Updated: Nov 14, 2021
If you haven’t already, we highly recommend checking out last month’s blog on handling and halter training your alpacas, as this will come in handy when transporting your herd.
This hot topic has recently come to the attention of people both within and outside of the alpaca world, with the stories of Geronimo the alpaca’s movement and slaughter repeatedly hitting the headlines. It therefore felt poignant to write about the correct procedure for transporting alpacas safely.
Correctly Fitting a Halter
Make sure to use a halter that is specifically designed for alpacas. It should fit snuggly just beneath the eyes – if it is too far down it can cause suffocation, as it squeezes the soft part of the nose. If you find that your alpaca 'plays up' or is 'naughty' on a headcollar, check that the fitting is right, as the naughtiness could actually be them struggling to breathe properly.
Top Tip: Alpacas like to sit down in a cush position when travelling, so they should never be tied during the journey.
The Transportation Vehicle
Horseboxes, cow trailers or specially modified vans are commonly used for transporting alpacas.
The trailer should be large enough for the alpaca to walk into and stand, as well as having lots of light and adequate ventilation.
A non-slip floor should be present – if this is not the case, rubber matting can be put down to aid grip.
An appropriate ramp should be available for loading and unloading the alpacas in a safe manner.
Hygiene is an important factor, so the flooring and walls of the trailer should be solid and washable, to allow for disinfecting between each transit.
Typically, straw is put down to provide comfort, as well as helping to soak up any urine during transport.
Hay nets should never be used whilst transporting alpacas as there is a risk of them becoming entangled, which could potentially cause strangulation.
Top Tip: Always carry a bucket, water, food, headcollars and leashes in case of a breakdown or emergency, so that you can provide feed and water to the alpacas and move them safely if needed.
The Logistics of Transporting Alpacas
Plan your route carefully to avoid delays and keep the travel time to a minimum. The law dictates that animals can only travel up to a maximum of 9 ours in any 24-hour period, so make sure you do not exceed this.
As we all know, grown male and female alpacas should ideally be kept separate – so it is important to consider this when planning to move your alpacas.
Make sure that the alpacas you intend to transport are fit enough to travel.
Transporting heavily pregnant females or dams that have just unpacked should be avoided wherever possible.
If transporting dams and their cria, ensure they are kept together throughout the journey.
Farm animals such as cows, sheep and goats require movement forms when being transported, but alpacas do not require movement forms. However, it is wise to keep a record for yourself of movements on and off your land. The British Alpaca Society provides a record book to its members and includes a section for this information.
Click here to discover more about us and our alpaca family. You can also stay with our herd at Hush Hush Glamping – click here to find out more! Keep an eye out for next month’s blog on how to safely transport alpacas…
Featured Image Source: Ifor Williams Trailers