We have a male who's personality has changed dramatically since he
was shorn. He was sweet, lovable and a great PR animal before
shearing day. Now he is difficult to manage (aggressive), likes
his hind legs way too much and is frustrating us to no end because
we fear him hurting the other animals or one of us. We have had to
put him in a separate paddock.
This all started when he was boarding on another farm after they
had him sheared. The behavior continued when we relocated him. We
have since gelded him and the behavior continues. What's with this
guy? Any help would be appreciated!
I think the shearing is a red herring. I think the problem was already in place long before the shearing.
Alpacas that are described as sweet and lovable are often actually pushy and pre aggressive and people new to alpacas do not have enough experience to understand the difference.
Young alpacas that leave the herd to interact with humans sniffing inappropriately leaning on humans and following them around are heading for trouble.
Unfortunately, new alpaca enthusiasts are often "taken"
with these animals and end up really being taken!
The pushy pre aggression doesn't become full on aggressive
behavior until the animal reaches puberty. All breeds of
livestock, particularly males, need to be raised with boundaries
and discipline- despite their appearance, they are not teddy
It is not fair or effective to treat them differently when they
are babies and then change the rules when they are teenagers.
Aggressive adult alpacas are dangerous. I consider breeders
to be irresponsible when they allow young males to behave badly
and then sell them to unsuspecting newbies.
I would suggest that you seek redress from the person you
purchased him from. Good for you for gelding him.
That may help but you won't really know to what extent until
some time (up to a year) has gone by. In the meantime, you
must guard against him hurting anyone by managing him very
How to manage him and work with him to change his behavior is too involved for this format. I have written many articles over the years about this problem and how to work with animals that are either beginning to be aggressive or are already there. The article the
Novice Handler Syndrome can be read on my website and I also address this issue in detail in my book the Camelid Companion.
~ Marty McGee Bennett