1 Alternative Livestock William R. DuBois, DVM, DABVP College of Veterinary Medicine and Michael O. Smith Department of Animal Science University of Tennessee Alternative Livestock ?Exotic or foreign-origin animal ?Initially breeding animals are extremely expensive ($10,000 ? 50,000) ? Often approached as a ?get-rich-quick? scheme ?No sustainable market exists ?Prices for animals plummet ?Animals picked up as strays Examples of Alternative Livestock 2 Camelids ?Old World Camelids ? Dromedary Camel ? Bactrian Camel ?South American Camelids (SAC?s) ?Llama ? Alpaca ? Vicuna ? Guanaco Biology of SAC?s ? Prehensile upper lip ? Plantigrade pastern ? Soft pad on sole 3 Biology of SAC?s ?3-chambered stomachs ? Similar in function to ruminant fore-stomachs ?Oval-shaped red blood cells ? Shape of cells and biologically unique hemoglobin allow efficient oxygen carrying in high altitude / low oxygen environment SAC?s in South America ?Species have been domesticated for 6,000 years ?Many uses ? Pack animals ? Fiber ? Meat ? Sacrificial animal (ancient times) SAC?s in the U.S. ?Prior to mid 1980?s, primarily in zoos ?Popularity and numbers of llamas and alpacas in U.S. has risen steadily over last 20 years ?Primarily used as a companion animal and for commercial breeding ?Secondary uses include packing, fiber, guard animal for sheep flocks Husbandry ?Most animals in U.S. are halter broken Husbandry ?Llama chute can be used to restrain animals for some maintenance and veterinary procedures 4 Husbandry ? Animals are usually housed on pasture ? Access to shade and water is imperative in the summer Health Maintenance ?Routine Vaccination ? Clostridium perfringens C & D (?over-eating disease?) and tetanus combination ?Rabies ?De-worming ? Affected by same parasites as sheep and goats ? Similar program to sheep and goats Routine Maintenance Procedures Trimming Feet Disarming ?Fighting Teeth? Castration 5 Heat Stress ?Very serious condition seen in the summer ?Temp. (F o ) + % Humidity > 180 ? DANGER !! ?Unable to stand, rectal temp. > 106 o , edema ?Often fatal ?Prevention ? SHEARING ? Provide shade and means for them to cool off (pond, sprinkler, etc.) Meningeal Worm ? Paralaphastrongylus tenuis ? Parasite of deer (no clinical signs) ? Aberrant migration into spinal cord of SAC ? Ataxia (staggering and stumbling) progressing to inability to rise ? Treat with anthelmintics and anti-inflammatory drugs ? Snail intermediate host ? 8ft. band white gravel ? Prevention ? De-worm every 3 weeks Nutrition ?Llamas are browsers ?Alpacas are grazers ?Most efficient digestion of any herbivore ?Can thrive on poor quality forage ?Most owners feel compelled to give them grain ?Most common nutrition-related condition in the U.S. is obesity Reproduction ?Females are induced ovulators ? No estrous or ?heat? cycle ? Physical stimulation of copulation causes ovulation ?Male chases the female and forces her into sternal recumbency for mating ?Unresponsive female will spit and chase the male away Reproduction ?Pregnancy is maintained in the left horn of the uterus in close to 100% of pregnancies ?Pregnancy can be confirmed by rectal palpation. by ultrasonography (transrectal or transabdominal), or by blood progesterone ?Gestation length is 335 ? 350 days 6 Birth ?Most SAC?s give birth in the late morning to early afternoon ?Parturition (birth process) usually takes 2-3 hours (including passing the placenta) ?Dystocia (problem delivery) is rare ?Baby SAC?s are called ?crias? ?Mothers do not lick their young Care of the Cria ? Should nurse colostrum (first milk) in a quantity > 5-10% of body weight ? Should gain ½ to 1 pound per day for the first 14 days of life Care of the Cria ? Start nibbling grass within the first few days of life ? Fully functional fermentation by 2 months ? Weaned at 5-6 months of age Berserk Male Syndrome ?Male SAC?s raised as orphans or with excessive handling by humans as babies ?Don?t distinguish difference between humans and other SAC?s ?Attack humans leading to severe injuries and deaths ?Animal may need to be destroyed Questions? Michael Smith Microsoft PowerPoint - Alternative Livestock
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