- Finding ticks in our alpaca’s ears used to be our biggest problem. I did some research on how to keep the barnyard more insect free and came up with a few solutions. I know many farmers and ranchers depend on their guineas to keep ticks and other insects under control. Guinea fowl are wonderful additions to the barnyard and veggie garden. Guineas eat the larvae and nymphs that eventually turn into adult ticks. When allowed to free range, the diet of adult guineas consists of 90% bugs and weed seeds. The other 10% is the feed you provide. Using guineas is a safe alternative to chemical treatments and reduces the population of ticks.
- Lice infestation of alpacas is widespread in Australia, albeit at low levels, and its presence is usually detected in herds at shearing time. Lice are species specific, meaning that camelid lice only infect camelids, cattle lice only infect cattle and sheep lice only infect sheep. There are two genuses of camelid lice, namely the biting or chewing louse, Bovicola spp. (Figure 1), and the sucking louse, Microthoracius spp. The former genus of lice feed superficially on the skin, the latter penetrate the skin and feed on tissue fluids.
- Parasite larvae live in the lower 2 cm of grass AND need water to survive (dew, rain). Longer pastures enable alpacas to graze away from the worm larvae and reduce worm pick-up!
- Use drenches most effective on your property: ideally those that are 98% effective, as shown by a drench test. Especially important for strategic summer drenches in winter rainfall regions.
- There are solutions to the spread of BVDV and other infectious diseases. We can extrapolate from other livestock species’ proven methods to protect and treat alpacas. Finally, we can develop alpaca-specific, protective protocols and treatments.