In their native habitat, alpaca wear down their constantly growing toenails on hard and stony ground. In New Zealand’s softer pastures, this does not happen and toenails must be regularly shortened. Light coloured animals seem to grow their nails very quickly, while black and dark brown alpacas might rarely need attention.
For this reason, clipping must be done on an ‘as-required’ basis rather than as a scheduled task (inspections should be scheduled). Although animals can be trained to stand quietly for toenail clipping, for most owners this is a two-person job, one holding one clipping.
Use clippers with short, straight blades (not serrated) like a pair of sheep’s footrot shears. Cut the nails level with the pad of the foot. Nails which are left too long will become twisted and no amount of clipping thereafter will rectify this.