Friday, 17 May 2013

Alpaca shearing: fighting teeth

When the three year old males come onto the shearing table we check their gums for fighting teeth. These grow in at around three years and are trimmed off at shearing. Archie the Llama was displaying a very fine set, having just reached his maturity. There are two in his top and one larger one below. If they are left they continue to grow and eventually enable the males to get a grip of each others ears legs and testicles and can cause damage. 
In the 16 years of breeding pedigree alpacas we have never had any of our males do any real damage to one another and we keep them all together. There again we religiously trim off any fighting teeth at shearing. 
Don't tell Archie but next week he gets 'trimmed' in another area entirely which may well have the additional side effect of turning him into a relative pussycat as his interest in females gradually recedes into a residual memory.

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