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Alpaca Training

 
 
 

December 1, 2004 . Training for Beginners

 
 

Alpaca Training
We have just started out a new business with alpacas and are very inexperienced. We have a herd of four, two younger females and their cria. Our Alpacas are uncomfortable with people, cannot be
caught easily and do not like to be touched. We recently received them from someone with a huge herd in which they were handled only when necessary. My question is, where should I start in their handling and training to have the best outcome for both the alpacas and us?



Alpaca Training

Join the club. Most alpacas are uncomfortable with people. Primarily because most people still grab their alpacas by the neck. The good news is that when you stop grabbing them they will settle down very quickly.

My suggestion is that you begin with your barn design. I wrote an article which is posted on my website titled "Let your Facilities do your Training for You". There is perhaps no better way to create a sense of safety for your animals than a well designed barn and pasture arrangement. Time spent
organizing your facilities with non forceful handling in mind is time much better spent than time chasing and wrestling with your animals.

You should be able to call or herd all your animals into a small contained catching area so that they never worry about being grabbed when you are just visiting in the pasture with them. Don't reach out and touch your alpacas when you are just walking amongst them. We think we will "desensitize" them by repeated touching in fact with frightened nervous animals we only teach them to stay further away from us. Only touch your alpacas in the catch pen after you have caught them with a rope and then touch them on the side you are standing on instead of reaching around the neck.

Reaching around the neck is guaranteed to make your alpaca nervous; too much like being grabbed and held. Put yourself in their place. They feel as if they are in an alien environment—they don't speak the language and they don't know what is going to happen next. Do your best to behave consistently and
safely and they will love you for it.

More on a step by step training program is available in "The Camelid Companion"

Marty

 

 

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