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Seasonal guidance notes

  • This is the time of year when a few reminders don't go amiss:

  • 1.If you are thinking about re-seeding any of your grazing land, do consider plants that have a deep rooting system. They hugely increase the ability of the plants to extract nutrients from the soil at depth. The improve the soil condition by penetrating chalk and rock to a great depth. When the soil dries out, the plants that keep growing are those with the deepest roots. they will never yield like rye grass/clover ley on heavy ground but camelids do not need a hugely rich ley. Talk it over with your seed merchant.

  • 2.Due to the weather conditions flies are becoming more than a nuisance for both livestock and people, causing irritation and stress and are also responsible for the spread of various diseases. Flies breed in manure piles, quickly forming into large numbers. Try to keep your manure piles as far away from your shelters and grazing areas a possible. There are various products on the market to help eliminate flies so talk to your local agricultural merchant and vet. Not all fly control products are suitable for camelids.

  • 3.There is a RED alert out for Liver Fluke in the livestock industry so keep an eye on your camelids. Fortunately, effective controls are available. If you are concerned, take a poo sample to your bet for analysis and make sure you ask for a liver fluke check. Your vet can help you and give advice.

  • 4.Also due to weather conditions over this last year, mycotoxin in feed could well be a challenge to ruminants. Claire E Whitehead BVM&S MS MRCVS, Diplomate ACVIM (Large Animals) has written the following advice for camelids :

  • “Mycotoxins can be a risk in any mouldy feed including grains and stored forages: it is important to note that feed contaminated with mycotoxins may not however be visibly mouldy. Mycotoxins can affect any species. Clinical syndromes vary depending on the mycotoxin and can include gastrointestinal disturbances, liver disease, haemorrhage, neurological signs or sudden death. Signs may be vague and present as many "sick camelids" do with anorexia, lethargy, weakness and depression. So there are no really specific clinical signs to look for. Just keep a close eye on your animals and if any appear to be unwell, call the vet to examine the animal: if nothing in particular is found, insist on thorough blood work being done. Any animals that die suddenly should always be post-mortemed as findings may be suggestive of mycotoxins and the knowledge is useful for helping the remaining animals in the herd.”

  • 5.Don't forget, autumn is a perfect time for parasites and a large number of Haemonchus victims in alpacas has been reported recently. Autumn is a good time to check faecal samples.

  • 6.Heavy and sustained periods of rain falling from April onwards have left us with poor quality grass, despite large volumes in fields. Grass has largely been very low in energy combined with exceedingly low dry matter content. Consequently, animals have only been able to consume low dry matter intakes causing prolonged periods of energy deficit. Hopefully, you all have your hay in for the winter by now. If you feed hard feed, it will be in scarce supply and therefore the prices will be at record levels. If at all possible, buy in bulk or consider sharing with near-by camelid farmers so you can order more and keep the price down. there is a chance that prices may fall later on in the winter but there is no guarantee !

  • 7.If, during the winter we get any long spells of freezing weather, keep an eye on your animals and make sure they are drinking. Some camelids, normally the older animals, are not keen on freezing water and may not take up liquids. A small amount of warm water will help. One of the first signs is your camelid will not be ruminating (chewing the cud). If you are in any doubt, contact your vet.


  • Vice Chairman BLS & Health & Welfare Representative.

  • Nutfield Park Farm, South Nutfield, Redhill, Surrety.

  • Tel. 01737 823375