Monday, December 12, 2011


At our last vet visit the vet noticed a spot on one of our girls' back end (on her skin under her tail) that she thought looked like a sign of Zinc deficiency. Unfortunately I did not see what she was pointing at and still don't see it, but I trust her assessment.

We do know that being deficient in zinc can be an issue for alpacas. In their native environment, South America, there is more zinc than is available in our area. We also know that a zinc deficiency can lead to hair loss. For a fiber animal, their hair (fiber) is everything.

We figure if one of our alpacas is showing signs of a deficiency, likely more of them are also low. So J started reading up on ways to help provide zinc to alpacas. He read a theory that started, I believe, in Australia. What happened there is that it seemed all the sudden many farms were having problems with zinc deficiency. After some detective work, they realized this happened after there was a change in their water system. For years their water had been piped around in galvanized pipes. It was shortly after they switched to PVC piping that they started having problems with zinc deficiencies. The theory is that zinc leached off the pipes and into the water, giving the alpacas zinc. A solution was to put a piece of galvanized pipe in the water buckets. It's no more harmful than if all your water came to you piped in that way. And for years, many of us have consumed such water.

So J went out and bought some small galvanized pipe pieces:

And we dropped them into the water buckets:

I love a quick fix to a concerning issue. And best yet, the risk of side effects or consequences is small given for years water was piped this way. But of course, this is our alpacas we are talking about, we are sure to watch for any problems. It's been a few weeks and so far, no issues.

I am curious to see if this makes any difference to the alpacas. They drink the water just fine so that hasn't been an issue. I wonder if having more zinc might help them keep some of their facial coverage that often is lost over time. It will be interesting to watch and see.

1 comment:

An At Home Daughter said...

I was just searching the internet for info. on zinc deficiency in alpacas, since we recently acquired 2 males that might have this problem. I was wondering what your results were with this experiment?


Pin It button on image hover