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 1. Alpacas 101: Getting Started
 Anyone had a choking alpaca?
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wannapaca

34 Posts

Posted - 10/21/2009 :  7:51:13 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
HEllo.
I am new to alpacas. When I feed alpacas, I always go through the feed and pick out suspicious pieces of molasses. Has anyone here had a problem with an alpaca choking? I'm still gonna check the feed, but I'm just asking. Did you ever have to use one of those tube things or is there usually time for a vet?
Thanks
wannapaca


rgoss1

663 Posts

Posted - 10/21/2009 :  8:15:50 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
What I've found is that choking is normally a result of the alpacas trying to gobble down their food too quickly. Thankfully, I've never had to resort to tubing or contacting the vet.

I normally keep a syringe filled with water and squirt a little water into the mouth of the alpaca that is choking. I then will rub their neck in one direction until the situation seems to have passed.

Some suggestions to avoid this is to insure that your alpacas have plenty of room to eat. Some people feed them with separate bowls while others add rocks to the feed to slow them down.

Hope this helps!

Roxanne Goss
Lands End Alpacas LLC
Vermilion, Ohio
gossr@roadrunner.com 440-225-4138
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phtiede

3 Posts

Posted - 10/21/2009 :  9:30:24 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
What size rocks are safe?

Pam
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bobvicki

2960 Posts

Posted - 10/21/2009 :  10:17:56 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ones that are to big for them to accidently get in there mouth while gobbling food would be good.

Bob

Bob & Vicki Blodgett
Suri Land Alpaca Ranch
3288 Halter Avenue
Newton, Iowa 50208
641-831-3576
alpaca@iowatelecom.net
www.alpacanation.com/suriland.asp
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rachshees

478 Posts

Posted - 10/21/2009 :  10:19:41 PM  Show Profile  Send rachshees an AOL message  Reply with Quote
we use the pellet food and sometimes they do choke. If you catch them doing it massage their neck upwards to bring the food back up. It will start dripping out of their mouth and they will be fine. I have had two girls that were serious. The one girl was at a show and she was down and I massaged her neck until she got it all out then we monitored her for a few hours. I just had another girl do this and she couldn't breathe so I went up to her and massaged it upwards and she started spitting it all out and yes it is nasty but its necessary to save them if they are really having problems.

Rachel Wingert
Rainbow Mountain Alpacs
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allamericanalpacas

4245 Posts

Posted - 10/21/2009 :  11:38:13 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
First, I need to correct Rachel. Choke should be corrected by massaging DOWN, not up.
Either direction may solve a choke, but massaging up has the risk of aspiration. It's also easier to go with normal flow than against it.
The massage should be very firm, on the left side of the neck.
Now to wannapaca. If your "feed" has visible molasses, you are using the wrong feed.
Use a pellet or crumble specifically for alpacas, or none at all.
Good hay and/or pasture is 99% of their diet, the rest is treats or to make up for what is missing in their diet


Rick
--
Rick & Pati Horn
All American Alpacas
35215 Avenida Maņana
Murrieta, Ca. 92563
951-217-0306
alpacanation.com/aaalpacas.asp
http://aaalpacas.com/updates.html
Life is Good!
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Pepperina

777 Posts

Posted - 10/22/2009 :  01:38:39 AM  Show Profile  Visit Pepperina's Homepage  Reply with Quote
We always mix our pelleted feed with either alfalfa or oaten chaff. We also moisten this (not soggy) - this helps minerals or seaweed meal stick to the feed and not fall to the bottom too.

The only two times I have had choke is when I had just pellets in a bucket making up a mix and both times hungry boys shoved their head in and got as big a mouthful as possible before it went in the cement mixer. Got smarter now and lock them out while I am making it up.

Regards Barbara _ Pepperina ALpaca QLD Australia

Pepperina Alpacas Forest Hill QLD Australia
Email pamas@bigpond.com
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highpeaksalpacas

1291 Posts

Posted - 10/22/2009 :  06:01:00 AM  Show Profile  Visit highpeaksalpacas's Homepage  Reply with Quote
We feed our alpacas in long, shallow troughs that flip down from the wall at feeding time..and back up afterwards. The food is spread thinly along the entire surface and the alpacas have more than ample room to eat w/o gobbling.

I have never witnessed an episode of choke.

I do know people who use rocks a bit smaller than your fist in their feeding areas which seems to naturally slow gobblers down.

Having space to eat and feed that is not piled deeply in a small container are two "musts" in my book.


Debbie
High Peaks Alpacas
Wilmington, NY
www.alpacanation.com/highpeaks.asp

You only live once...live with alpacas!
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wannapaca

34 Posts

Posted - 10/24/2009 :  11:37:05 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks guys!

Mission Hill Farm
Starting three adorable beautiful alpacas
Also breeds Dorking and Scots dumpy chickens
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TheAlpacaRosa

571 Posts

Posted - 10/25/2009 :  10:14:05 AM  Show Profile  Visit TheAlpacaRosa's Homepage  Reply with Quote
We have found that pelletized grain vary greatly in their incidence to cause choke. More fillers, more choke. Less fat, more choke. etc...
Find a pelletized feed that doesnt promote choke. I know of one of the highly advertised commonly used "chewable" pellet brands designed to lessen choke incidents , is ineffective with lowering choke incidents according to many user-breeders Ive talked to.
I can recommend two brands that we found to have no choke incidents. Golden Blend, and Armada Original.

Don
The AlpacaRosa

Don Marquette
The AlpacaRosa
Ohio
www.alpacanation.com/thealpacarosa
www.TheAlpacaRosa.com
http://alpacaguy.com
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vintagealpacas

701 Posts

Posted - 10/25/2009 :  8:30:57 PM  Show Profile  Visit vintagealpacas's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I also think that feeding the alpacas in troughs, I use PVC pipe cut in half and drilled onto the wall in 4 foot sections, helps the alpacas spread out their feed and they can't gobble it from a small pile. I am also convinced that alpacas that are not "starving" won't gobble, mine rarely gobble and rarely come running for the feed... they all understand the feed is plentiful and will be there for each one of them. No choke on my farm in 7 years.. and I use the Armada Vintage blend. I stopped feeding the grain most of the summer... saw no bad side effects, but have re-started my feeding program just 2 days ago and the alpacas don't seem like starving maniacs like so many I have seem.

Kim

Kimberly Rassi
Vintage Alpacas
alpacanation.asp/vintage
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rachshees

478 Posts

Posted - 10/26/2009 :  09:27:54 AM  Show Profile  Send rachshees an AOL message  Reply with Quote
Kim

Maybe your feed is not as tasty as ours. My girls come running in the morning and evening and they also come running if they believe someone is in the granery to feed them. They will check your pockets to make sure you are not trying to trick them too. They are feed hogs. They would (and have) eaten an entire garbage can at one time :) Ours are also looking for their treats too as we are giving them the hay stretcher treats and they love them this makes them loads more friendly.

Rachel Wingert
Rainbow Mountain Alpacas
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bobvicki

2960 Posts

Posted - 10/26/2009 :  10:56:32 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
I stopped feeding the grain most of the summer... saw no bad side effects, but have re-started my feeding program just 2 days ago and the alpacas don't seem like starving maniacs like so many I have seem.

Kim, this is your statement so the question is put to you regarding this although it is the type of statement made quite a bit by many people without supporting evidence: You quit grain for most of the summer and how did you gauge that you saw no bad side affects? Did you check weights weekly? Did you check for parasites more often? Did you do breedings and have them take on average the same as when getting the nutrients and vitamins from the pellets or grain or are you doing breedings now and having no changes? Were your alpacas on strictly pasture, Hay or both. Did you change your Hay or start using hay during this time? When do you normally give grain, morning or evening after they have grazed all day or both?

My experience is very similar to Rachel's, my alpacas can be eating fresh cut tender alfalfa and they will leave it if they think I'm putting pellets out.

Bob

Bob & Vicki Blodgett
Suri Land Alpaca Ranch
3288 Halter Avenue
Newton, Iowa 50208
641-831-3576
alpaca@iowatelecom.net
www.alpacanation.com/suriland.asp
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vintagealpacas

701 Posts

Posted - 10/26/2009 :  5:58:26 PM  Show Profile  Visit vintagealpacas's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I was hoping to see a bit of weight loss by reducing the grain which I started out doing in May, but with no weight loss I just plain cut out all the grain by July and still - no weight loss. I guess from what many people tell me it's the grass and hay that are the best calories for the animals... so I was under the impression that the grain was doing more than I thought. I have my animals on pasture 365 days a year...with rotation of course... and they get 3rd cutting VERY VERY nice hay (some in Ohio say it's the best hay they have ever seen) and since I share it with Canterbury farms I am positive it has been tested to death for the correct nutrient levels. I did not restrict hay in the summer and I was using about 3 bales per week for 70 animals. I did have to cut grass about 4-5 times this summer as the animals could not keep it low enough. Parasite issues were moderate and I am one who only treats when necessary. One breech birth out of 19 crias (1st one in 7 years) - nothing else unusual except that I got 16 female cria and only 3 males.

I had the fat taken out of my feed and more fiber put in as it is a custom blend and it saved me $3.00 per bag. It may not be the best tasting thing out there but my animals eat every bit eventually - and the feed tag tells me it is the most nuitritious feed out there(if I can believe what the tag says!). I don't have a set feeding time, it is whenever I feel like it. It works for me...and since I have few to none on vet issues I think it is working for the animals too. I spend on average $50 per animal on vet bills per year including all ultrasounds and pregnancy issues (if any). I am certainly not stating that others should stop feeding their animals grain, I simply made a statement about my routine and the fact that I have never had a choke incident...the animals are VERY well fed which I think has an effect on their personality/demeanor as they usually are just laying around chewing their cud under a shady tree somewhere on the property. I was feeding way too much grain and I think it was just a waste of money. Now I will feed once a day until it gets really cold... then I will go to twice a day... each time I just fill the feeders and I don't really calculate out any set amount...I let the animals tell me how hungry they are.

Kim

Kimberly Rassi
Vintage Alpacas
alpacanation.asp/vintage
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JimR

1046 Posts

Posted - 10/26/2009 :  7:44:14 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I had one of my boys spend the spring & summer at Kim's for breeding. We just got him back a couple weeks ago. He has never looked better since I have owned him. He is in super condition, and he bred many many girls this summer. So whatever Kim is doing it certainly works great.

Susan Rempe
Four Corners Alpacas
Bloomfield NM
River11524@msn.com
www.AlpacaNation.com/fourcorners.asp
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Shadyside Mike

36 Posts

Posted - 10/26/2009 :  8:47:15 PM  Show Profile  Visit Shadyside Mike's Homepage  Send Shadyside Mike an AOL message  Send Shadyside Mike a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
We are newer to alpacas and I can say we've seen choking first hand 3 times. I think that there may be something to really good tasting grain being both good and bad. Our boys our overly excited about the visit and the grain. We have moved into smaller servings and even feeding it on the ground rather than in bowls.

I wanted to say thanks to the individuals that talked about how to free up chokes as I learened something about applying pressure on the left side and about going down. We were taught up.

I did want to state that all but 1 choke was low and was not causing breathing problems. The one that was happened at a show and someone who figured it out helped us out.

As a final note, this is all related to grain not hay or pasture. We have never had any issue with either of those items with our alpacas and we do not go through the hay with a fine tooth comb. We do get quality hay that is grown for feeding alpacas so that may have something do to with it as well.

Best of luck.

Mike of Shadyside Alpaca Farm
Auburn, Indiana
mike@shadysidealpacas.com
http://www.shadysidealpacas.com
http://shadysidealpacafarm.blogspot.com
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bobvicki

2960 Posts

Posted - 10/26/2009 :  10:48:46 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Kim,
Your second post was so much more informative than your 1st one and so much better than:
quote:
I stopped feeding the grain most of the summer... saw no bad side effects,

which gave the impression that you arbitrarily decided to quit grain but that really wasn't the case.

quote:
nothing else unusual except that I got 16 female cria and only 3 males

Congratulations on that!

Bob

Bob & Vicki Blodgett
Suri Land Alpaca Ranch
3288 Halter Avenue
Newton, Iowa 50208
641-831-3576
alpaca@iowatelecom.net
www.alpacanation.com/suriland.asp
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vintagealpacas

701 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2009 :  08:22:54 AM  Show Profile  Visit vintagealpacas's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Yes, just not a chatterbox... also hate drama and typing!

Kim

Kimberly Rassi
Vintage Alpacas
alpacanation.asp/vintage
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rackapaca

663 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2009 :  2:51:58 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Mine are pellet pigs too. I have good hay available all the time - yet when I shake that pellet scoop they all run. Sometimes they leave a bit in the pans for snack later, but they always run and always act like they are starving. The hay was tested, it is good not great but probably the best I can get in my area. If I feed more pellet they don't eat the hay...wish I had the secret formula/balance. My pellet is from a local feed store not custom mixed.

Ruthann
Racka Paca Ranch
Kila, MT
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Christiane

2803 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2009 :  9:12:05 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I stopped feeding my adult boys(yearlings still get a little each day) grain early this year, mostly because they were all way too fat. They now look nice and trim. They all(girls as well as boys) come running when they see me with a bucket, but the boys only get an occasional treat, and then it is very little-maybe a 1/4 cup of the pellets. They always have hay where they can get to it, even in the summer. My girls get a cup of pellets each evening, and if I think somebody needs a little more, I add alfalfa pellets and/or shredded beet pulp. My animals don't like the beet pulp soaked in water--they like it dry.

Christiane Rudolf
Tanglewood Farm
19741 Victory Lane
Fayetteville, Ohio 45118
(513) 875-3739
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rackapaca

663 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2009 :  10:03:31 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have to ask on that beet pulp. I bought some last year and it says that you MUST put warm water on it. It expands about 5 times and then nobody wants it no matter how cold it is. Maybe what you are using is different?

Ruthann
Racka Paca Ranch
Kila, MT
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