Babies are God's most precious gift and baby alpacas (crias) are no exception to the rule.  We put together some basic information about breeding to help you get familiar with breeding alpacas.


Breeding

breeding alpacas

Females start to breed around 18 months of age and males start to breed around 2 years of age.

Alpacas are induced ovulators which means they ovulate when they are bred.  Breeding can take as long as 45 minutes and the male will sing, orgle, the entire time.  The female goes into a trance like state while the male is breeding and singing to her.  Ovulation occurs only if the female is bred when a mature follicle is present.

The non-pregnant female alpaca will cush, fall to her knees, when the breeding male sings (orgles).  A pregnant female will spit or run from the male.


Testing for pregnancy:

  • blood progesterone will be elevated
  • the female alpaca will run or spit at the male
  • Preg-Tone Pregnancy Detector will produce a loud continuous tone
  • an ultrasound may also be taken to verify pregnancy

Gestation

The majority of alpacas have a gestation between 335 to 355 days but there are some that will go longer.  Visit our alpaca cria due date calculator to calculate your cria's due date.  We base our calculator on a 340 day gestation.  Over the years we've noticed our spring births are usually 1 to 2 weeks late and our fall births are usually 1 to 2 weeks early.


Important to remember:

The first two months and the last two months of pregnancy should be stress free for the pregnant female alpaca.  She is most vulnerable to miscarry during this period.  Do not transport her or stress her during this time.

For more detailed information and an excellent resource on breeding alpacas we recommend our book The Alpaca Breeding Book.  This book is a very valuable reference tool during breeding season.


Signs of delivery :

  • vulvar lengthens
  • mammary enlargement
  • perineal region becomes relaxed and puffy

Stages of labor:

  • contractions and cervix dilates - 1 to 6 hours
  • birth of cria - normal position - nose & toes - usually less than 1 hour
  • placenta is expelled usually within 4 to 6 hours

flower divider
proud mother

Newborn Cria:

  • most crias will stand and walk in less than an hour after birth
  • most will attempt to nurse within the first hour and should be up and nursing within 4 hours
  • most newborn cria's weigh between 15 and 20 lbs.
  • the first 12 hours - it is very important that the cria get the colostrum they need
  • Most alpacas deliver their cria during the morning hours, but there are exceptions to the rule.

For more detailed information and an excellent resource on birthing and cria care we recommend the book Llama and Alpaca Neonatal Care .  This book has been a very valuable reference tool when the females are due.  Most problems are easily solved when you have the right tools.

You're welcome to visit An Alpaca Birth for some very special pictures.


~ Any sign of a problem - consult with your veterinarian ~


bottle feeding baby

Colostrum

Please beware... colostrum supplements are not created equal!!!
We learned the hard way that some of the so-called colostrum supplements did not contain any antibodies!  After much research on the different supplements we now use a combination of two different colostrum supplements.  Obviously fresh colostrum would be ideal and then frozen would be second best on our list but sometimes the fresher types are not available.  We now use in combination Lamb Kid Colostrum Oral Gel and Sav-A-Caf Colostrum Supplement.  They both contain antibodies but from different sources one from dried colostrum and the other from serum.


Everyone greets the new cria

The whole herd will gather around to greet the new baby.  A precious moment, a sight to see as they welcome their new little member into the herd.  Then the herd will leave mom and baby alone so they can bond.  Isn't life wonderful on the alpaca farm!

newborn cria

Aztec and Tia welcome our new addition.

Visit our cria calculator page to see more of our newest additions.


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Thank you!

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Dave & Karen Galbraith
P.O. Box 820
Talihina, Oklahoma 74571
(918) 563-4245
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