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Bulletin No. 39 : Various matters


Although camelids are strong, fit animals and used to extremes in temperature, they are not used to the type of weather we have been experiencing lately in the UK.

If you are expecting cria, please make sure you have cria coats to keep the little ones warm and dry. If you can put both Mum and cria undercover for the first 24 hours, until the cria has completely dried off and is getting sustenance from Mum, this would be advisable. If you are unable to house your cria, keep a good eye on it and make sure it is not suffering.


A meeting has been arranged for July 10th at Stoneleigh Park to discuss the badger cull with the NFU. The NFU are the organization who is coordinating the cull. If you would like to attend this meeting, please do let me know ASAP. I will then send you the agenda and the timings. We don’t have these yet!


I have been asked by the education arm of DEFRA to give them details of anyone who would be willing to give students an opportunity to gain practical experience of working with camelids. If you would be happy to give a student a placement for as short or as long as you wish, please let me know.

Lice infestations of livestock are usually seen during winter but due to the weather conditions over the last winter and now with a wet and humid summer, we have had reports of both sucking and biting lice found on camelids. Lice cause intense itching resulting in damage to hides and fleece from scratching. Lice are usually host specific and can be divided into blood sucking (Anoplura) and biting (Mallophaga) lice. They spend their entire lifecycle on the host.
Mange or scabies in livestock is a skin condition caused by microscopic mites in or on the skin. The mites cause intense itching and discomfort which is associated with decreased feed intake and production. Scratching and rubbing results in extensive damage to hides and fleece.
Mites are able to cause mange on different species of livestock but are somewhat host specific, thus infecting some species more severely than others.
The three most important types of mange are:

    Please check your animals regularly for signs. If you are at all worried, call your vet. He may well take skin samples to identify the problem. Both mites and lice can be treated but it is also very contagious so treat early if you have a problem.

    So far we have not had any reports of Schmallenberg Virus in camelids. Please inform me if your vet diagnoses it in your herd.


    We have been informed that, in South West County Durham, five Alpacas were stolen through the night on 25thJune. A mature brown pregnant female, two female yearlings’ - one dark brown the other lighter brown, a young entire male apricot, and a white castrated male aged 3. Two of their other females had given birth through the night (presumably a result of the stress)! They are much loved family pets and their owners are devastated. They would be really grateful for notification of any animals being offered for sale, or any details you think might help locate them.
    If you have any information then please contact Yvonne Wilkinson on 01388 710749 or mobile 07535 696480


    Over the last few months, I have received a number of camelid auction catalogues. I would like to remind all camelid owners that the camelid industry comes under the Welfare of Animals Act, and transporting animals in their last 10% of pregnancy and/or with new born is not permitted in the livestock industry. Camelids are not classed as livestock at present, but the British Veterinary Camelid Society (BVCS) recommend we come under the same legislation as the livestock industry and we certainly are covered under the Welfare of Animals Act. Please think about the welfare of your dams if you have to transport them during the last 10% of their pregnancy. This should only be done on advice from your vet.

    I have received two telephone calls recently from people who have purchased camelids at auction to find that either the following day or a couple of weeks later, the female has produced a cria! Thank goodness these new owners were good enough to contact The British Llama Society for help.


    Unless we have a spell of bright, warm weather, hay could well be in short supply again. The grass has grown but it is a case of getting on the land due to the wet weather. It is a good idea, if you have to buy your hay in, to pre-order from your local farmer. He will be able to give you a better idea, going on where you live, as to the availability of hay.

    Vice Chairman BLS & Health & Welfare Representative
    Nutfield Park Farm, South Nutfield, REDHILL, Surrey
    Tel: 01737-823375

    British Llama Society - a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England no. 04897204.
    Registered office: Mansion House, Princes Street, Yeovil, Somerset BA20 1EP.