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Animal Science

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Published Version

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Veterinary and Animal Science



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The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of different management systems on the postnatal survival and growth of alpaca crias. The study was conducted during the alpaca calving season in the Peruvian Andes. Animals were fed on native pastures; during the day they went out to graze, but at night they were brought into a corral. A total of 150 alpaca singleton neonates were randomly assigned to one of three cria protection strategies immediately after consuming colostrum. The first group consisted of 50 crias who slept in an open-corral (OC) without shelter. The second group was comprised of 50 crias fitted with body vests (BV) who stayed overnight in an open-corral without shelter. The third group spent nights in a semi-open shed (SH). Cria survival was recorded daily, and body weight was recorded weekly. Survival to 12 weeks of age was higher (P = 0.001) for BV (100%) than for SH (76%) or OC (64%) which were not different from each other. Daily body weight gain (kg/day) during the first 12 weeks of life was higher (P < 0.001) for BV (0.17 ± 0.03) than for SH (0.14 ± 0.02) or OC (0.13 ± 0.04). There was no effect (P < 0.979) of cria sex on daily body weight gain. Results of this study revealed that fitting neonatal crias with a BV is a viable management strategy to enhance cria postnatal survival and daily body weight gain.


This article is published as Valenzuela, Santiago, Ruth M. Benites, Juan E. Moscoso-Muñoz, Curtis R. Youngs, and Oscar E. Gómez-Quispe. "Impact of cria protection strategy on post-natal survival and growth of alpacas (Vicugna pacos)." Veterinary and Animal Science 11 (2021): 100162. doi:10.1016/j.vas.2020.100162.

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