Gestation is usually between 11 to 12 months and females are
commonly mated around 14 days after giving birth. Alpacas are
induced ovulators and do not have a regular breeding season,
meaning they can be bred at any time of the year. Many breeders
prefer to plan their births for early spring on their alpaca farm to ensure the mildest
weather and the best start for the cria.
Females are usually mated for the first time according to weight
and age. With good management, females usually start breeding
at around 18 months of age.
Pen mating is the most common and successful method of mating
alpacas. Mating may be observed for effectiveness and dates recorded.
Paddock mating on an alpaca farm can also be used when mating small numbers, although
observation of copulation is not so accurate. An open female
will accept the male's advances by sitting down in the kush position.
When a female thinks she is pregnant she will then reject the
male by refusing to sit, spitting or kicking him away.
Pregnancy may be determined in a number of ways. Ultrasound
scanning is one of the most effective methods as the operator
can see the foetus. Alpacas usually give birth during daylight
hours and seldom need assistance. Within an hour or so the cria
will be up and walking, looking to mum for it's first feed.
||A new cria only minutes old comes in
for close inspection from the rest of the herd.
|The newly born cria is quickly dried
and examined by Jo and Camilla before being reunited with her mother.
Wherever possible, we leave the cria alone here on our alpaca farm, only "interfering" when
a little help is called for.
||The newly born cria is now mobile and
is sniffed by her big sister under the ever watchful eye of mum.