OCTOBER 2017: As a result of us walking alpacas with the public, we decided to undertake a surveillance test for our alpaca and llama walking team plus a representative sample from each of our alpaca/llama groups using the Emferplex test. This equated to a third of our herd and is part of our commitment to professionalism and excellence. We had a completely clear test with no single antigen positive (or above!) results for either our alpacas or llamas.
Biosecurity has become a buzzword in the alpaca community in recent times, but we have been taking most of these precautions for the last ten years. Our herds health speaks for itself, and we keep records of all vaccinations, wormers and any other health issues on a day to day basis - whether it is eye ointment or a sore foot that we are medicating for.
In every way, we try to minimise stress to our alpacas in their daily management, whether moving from farm to farm or going to biosecure shows. We believe the best defence against disease caused through stress are the day-to-day respectful ways we manage our alpacas. We have NEVER had a problem with an alpaca becoming sick after leaving our farm. In addition we have had the full bank of tests carried out on the alpacas we have exported (always clear) and even offered to (and carried out) further tests over and above what was required by the requisite National Authorities.
We quarantine any alpaca arriving on Spring Farm for a minimum of one month – when bringing new alpacas into our herd (in practice this is only stud males). Where different, if coming from abroad, the alpacas would be quarantined for 6 months and then quarantined for at least a further month upon arrival onto our farm. In reality, it is our intention (except in the case of stud males) to grow only by organic means.
No feed containers are left out in the field as our alpacas are fed individually from buckets. All of our water troughs are raised off the ground and cleaned regularly. Our farm has no public footpaths on it, and any visitors to Spring Farm are asked to disinfect their footwear. We maintain our fields and yard area in the most hygienic manner. We have NEVER had any infectious or contagious disease on the farm – nor any disease that would require being vaccinated against.
Visiting stud males only come to our farm for drive-by mating purposes. Except for the mating pens, they are kept separate from our herd and they never graze or live on our pasture. They are kept on concrete for the duration of their visit which is then disinfected when they leave. We do not accept agisting females from external herds for mating purposes. No Spring Farm female has left the farm for agisted mating purposes for ten years.
Our herd health record is exemplary and we would refer anybody who required confirmation about our herd health to contact our vet – a practice with many years of alpaca experience.