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 1. Alpacas 101: Getting Started
 male suddenly very aggressive with other males
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speach

4 Posts

Posted - 12/27/2013 :  09:49:31 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
We have had a small herd of alpacas for about 5 months now, and are perplexed by the behavior of a 10 year old male. We purchased them as a group from the same farm, so they'd been together for some time prior to coming to us.

The 3 females and gelded llama arrived first, and settled in nicely. About 6 weeks later the 5 males arrived, and were placed in a separate pasture where they also appeared to settle in well.

After about a week, we placed the herdsire in with the 3 girls for breeding, in a pasture right across the laneway from the boys. As soon as the herdsire was gone, the behavior of one of our males changed. He began obsessively pacing the fenceline, obviously very interested in what was going on across the lane. If any of the other boys came near, he would scream and give chase, and generally get very nasty with them.

At first we let things alone, thinking it was best to let them work it out for themselves, but when one of our smaller males went down because the aggressive one wasn't letting him near the water, we moved the bad boy out to his own paddock next door to them.

After the females were bred, we tried putting the males together again, thinking that having the herdsire back would put the aggressor in his place. Unfortunately he continued his aggression, chasing and attacking all the other males, and again pacing at the fence looking over towards the females.

Since they were all pregnant, and had their guard llama with them, we decided to try putting the aggressor in with them, thinking they would put him in his place. That worked to some degree as the girls would have nothing to do with him and he didn't bother them at all, but now he was obsessively pacing that fence line as if he wanted to get back in with the boys and bother them again!

Finally about a month ago we decided to place them all together in the winter pasture. It was just easier in terms of water, and since the females were all pregnant we wanted to see if putting him a true herd situation would settle him down.

After a short adjustment period he did seem to calm down a little, but only briefly. He's now "guarding" the entrance to the area where the shelter and hay are located, and while the girls and llama aren't bothered by him, he attacks any of the males who try to pass through. He also charges them at random, and in particular at our poor herdsire. He is 14 and has been battling an eye infection as well as having some issues with weight, so we're afraid he's under a lot of stress.

The other males don't pick on each other, and seem to respect the herd hierarchy, but this one male is just so aggressive. I've searched all over the internet but the only thing I keep coming up with is "berserk male syndrome." He is not at all aggressive towards humans, and there is nothing in his history to suggest that he was improperly socialized. His previous owners are completely baffled as he has never displayed this type of behavior previously.

We are planning to move him out of the main pasture as he has torn a few ears and now we are wondering if the herdsire's eye infection is the result of an injury sustained during one of his fights. Even though he'll be within sight of the others animals, we worry about putting him alone, yet he is so aggressive towards the others that we don't feel it's safe to have them together.

I've had mixed opinions about gelding him, with plenty of people saying there's no guarantee that it will settle him down. As newbies we are quite concerned about what to do. We are not planning to breed alpacas for sale, just wanted to have a few younger ones since some of these guys are getting older and we want the fibre for our own use. But now we are just beside ourselves and wondering if we've made the right choice!

Has anyone experienced something similar? I really do not want to have to put down this animal, and am hoping there is another solution. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

bobvicki

2967 Posts

Posted - 12/27/2013 :  10:48:37 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It sounds to me like he wants to be the "Herd-sire", and as long as he is near enough to see the girls he will continue his behavior.

If I read and understand your writings, you have placed all the alpacas together since the females are all pregnant guessing about 3 months based on what you wrote. This causes another problem because if any of the pregnancies slip this male or one of the others will then breed that female. If the male is one you would use anyway no big deal here either. The problem will be not knowing an approximate due date to be looking for and being ready for a birth. Depending on where in the world you are you may not want December-March births because of the weather. Additional problems will be with registration, extra costs for submitting additional sire candidates if the 1st 2 listed don't match.

Maybe you can move him by himself where he can't see the females, then put him back in with the males, again as far from the females as possible.

You mentioned ripped ears, so maybe you need to check all the males for fighting teeth, if they haven't been trimmed in a while they may need it immediately. Your vet can do it or you can do it yourself. It isn't hard to do.

You can also place a bucket/tub of water away from the main source so while he may prevent access there the others can still get water, this might also help with calming or preventing some of the fighting.

Last resort, if you want to use him on females is to place him by himself, while they are "herd" animals, some males just don't get along with others.

Bob

Bob & Vicki Blodgett
Suri Land Alpaca Ranch
10371 N 2210 Road
Clinton, Oklahoma 73601
641-831-3576
alpaca@htswireless.com
www.alpacanation.com/suriland.asp
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speach

4 Posts

Posted - 12/27/2013 :  11:07:06 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the reply Bob. Earlier today we decided to move the girls and the gelded llama to new quarters as we didn't want to stress them, and we suspected one of the girls may no longer be pregnant as the boys have taken a new interest in her and she had separated herself a little from the other girls. So I feel better about that part.

We've also moved the aggressive boy into a separate paddock with the biggest male. This was after he busted through a fence board in another paddock to try to get to the girls after we first took them out!

Unfortunately with our current setup we don't have any place to completely separate the females from the one male so that he can't see her. But the paddock he's in now has sturdier fencing reinforced with wire, so hopefully he'll at least stay put.

Fingers crossed that the big boy will put the feisty little guy in his place, but if not then I think we may try gelding him to see if that makes a difference. As I said we're not intending to breed alpacas for sale, so really we only need one breeding male in case we'd like to produce more fibre.

Any other thoughts or suggestions most welcome!
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alpacastarr

688 Posts

Posted - 12/28/2013 :  09:05:45 AM  Show Profile  Visit alpacastarr's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Based on what you've said, I'd geld him right away. I don't favor gelding as a general rule as long as there is peace and harmony in the boys club but it has it's time and place when behavior is a problem. I think you and all the alpacas will be happier not having to deal with all the drama trying to accommodate this stud wannabee. It takes a while for the behavior to settle down so you'll want to keep him separated for a few months.

Starr

Starr
Venezia Dream Farm
Candler, NC
http://alpacanation.com/farmsandbreeders/03_viewfarm.asp?name=11404
http://www.veneziadream.com/
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bobvicki

2967 Posts

Posted - 12/28/2013 :  1:32:38 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I agree with Starr based on your updated post. There is no reason to put up with working around this males attitude if you really don't plan on using him other than fiber.

Bob



Bob & Vicki Blodgett
Suri Land Alpaca Ranch
10371 N 2210 Road
Clinton, Oklahoma 73601
641-831-3576
alpaca@htswireless.com
www.alpacanation.com/suriland.asp
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speach

4 Posts

Posted - 12/28/2013 :  2:03:11 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks to both of you for the input. I'll be calling the vet on Monday to ask about gelding.
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picassofarms

36 Posts

Posted - 12/30/2013 :  1:42:19 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
We had a very similar situation arise with a male we've had since birth. He became overly aggressive to both other males and humans. We gelded him. Our vet said she never had a male need so much sedative to knock out for the procedure. While he was down, we did his fighting teeth and I finished shearing him, which we couldn't do either. It wasn't two days before he was back to being the alpaca we all loved since birth. As a matter of fact, he bacame such a big baby that he knows to run behind me or hubby so our breeding male can't get to him. Now, on the other side of this, our breeding male isn't human aggressive but he is with the other males he shares the yard with. I don't so much worry about them in the yard, there's room for everyone to get away and the food and water are spread out so he cannot dominate to the point of starvation, etc. (I keep both away from any gates). When they come inside for their kibble, my breeder is trained to go into his stall and eat and he spends his nights locked in there while the rest of the males have run of the barn in peace. Note, the kibble is given very sparingly and is used to teach/control their behavior, etc. I'm not one for gelding either, but it was either geld or put him down, selling wasn't a safe option, so we are happy to have our fun-loving boy back. Good luck~

Jeanne Griffin
Picasso Farms
Pecatonica, Illinois
Breeders of Mother Nature's Colorful Criations.
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