange donkey braying. This causes a herdwide reaction and they all run together seeking and searching for the perceived threat.

Another response might be to stomp a small threat to death. If you have a small dog, be aware of this, especially when you have crias that are nursing. Lactating dams can be extremely protective of their offspring.

If all else fails Alpacas will resort to taking flight. Keep holes in your pasture filled in to help prevent sprained ankles and other joints. We’ve found out that dogs will not continue to dig in the same spot if their poop is placed on top of the hole, you just filled in.


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Thursday, January 11, 2024