These are the basic books that cover the various aspects of the care and
management of alpacas. The descriptions that follow each were written by
Alpaca Consulting Services
The Alpaca Book
by Eric Hoffman & Murray Fowler, D.V.M.
This is the first book most prospective breeders purchase. It is broken into
four sections. The first covers alpaca history, their behavior and
communication, fiber, conformation and form, function and gait. The second
section is a primer on alpaca care including nutrition, handling and basic
animal husbandry. The third section discusses reproductive physiology and
function while the fourth section covers basic medical management. It
specifically deals with how to work with a veterinarian, evaluating condition,
basic first aid, preventative medicine, neonatology, infectious diseases,
parasites and poisoning. Due to its limited publishing it is expensive -
usually about $75. It is a good primer but is not detailed enough alone to
provide all the information needed to care for alpacas on a daily basis.
Alpacas: A Common Sense Approach
by Julie Musgrove.
Loose leaf bound, self published (available from Quality Llama Products),
filled with typos, misspelling and grammatical errors, pages printed out of
order, the title speaks for itself. Although one person's view (Ms. Musgrove
was the herd manager of the second largest alpaca farm in the U.S.), it
nevertheless contains a lot of simple,
practical advice on daily practices. Chapters cover the animals' environment,
barns, fencing and equipment, pasture and feed, daily care, breeding and
birthing, cria care, medical and routine veterinary care, advertising and
sales, sample contracts and the future of the industry. Opinionated and quirky,
it is reasonably priced and worth reading.
The Camelid Companion
by Marty McGee Bennett
This book helps you learn to "read" your animals and understand their safety
concerns while you're handling them. It explains why alpacas are sometimes
difficult to get along with and how to correct the problems. Using Marty's
techniques, it should take you no more than 15 minutes to teach a fractious
alpaca or llama to stand still and/or to move. In addition to handling
techniques, Marty discusses herd management and maintenance, animal husbandry,
and problem solving. The appendices contain information to help you select and
show your alpaca and plans for cria creeps, catch pens, and training pens.
This book is a classic and a "must read" for current and would-be breeders.
Caring for Llamas and Alpacas
by Clare Hoffman D.V.M. and Ingrid Asmus
This book begins where The Alpaca Book leaves off - it does provide the basic
information for the daily care and management of alpacas. It details how to
evaluate them for purchase, transport, restraint, nutrition, health evaluation,
first aid, digestion and reproduction. It details basic techniques like stomach
tubing, injections, taking a temperature etc. The appendix gives a list of
basic supplies for adult and newborns (our own list is an expanded version), a
list of toxic plants (a more detailed pamphlet is available from the Greater
Appalachian Llama & Alpaca Association) as well as charts of normal values.
This book is highly recommended for the new breeder.
Llama and Alpaca Husbandry and Medical Care
by Suzi and Robert J. Pollard, D.V.M.
Robert Pollard is well known in alpaca circles at the national level for his
homeopathic approach to lama husbandry. Breeders themselves, they offer an
alternative approach to daily, veterinary and medical issues. If you are a
member of the Alpacasite email forum on Yahoo, you'll see a lot of homeopathic
advice most of which started with Robert.
Llama and Alpaca Neonatal Care
by Brad Smith D.V.M, Karen Timm D.V.M. and Patrick Long D.V.M.
If you purchase bred females, buy this book early and read it several times
before the first birth - this is
handbook for pre and post birth care for the dam and cria. It begins with a
thorough description of female anatomy and the physiology of pregnancy. It
moves on to proper care prior to birth (nutrition, vaccinations etc.). The
birth process is described in detail including dystocias or difficult
deliveries. The final chapter gives detailed instructions on how to evaluate a
newborn and dam using flow charts designed to be used in the barn to determine
if the newborn is at risk or not. Specific treatments, procedures and
recommendations are given in clear language- critical given the stress you're
under particularly with an at-risk cria. The appendix gives a list of supplies
for a birthing kit. The book is written using terms a non-livestock experienced
person can understand and is highly recommended.
Medicine and Surgery of South American Camelids
by Murray Fowler D.V.M.
Dr. Fowler is one of the acknowledged camelid vets in the world today. This is
the second edition of the volume and is the reference for most camelid
veterinarians. It is not for everyone - it is a veterinary textbook and is
written in medical jargon. If you have a medical background or are willing to
read it with a medical dictionary at your side, it is well worth the $100
investment. Basically, it covers pretty much everything known to date medically
As all of these books are in limited publication, they are generally not
available in bookstores. Some may be purchase from Amazon.com while others can
only be obtained through specialized llama/alpaca suppliers such as the
Useful Llama Items
Quality Llama Products
If you have difficulty obtaining any of these books, feel free to contact
for additional resources. Happy reading!
All of these reviews, save the
review, were written by Jim Cross of Alpaca Consulting Services. For further
information about Alpaca Consulting Services,