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Montana Ag: Alpacas of Montana reacts to news of positive bird flu test in Idaho alpacas

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Posted at 2:31 PM, Jun 06, 2024

BOZEMAN — For the first time, an alpaca in Idaho has tested positive for the avian flu, something that hits close to home for Bozeman’s Alpacas of Montana.

James Budd is the co-founder and owner of Alpacas of Montana and says that while the news from Idaho is concerning, it’s not surprising.

“The truth of the matter is, alpacas are mammals; we all can get it. From the gophers from the birds to anything else, so it’s no surprise whatsoever that our alpacas could get these diseases,” Budd says.

Alpacas of Montana have a variety of ways to defend their animals from predators and severe weather, but when it comes to viral diseases, Budd says they need to be vigilant in monitoring the herd and noticing slight changes.

“Usually it’s neurological conditions that they show first, and isolate that animal instantly, get the test done as quickly as we can, and eliminate that animal from the herd. Now, we don’t have kids, so these guys are honestly our babies,” Budd said.

Budd considers Alpacas of Montana "stewards of the land." He notes that the team does not over-vaccinate the animals or drive off predators or their prey. With that brings a wide variety of bird species to the yard daily.

Alpacas are not the only concern for contracting avian flu. The Budds' cats and guardian dogs are also at risk of contracting the disease as they are usually the first line of defense against predators and threats.