SAFETY TIPS FOR TRANSPORTING ALPACAS
Transporting alpacas short distances off-farm can be done safely. Use a proper transporting vehicle that you have checked for hazzards. And check out our loading and unloading alpaca information on this page.
We did not have extra money when we started our farm. A trailer was not in the budget.
When the first occasion for transporting alpacas arose, we put two in the back of our subaru. The alpacas cushed and traveled fine to the vet.
But when we stopped, one of the alpacas leaped up, hit his head and knocked himself out. This heart stopping event forced us to re-evaluate our alpaca transportation ways.
Getting a trailer for transporting alpacas was now a priority. We recommend putting it in your budget to start.
We bought a two horse trailer in very good condition for $800. Four adult alpacas can be transported safely in our trailer. Make sure that it has a good floor. You don't want your floor to fall out from under your alpacas during transportation.
We, also, had to make an emergency run to the vet with one of our alpacas. Time was of the essence and we did not feel we had enough of it to hook up the trailer. We put the alpaca and two humans in the back of our truck and took a fifteen minute drive to the vet in seven minutes.
Having your trailer already hooked up would be a great plus if you can. We use our truck for so many other things that it's not possible to keep it attached to the trailer. At least have it so that you can hook it up quickly.
The vet trip was a success and we took the ride back much slower. Transporting alpacas in a trailer is really the safest way to go.
Check alpaca trailers for any gaps that an animal might catch their leg in and injure themselves before you purchase the trailer.
A rubber mat makes the floor less slippery and safer for transporting alpacas.
Moving alpacas on hot days can be dangerous. Make sure your trailer has plenty of ventilation so your alpacas don't become overheated. And remove them from the trailer as quickly as you can so they do not become heat stressed in a stuffy trailer.
Be prepared for problems such as a flat tire or a vehicle break down on your trip. We always have halters and leads for every animal we are transporting. Have some way of tying your alpaca outside of the trailer should you need to remove them. We have different locations on the trailer we can tie a lead to.
We always transport a minimum of two alpacas. Remember these are herd animals and are stressed when removed from their herdmates. Bringing a friend along (don't bring ones that don't get along) makes everyone happy.
LOADING AND UNLOADING
When transporting, we load the experienced ones first. When the more reluctant ones see their herdmates already in the trailer, they are more willing to join them for the trip.
We don't rush our alpacas. Let them take their time finding their footing. If one is reluctant to go in, we have found that if you get their front feet up into the trailer the rest of the alpaca seems to follow.
To get their front feet in, have two people. One on each side of the alpaca. Each person reaches under the abdomen and around the chest and lifts.
We leave the halters on and remove the lead rope when transporting alpacas a short distance. That way we just need to reattach the lead when we get where we are going. But make sure there is nothing in the trailer on which the halter can get caught.
When unloading, check for safety hazzards. You don't want them to leap out onto something that can hurt them. We unload them one at a time. One person goes in the trailer to attach the lead and passes it to the outside person. The alpaca is safely tied before we remove the next alpaca.
Transporting alpacas is a necessary part of alpaca farming. As novice farmers, we made the mistake of not buying a trailer when we started our farm. Hopefully, by sharing our experience, we have saved someone else from making this mistake.
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