It's that time again. For those breeders who don't drip feed vitamins to their alpacas throughout the year, it is time to bring out the winter supplements.
You can get the required vitamins into your herd by sub-cutaneous injection or orally using a gel. Whichever method you decide upon, keep the regime going until around April next year. Vitamins are important for young alpacas (cria and yearlings) as their bones are still forming and without the required vits, they are prone to rickets, a skeletal disorder which is both painful and damaging.
Alpacas with dark or black fleeces are particularly vulnerable to vitamin deficiency as their colour precludes the necessary absorption of UV rays throughout the summer. It is exposure to sunlight and UV rays which promotes the production of vitamin D via the skin - and lets be honest, we haven't had a great deal of sunshine this year!
Pregnant alpacas need support too as they are under additional stress throughout the winter. They have to keep warm, grow fleece and maintain themselves and, at the same time, grow a healthy cria for next years birthing season.
It's not just being kind, it's a welfare issue, regular winter vitamins go a long way in the name of good husbandry.
Which vitamins do alpacas need?
Injectable vitamins are usually supplied as vitamins A, D and E
I have used this type but now opt for the easy to use pink gel, which is squirted gently into the alpacas mouth and then swallowed. Many of my girls actually lick it from the drench gun so it can't be too bad! I give 10ml per adult every 4 weeks from now until April. I purchase the gel from a very reliable company called eggsport http://www.eggsport.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=87&..
The gel is formulated for alpacas and contains vitamins A, C D, E, B12 and K.
Healthy 'pacas are happy 'pacas