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 Excessive drooling?
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40 Posts

Posted - 12/30/2006 :  10:30:05 AM  Show Profile  Visit Louise's Homepage
This is my first post but been reading a lot on this forum for months now. Please bear with me as I speak french so my English writing could seem "strange" at times for some of you. I think it's wonderful to have a forum such as this. We don't have such a place here. We live in Quebec, Canada, and the Alpaca business is just starting. In all Quebec, there is probably 4 breeders that I know of and that's about it. It took a year only to find a vet that has the knowledge of the alpaca and that was willing to work with us for our herd.

We just started with our first 4 female alpacas in August 2006. The girls are great and we truly love them. Always been an animal lover and when it comes to their well-being, I am probably considered as a "maniac". Sorry...can't help it!

That being said, here is (finally...), my first question:
One of my girls has been drooling excessively just after eating her morning pellets. The first time, it happened in late summer so I thought that she probably has been eating some kind of grass in the pasture, the day before, that was not ok for her. I checked her carefully for days but she never did that afterward.

This morning, it happened again, just after the pellet feed. She is a mom with a female cria at side and this time, mom and cria was drooling excessively. Cria is now 5 months old and she's eating pellets as well. Could not be the grass this time as we are in deep snow here. My other two females never did that.

Don't know if this could be the cause but when it's feeding time for the pellets, they are "sooooo..." excited, probably too much! They run like crazy and they push themselves over to eat in every bowl even if they have not finished their own...!!! My husband and I tried to stay in the middle during feed in order to keep them at their places with no luck. Although, they had never pushed us, humans. Along with this pushing of course, they spit at each other and my mom female seems to be the "boss" of the small herd. We always took care to install the feeding bowls far away apart from each other in order to avoid such behaviors but doesn't seems to work. They eat so fast.... The rest of the time, they all seem to enjoy each other's company. They all seem to be in very good health.

Would like to know if anybody had a similar experience with excessive drooling but furthermost, would like to know if this is normal. I was wondering what this particular behavior could mean.

Many thanks in advance for your help!

Louise Smith
Un Brin d'Alpagas / A Bit of Alpacas
Quebec, Canada

Jessie Schmoker

794 Posts

Posted - 12/30/2006 :  11:07:44 AM  Show Profile  Visit Jessie Schmoker's Homepage
Hi Louise,

Welcome to the forum!

My first thought is that maybe they were choking. Every now and then when one of our alpacas "inhales" their feed (pellet feed, as you mentioned), they get a wad stuck in their throat. They then work up large amounts of slimy green drool to work the wad up or down or out or whatever way it will go. After they clear the obstruction the drooling stops and they're ready to go on as if nothing happened, but it's scary to see, especially if you haven't seen it before!

Jessie Schmoker
Alpacas of St. Croix Valley
Somerset, WI
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399 Posts

Posted - 12/30/2006 :  2:41:15 PM  Show Profile  Visit sherih's Homepage
Welcome Louise,

Get yourselves a large spray bottle and fill it with water. When the stealing begins spray them in the face and loudly say "no"! They do learn and my piggies have learned the word no and now I don't always have to spray.

I work hard to discourage stealing because that means that some of them are getting too much and some not enough. When they are nursing cria they need all of their nutrition. Breeding males do too.

Sheri Hewitt
Woodland Meadows, LLC
Creswell, OR
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34 Posts

Posted - 12/30/2006 :  5:47:26 PM  Show Profile

I agree with Jessie, its probably choke. Moving her off at feeding time away from competition may or may slow her down. You can put some river rocks in her feeder so she has to nibble around them or put her grain on a flat surface so she can't gulp it down. You don't want her in a choke she can't drool her way out of, scary stuff.

Your English is quite fine.

Jeff Merrifield
Campo Feliz Alpacas

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44 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2006 :  2:05:00 PM  Show Profile
My first thought was that the drooling was the result of the spitting that was going on. My boys and girls drool for awhile after any spit activity. In addition they keep their mouth open so the drool just runs out. Guess they don't like the taste.
The first time I saw that reaction I was sure something was terribly wrong. I was visiting another farm at the time and learned that it was a normal reaction.

Sue Reimann
Alpaca Springs Farm
10250 High Street
Belgrade, Missouri 63622
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35 Posts

Posted - 01/05/2007 :  8:58:53 PM  Show Profile  Visit rjoberley's Homepage
It does sound like a choking problem, which can be scary the first time you witness it. I also agree with Sheri about using the spray bottle. It's the best training aid for fighting and gluttony. Remember "he who has the most spit wins"

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57 Posts

Posted - 01/11/2007 :  11:58:47 AM  Show Profile  Visit map0804's Homepage  Send map0804 a Yahoo! Message
I came home to find my male with his mouth hanging open and drooling. One of my females lip was hanging loose. I got my field manual out.... I think they had a big spat. I had never seen that before. I just knew they ate something they were not supposed to. I had a breeder coming over and she is very experienced and told me either choke, or fight. Since they were in the dry lot, I beleive fight. It was scary.... until I knew what was going on

Mary Blide
Larned, Ks
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Jessie Schmoker

794 Posts

Posted - 01/11/2007 :  1:08:30 PM  Show Profile  Visit Jessie Schmoker's Homepage
Mary, we had that experience too, when we got our very first boys. We went out to the barn and one of them had his lip hanging and he was drooling and breathing hard and of course we thought "Oh, no, he ate something poisonous!" Before rushing to make an emergency call to the vet, we contacted the people we bought one of our boys from and they suggested the possibility of a spit-fight. We felt dumb to say the least, but at least it was nothing serious!

Jessie Schmoker
Alpacas of St. Croix Valley
Somerset, WI

Edited by - Jessie Schmoker on 01/11/2007 1:08:54 PM
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40 Posts

Posted - 01/28/2007 :  3:04:20 PM  Show Profile  Visit Louise's Homepage
Thank you so much for your help. It really does seems like it was choking. We are now taking great care of spreading out the feed at the bottom of the feeder so they can't get too much at one time. They didn't choke since that last time and we also started to "take control" of the competition going on at feeding times. Seems to work to this day, hope it will continue.

Thanks again for your help!


Louise Smith
Un Brin d'Alpagas / A Bit of Alpacas
Quebec, Canada
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The Paca Factory

592 Posts

Posted - 01/28/2007 :  5:09:58 PM  Show Profile  Visit The Paca Factory's Homepage
Might I suggest seperate bowls. We give each animal a seperate bowl and put about 1-2 feet between them. I have also heard of putting large rocks in the bowls so they have to move them around to get all they're food so they can't dig in and get mouth fulls. Good luck. Linda

David & Linda Bradley
The Paca Factory
Durand, Mi.
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294 Posts

Posted - 01/28/2007 :  10:05:18 PM  Show Profile  Visit AbenakiAcres's Homepage
The separation between bowls was key for us as well to stop the competition and rushing through the food - we also include one extra bowl in the pen to make sure if an alpaca gets pushed off a bowl by another they can find an open one easily. Also we make sure the bowls are at about 12-15 inches from the floor rather than higher - the lower head position while feeding seems to reduce the arguing over the food - especially with the males.


Bill & Elizabeth Johnson
Abenaki Acres Farm, LLC
Sergeantsville, NJ
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