Occasionally, at the time of birth, the ears of llamas or alpacas may
seem to be a little floppy or have the ends tipped over. Floppy ears are
more commonly seen in crias born prematurely. Although the ears normally
strengthen and stand up straight after a few days, you can give them some
helpful support by taping them to assure that you get the desired result.
We generally keep the cardboard center from a toilet paper roll on hand
and cut supports from it. It is just about the right length and also has the
curve to it so it fits into the inside of the ear easily and comfortably. Cut it
to the shape as seen in photo #2 making sure it is long enough to fit from
the bottom of the ear to the very tip or even a little longer - as in photo #3.
If it isn't long enough, the very tip of the ear may bend over it. And if it isn't
supported clear to the bottom of the ear, the weight of the cardboard just at
the end of the ear may cause the ear to flop over more.
Fit it into the inside of the ear and apply strips of masking tape around the
ear to hold it in place. Be very careful that the tape is not so tight as to cut
off blood circulation in the ear. Leave this support in the ears and check after
about a week. If they still need a little help, you can insert the supports again
for as long as necessary. This technique usually does the trick quickly and easily.
Floppy And Tipped Ears
On A Newborn Cria
Cut Light Cardboard To This Shape
Cardboard Support Should Go
To The End
Of The Ear
Don't Tape Too Tightly!
Leave On As Long As Necessary