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Maintaining Good Herd Records

No matter how frenetic outside life becomes, or indeed how much the sun shines, it is important to take time for the "boring" bit! Record keeping! No matter whether you have 2 or 200 alpacas, record keeping is essential. Not only will good record keeping enable you to manage your time and your herd efficiently, but will be of great benefit when a potential buyer asks for medical and breeding history on the alpaca they are considering buying. There are several categories of records you will want maintain. Read on for more information.

Health and Management Records

This category covers everything that goes on with the Alpacas. You should record details of all the following things:

  • Medical treatments, whether administered by you or your vet. This will include all on-going treatments as well as one-offs. This is vital for spotting recurrent problems within both individuals and your herd. If we as breeders, large or small, are all conscientious we should one day be able to collate our knowledge and share it with others. We will discover and learn more about these animals if we record our observations and treatments, no matter how inconsequential they seem - they could be a fundamental cog in the bigger picture!

  • The health records will also record the date of vaccinations, de-worming, vitamin injections, and any other medication.

  • Toenail trimming, shearing, teeth trimming.

  • Movements around the farm. (As your herd grows you will find it useful to keep a written record of where each Alpaca is.)

Weights Records

Alpacas are very stoic animals and weight is a very good way of monitoring health. It can determine many things from readiness for mating (when coupled with DOB) to poor growth in a cria. Develop a protocol for weighing and body scoring and stick with it.

Breeding Records

You should develop a system of recording all breeding activities for each production alpaca. This should include the date and record of activities such as breeding, tease testing, ultrasounds, etc. You should also record the confirmed conception date so that you will know when the female is due.

Alpaca health record keeping is a very important part of your farming or ranching operation. Whether you keep records with a pen and paper or on a computer, your information should include: registration data, weight entries, medicines, dosage rates, breeding history, notes, etc. for each alpaca. Alpaca record-keeping software programs are available that are user friendly and very helpful. Printouts of these records can be kept in a notebook and used in the barn while you are working with your alpacas. Good records are critical in working with your vet since both of you will be sharing in the care of your herd. Before you get busy with spring tasks, take some time to update your alpaca herd records. You'll be glad you did!


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