Showing Juvenile Alpacas: Practical Considerations and Best Practices
Showing Juvenile Alpacas
The Show System strives to provide exhibitors with valuable information that will make the show experience a very positive event. Alpaca safety is of upmost importance throughout the journey from the field to the show ring. Many times it is the first big trip for a juvenile alpaca and so AOA has developed a few points to consider when choosing juveniles will be show ready for travel and the show event.
Juvenile alpacas are the most sensitive and vulnerable age group at an alpaca show. While mature and confident juveniles often have no issues with showing, a surprising number of young alpacas lack the physical and emotional stamina to withstand the rigors of showing: simply put, they are not show ready. Emotional and physical health risks can result.
Stress Factors include
- Separation anxiety: leaving both their dams and their herd mates.
- Trailer trauma: many juveniles have never been in a trailer with all its noise and motion.
- Halter training: some juveniles have simply not had enough (or any) halter training.
- Large facility sensitivity: many unknown animals, crowds, smells, sounds, and surfaces. Juveniles without a strong immune system could suffer.
- Judges examination: many juveniles have never been touched all over by a stranger. Remember, on males, final placings may be affected if the judge cannot palpate two testicles in the scrotum.
Recommendations — Choose Show Juveniles That
- are confident, independent, and easy going. Nervous and immature juveniles are likely to be traumatized by shows.
- at six months weigh at least 60 pounds, have a body score of at least three out of five, and are healthy and disease free. Alpacas generally lose weight after a show and for small, thin alpacas, this is a health risk.
- have been weaned for at least 30 days; taking an nursing juvenile away from its dam, source of food, and comfort presents emotional and physical risks.
- are successfully halter trained and desensitized to a judge’s examination; if everything they experience at their first show is new to them, it can increase their anxiety.
Weigh alpacas before and several times after a show. Loss of more than a few pounds may mean they need a break and should not continue to another show without weight re-gain.
In Short: Juveniles are Vulnerable
Choose which ones to take to the show carefully by observing their behavior, assessing their maturity, and ensuring they have been thoroughly trained. Leave the ones that are not ready at home. There’s always another show when they are ready.