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Halter Training Alpacas

Halter training can begin around weaning time at 5 - 6 months of age. It is best to train 2 or 3 together (you will need a second person to help you) so they are more willing leave the main group to go for a wander with you - alpacas are very social animals and get stressed when alone.

Remember that patience is key when handling and halter training your herd. Even if you have purchased well behaved alpacas, they need time to trust you as their new owner in their new surroundings. Always respect an alpaca’s space and tolerances. Some alpacas enjoy being on a halter, whereas others simply aren’t cut out for it and for those alpacas, it's less stressful for everyone and kinder for the alpaca to demote them from any trekking duties. 

Use specific alpaca halters to ensure they fit correctly as alpacas are semi-obligate nasal breathers (they must be able to breathe through their nose) and and an incorrectly fitting halter can affect their ability to do this. They can be purchased from Homestead Farm Supplies. Here is a guide to sizing:

  • Small is suitable for cria aged 6 - 12 months

  • Medium will fit most adults

  • Large fits large males or females

  • Some alpacas may need 2 sizes pre and post shearing

 

10 steps to catch & restrain your alpaca, fit a headcollar & start training:

  1. Pen your alpacas into ae enclosed area.

  2. Quietly & slowly approach your alpacas from the side, before gently placing your hand on their rear which usually causes them to stand still - but be aware that they can kick!

  3. Slide your hand up to their neck whilst stepping closer and bring your arm around their neck - almost like giving them a little hug.

  4. If you are not already, stand on their left, as this is the side the headcollar will fasten.

  5. Show the headcollar and gently put the nose hole over their muzzle - when used to the process, they may put their nose in for you!

  6. Bring the strap round the back of the neck, close to the ears & fasten.

  7. Check the headcollar fits properly and is not squashing the nose.

  8. Clip on the lead rope and stand with your alpaca for a couple of minutes - expect tantrum like behaviour (throwing themselves around, lying down, rolling about). It's a brand new experience for them, so the first few sessions will likely go like this until they get used to the feeling of the headcollar (it's a little like a puppy and a new collar). Repeat this a few times.

  9. Then progress to feeding them from your hand/a scoop when they have the headcollar on.

  10. Then introduce a couple of steps at a time between getting food and increase the amount of steps each session.

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Learn How To Look After Alpacas

If you wish to embark on the rewarding journey of alpaca keeping, whether as newcomers to the field or prospective owners, and you desire to possess the confidence and knowledge to maintain their optimal health, your search concludes here! Choose from the learning opportunities below, which have been crafted to provide you with a wealth of alpaca husbandry knowledge and understanding. This foundation will ensure a successful and fulfilling alpaca venture.

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