At Sirius Alpacas, every month or so, we evaluate all our alpacas’ toes. Just like people, alpaca toe nails grow to a point where they need regular trimming. You don’t like your toes to get too out of control, and neither do your animals. In fact, if alpaca toe nails are left to grow too long, they can and cause bleeding and infections. And then, you could end up having to head to the barn a few times a day to clean and apply ointment. So, to avoid this problem, get yourself a good set of trimmers and gently snip each side of the nail, and then the tip.
By the way, if you have dogs, and are leery of trimming toes because you don’t want to hit the vein, or the “quick,” and cause pain and bleeding, relax. Alpaca toe trimming is a lot easier. There is no vein. If you simply keep the toenail even with the pad on the bottom of the foot, you’re in good shape.
Here’s a short video that shows how to trim alpaca toenails:
Nothing shows the care you have for your alpacas better than the neatly clipped and polished toenails you give them. Well, you don’t really have to polish your alpacas’ toes; they just get caked with mud from the pastures. But if you want to give your kids a project that will keep them occupied for awhile, give them a bottle of cheap nail polish and have them paint crias’ toenails, if the mom will allow it. Do not try this with a feisty stud wannabe!
It’s helpful to have a good pair of trimmers. We like Zenports. They make a couple different types, and we use the type that cost about $12. They do make a fancier variety for $90, but I’ve never tried them. Our cheaper Zenport trimmers are great because they have comfortable grips and allow us to easily find the best angle for a close cut.
Of course, your trimmers are only good if they are sharp, so don’t use them for anything other than clipping your alpacas’ toes.