To Bee Or Not To Bee

Being stung by a bee, expectedly or unexpectedly, could cause an allergic reaction in alpacas. Despite the thickness of their skin, and the dense fleece, alpacas’ immune systems can still be affected by bee stings.

Furthermore, alpacas’ immune system may have an allergic reaction caused by weeds, certain feeds, pollen, drugs, and other insect bites. Sometimes it is hard to tell what caused the allergic reaction in an alpaca. Especially because it is practically impossible to find the place where a bee or an insect might have bitten them. Unless it is a very visible spot around their eyes or nose.

Before I go on, keep in mind that some alpacas show specific allergic reactions to manuka honey as well. See, because honey is a product of bees, it carries some pollen leftovers. Often times, if the alpaca is allergic to a bee sting, it will be allergic to manuka honey as well. Or, any other honey for that matter.

There are many different types of top manuka honey brands that you can review. But, it is likely that they will all have the same affect on your alpaca. this is because they all carry pretty much the same properties. The difference is that some have a higher grad of Unique Manuka Factor then others.

When an alpaca gets stung by a bee, their immune system releases a compound known as histamine. This compound is not specific to alpacas, even humans have it. It is an organic nitrogenous compound that cells release mainly in response to allergic and inflammatory reactions. This, causes dilation of capillaries and various contraction of smooth muscle.

In other words, the release of histamine in the alpaca’s body can cause swelling, respiratory difficulties, shock, and a variety of similar signs.

I’ve had a few cases of bee stings to some of my alpacas back in the day. The one that I remember most vividly was when Ron the Don (that was his name), came running around near the fence. The animal seemed distressed and its face was visibly swollen.

When I got to calm him down, I noticed that the swell went from the tip of his nose all the way up to his right eye. The swelling itself was very hard, and about three times bigger than what I’ve seen before. And I have had two previous similar cases. None of them as drastic as this one! My initial suspicion was bee sting.

See, bee stings are painful not just to us, human beings, but animals alike. In the case of Ron the Don, the irritation was localized (his face), and the swelling went away rather quickly (3 days). The very next day, I would say that the swelling was down to 50% or so. This was good, because it allowed Ron the Don to resume eating at a normal pace.

Most allergic reaction go away on their own and do not require a veterinary assistance. As was the above mentioned case. However, keep in mind that severe allergic reactions can be deadly. Especially if they restrict the airway, or manage to cause hemorrhaging. So, if ever in doubt, make sure you call your veterinary right away.

All you need to know about Alpacas

Often mistaken for llamas or camels, alpacas are some of the most easily domesticated animals. Gentle, curious and friendly, they are considered have been considered the gem of the Andes Mountains for over 6,000 years.

This breed of New World camelids has shaggy necks, no humps (unlike popular belief), long ears, pronounced noses and camel-like faces. Look them in the eyes, and you will find a child-like curiosity.

There are two types of alpacas and they are qualified based on their fleece:

Huacaya – the predominant breed of alpacas in North America. They have dense, crimped, wooly and somewhat water resistant fleece.

Suri – a much more rare breed of alpacas. Unlike the Hacaya, Suri has unique fiber characteristics that make them easy to distinguish. Their slick and soft like cashmere fiber grows parallel to their body in long and separate locks.

It is important to note, that the hair of the alpacas is referred to as fleece or fiber. Thousands of years ago, their hair was used as currency, making the Suri fiber very expensive. Due to the fact that this breed is very rare.

In order to raise and breed alpacas organically and naturally, you have to pay close attention to their health. In this sense, various herbs play a crucial role in the lifelong well-being of these beautiful creatures.

The land where you breed alpacas if absolutely essential. However, the herbs that grow on the land are equally important.

During my long years of breeding alpacas, I’ve come across a variety of plants and herbs. Astonishingly enough, alpacas seem to be able to distinguish what is best for them.

Nettles (Utrica Dioica)

Often referred to as common nettle or stinging nettle, this plant is extremely rich in chlorophyll. One of many plants that we, humans, like to use as spices. It is abundant on minerals, iron, lime, sodium, chlorine and protein. When it comes to alpacas, it helps strengthen their muscles and increases milk yield.

Wormwood (Artemesia Absinthium Compositae)

This herb is a great worm expellant. It has strong anti-bacterial properties and it can be used against contagious diseases. When mixed with manuka honey and sage as a brew, it can help difficult alpaca births.

Aloe Vera (Aloe lilaceae)

This herb is a bit harder to grow, it requires dry and sandy places. However, it is absolutely amazing for the treatment of urinary conditions, mastitis, indigestion and constipation in alpacas.

Yarrow (Achilea Millefolium Compositae)

I’ve found that herb to be useful for the treatment of pleurisy, and haemorrhages. Also, it is quite easy to plant in North America.

Parsley (Petroselirium Crispuni Umbelliferae)

Good old parsley grows best in moist conditions and full sun. As with humans, this herb helps alpacas fight kidney stones, obesity, worms, constipation, and various bladder conditions.

Dandelion (Taraxacum Officinale Compositae)

Great for blood cleansing, featured in almost any cleansing “green” juice recipe. Besides preventing skin eruption, dandelion is great for the liver.

Mallow (Althea Officinalis Malvacea)

This is one of the most popular herbs that can be found in pretty much any farm. The reason is that it is loved by all animals – big and small. Mallow speeds up the treatment of all kinds of internal conditions, such as inflammations. Especially helpful for the stomach and bowel.

Some other herbs that are amazing for the health of alpacas include Mullein, Shepherds Purse, Mint, Fumitory, Chives, Comfrey, Chamomile, Echinacea, Rose Hip, Raspberry Leaf, Fennel, Fenugreek, Garlic, Willow, Poplar, Robinia, Pine, Tagasaste and Photinia.

Making such herbs available to your alpacas will increase their health substantially. This will be visibly reflected by their fleece. It will grow at a faster and thicker rate.