Robin’s 6 T’S for Desensitizing Your Cria
Each day when we weigh each cria we perform the following steps to help ensure our alpacas grow up to be easily handled and managed for routine care. Here's what we do and why.
TIPS of ears. Very often this is where fly strikes show up and many dark colored animals need to have ointment applied to ears. We rub and wiggle the ears. We also stroke the necks.
TEETH. All alpacas should have their bite and teeth inspected regularly. Boy alpacas should have their fighting teeth trimmed. Sometimes front teeth also need trimming to facilitate eating. Animals shown have their teeth checked in the ring. We say the word “TEETH” and display the bite.
TEATS. (females). At some point in a female’s life it will probably be necessary to strip the waxy plugs out of her teats to help a cria nurse, to check her for milk or mastitis, or to actually milk her. We feel and gently touch each teat.
TAILS & TESTICLES. Females often have their tails wrapped for breeding. And a prepurchase exam or show judge should inspect for kinked tails. We squeeze and feel along the tail. Also, purchase inspections or show competitions check the reproductive parts under the tail. We touch the area, and feel for testicles, and gently squeeze them.
TOES. All alpacas need their toenails trimmed regularly. This needn’t be a battle. We balance the alpaca cria on four legs with a hand on the shoulder exerting light downward pressure and use the word “STAND.” Then we pick up one foot and use the command “LIFT” and the cria learns to re-balance and stand there. We squeeze and hold the foot as long as a nail trimming would take. We do all four feet. We stroke up and down the legs as well.
Luna Rosa Ranch Suri Alpacas
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