Friday 24 February 2023

Sad Tidings

Sadly, last Saturday I found two of our alpacas dead in their pasture. This leaves just Ted, the alpaca, and Bert (sheep). I immediately called the local livestock vet to check on Ted and Bert, our remaining boys. However, we had to wait several hours for a visit. After examination, he declared the boys healthy, but as a precaution gave them a cocktail of drugs even though he was unsure why our other livestock had died. The weather was extremely hot and although our stock could not have been dead more than 24 hours, they were already attracting a myriad of flies and starting to stink. I wanted to wait, before internment, to see if the vet could provide a diagnosis. I had managed to secure a mechanical digger on short notice and therefore made the decision to bury our boys before the vet could attend. 

So what could have killed our two, apparently healthy-looking, boys? Just the day before we had been hand-feeding our stock and they looked fine. The only recent change in their routine had been the week before when they all received their annual cut and drench (anthelmintics). The drench contains chemicals to kill off internal parasites that all stock animals are prone to. There is nothing to suggest that the chemicals contained in the drench solution would cause harm as they are specifically formulated for alpacas. I did a little research to see if the presence of certain plant species could prove fatal if ingested. I scoured the pasture and couldn't identify any potentially poisonous plant species.

I'm at a loss to understand what could have killed our boys. Anyway, we are monitoring our two surviving livestock and keeping a close eye on their demeanour and general health.  


  1. Oh Bugger. Sheep usually die of pure spite and because they can. Once we found one of ours in a tree... A nearby cliff may have been involved... However, I am afraid to say that that is no help to you. I know nothing of Camelids, but if it was as hot as you say, could it have been that they hadn't drunk enough? I know it's daft, but it is apparently possibe to not realise you are thirsty in extreme conditions and fall over due to not drinking.

    1. Yea, the water availability is something we are on to. We make sure our boys have access to abundant sources of water.

  2. Hi Flax, so sorry to hear that. alpacas are lovely creatures. sympathy for the loss.