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Morphometric evaluation of the growth of Alpacas (Vicugna pacos) from birth to 36 months of age

Grund, Sarah, Vogel, Mandy, Mülling, Christoph Karl Wolfgang
Small ruminant research 2018 v.166 pp. 61-65
Vicugna pacos, alpacas, body weight, equations, females, guidelines, hips, males, models, morphometry, prediction, reproduction, skeleton, veterinarians, withers
Currently, very limited information is available on the growth of alpacas (Vicugna pacos). The aim of this study was to describe the growth of alpacas with percentile curves and to generate an equation for precise estimating the body weight using a body height, length or circumference. 162 alpacas, ranging in age from a few days to 36 months, were measured over a period of twelve months. Every two weeks five different body parameters and the body weight were recorded. The resulting percentile curves describe the development of body weight, height at withers, height in the hip and length of the trunk of up to three year old alpacas. No significant differences in the development of the skeleton were determined between males and females as well as the two subspecies Huacaya and Suri (P > 0.01). As in other species, the thoracic circumference is a reliable parameter for estimating the body weight. The equation based on to the model of a cubic function allows a very accurate prediction of the body weight (R² = 0.97). The results provide new data about the growth pattern of alpacas. Based on the data guidelines concerning the growth of alpacas were created for veterinarians, alpaca owners and breeders. They supply a solid basis for recommendation in feeding and management of reproduction. Using the percentile curves, a reliable prediction of growth and conclusions regarding the age of an alpaca are possible.