Pasture pedicures

Sarah's Flashback

Sarah's Flashback

Our pretty alpacas will be getting nails trimmed soon.  We did a trim when they got sheared and they were immobilized on the shearing mat.  Our fantastic shearer does it all, just for a few dollars more.  He shears of course, then checks nails and trims them up, and checks their teeth and trims them if too long (using the fantabulous Tooth-a-matic device).  The tie down system he uses for shearing is the Pro-Tie.  It is great; I recommend it. http://www.lightlivestockequipment.com/Shearing_Restraints.asp

It did take 3 of us to get an animal in place on the mat just because we each had a different function to do, hold the animal strategically to prevent potential kicks and get feet in the loops and tightened, and then pull the pulley line to stretch out and lower the animal onto the mat.  Not a big deal, but 2 people just would not be able to be efficient I don’t think, unless the animal was extremely calm and didn’t move around trying to get feet in the loops with no kicking. Ours were quiet for the most part, and the real advantage of course is the animal is quiet and calm and the shearing is fast and less stressful for the animal. 

Nail trimming has no fancy tools; just a sharp, straight edged nipper, like a foot rot shear from Tractor Supply, or even a garden shear if it has straight edges and has a short blade.  Our shearer showed us a nifty little blade sharpener he uses on these to keep them sharp. We have some great guidelines in some books on the shelf (Caring for Llamas and Alpacas, by Hoffman and Asmus) that show how to trim and I found this helpful article too  .http://www.rd1.com/web/content?in_section=10&in_item=927&in_page=6792

  Alpacas and llamas don’t have a hoof, just a soft pad on the bottom of the foot  and then the two nails grow out from the foot topline.  If they get too long, they may break off and can hurt or they will cause the toe to lay on its side as they walk, also uncomfortable.    So, very soon our alpacas will have pretty little happy feet.

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