Whether or Not

Asked April 4, 2018, 4:33 PM EDT

I have two "complete" 2+ year old male alpacas. They seem to enjoy neck wrestling, running and mounting and love-biting each other's ankles. They seem ok with their situation. Then one day one of the alpaca boys began to charge the resident hens. Initially it looked like a game but I soon realized the hens weren't having any fun. Began researching behavioral issues among alpacas and castration was suggested but without a guarantee that aggression would end. A local vet gave me a few options: 1. just castrate one. 2. castrate neither and work on training techniques to discourage interest in the chix. 3. Separate alpaca boys from hens as alpacas are territorial and may be unhappy sharing their space. Has anyone had non-breeding, "intact" male alpacas living in peace and harmony? Any tips or advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

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1 Response

The behaviors you describe are typical male dominance type behaviors and this would be expected for males of their age coming into puberty. Castration would be the best approach, but having that procedure done on both males would not absolutely guarantee the behavioral change desired, but more than likely it will diminish these behaviors since they are typically testosterone driven. Keeping intact males without intent on breeding is not always a good option as male-pattern behaviors will come to dominate. There are some useful behavioral management techniques and I would direct you to information by Marty McGee Bennett (https://www.camelidynamics.com/) as she has done more with alpaca behavioral training than anyone. I would also direct you to her chapter in the book: Llama and Alpaca Care, Cebra et al., Elsevier Publishing, 2014. You should always be cautious around intact males as they may become aggressive and be dangerous to work around. I think your veterinarian's suggestion on castration may be the best way to go for the long term .