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see West Melton

Alpaca Articles

Nic and Linda keep up-to-date with the latest in alpaca information, by reading widely, being a member of the New Zealand, Australian, British and American alpaca associations, and attending conferences worldwide.

They share this knowledge with others through holding industry training days and workshops, writing articles for industry magazines in New Zealand, Australia, UK, and USA and also through articles on this website and other websites.

Click here for more articles  
 


MATING ALPACAS

By Nic Cooper, Southern Alpacas Stud

 

If you have female alpacas, you will probably want them to be productive.  

Alpacas only produce one offspring per year, and alpacas are a bloodstock (or breeding) industry at present so being effective in the breeding process is important for financial goals.

One way to ensure breeding success is to contract the job to an experienced stud master who will bring a stud male to your female (mobile mating) or accept your female on their farm for mating.
 

 
 

Supervised mating – a human has decided which alpacas will mate, and waits for the stud to finish his job.

Male Alpacas

Male alpacas gain fertility between 2 and 3 years old. Once ready, the young boys will practise with whatever will sit down for them. Some start early with mum, teenagers practise with each other, and they will try and emulate what they see the older males do.

And what do they do ? The male chases after the female, and she flirts as she runs ahead – much like humans ! However the male alpaca has a deadly weapon – he makes this strange guttural noise called an “orgle” and this affects the female’s brain, causing her to sit down. He climbs on top, continues to orgle and in the 20 minutes that an average mating takes, he will ejaculate several times.

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boys will be boys – harassing the “baby-sitter” dam, who is looking after three cria.
 

 

Female Alpacas

Female alpacas gain fertility anywhere between 9 months and 2 years old. You need to mate your female alpaca when she is “ready”. Ready in weight (over 40 kg), ready in age (over 12 months), ready sexually (receptive to the male) and ready emotionally (not skitterish and immature – we call it having her brain “connected”).

Female alpacas are induced ovulators. The act of the male joining (physical and/or noise) with the female stimulates ovulation in the female. Fertilisation happens about 48 hours later. Matings can therefore take place at any time, preferably 11.5 months before you want a cria (baby alpaca) born.

 
 

Pregnancy

The incidence of pregnancy per mating is about 50%. Females do have follicle cycles – and pregnancies can miss if the mating does not coincide with the development of a maturing follicle.

Pregnancy is tested by re-introducing the male after 14 days. A female rejecting the male at that time is probably pregnant. An earlier rejection just proves ovulation – not pregnancy. This test is called a “spit-off” test as the rejection normally comes in the form of the female spitting at the male (and you if you get too close!).

Having got your female pregnant, the next thing is to keep her that way for the rest of her 11.5 month gestation. Later articles will cover some of the ways of checking for pregnancy and some of the things that can happen as the pregnancy develops.

 
 

Author Profile

Nic Cooper has over 20 years expereince of farming and breeding alpacas, and is an experienced studmaster.  Nic has the dubious honour of both male and female alpacas running to him when they see him – the boys as they know that Nic can open their stud paddock gate and take them to the female, and the females as they know that Nic is the “head male alpaca” and chooses their suitors for them.

Updated Oct 2012

Nic Cooper and Linda Blake
Main West Coast Road, West Melton, RD1, Christchurch, New Zealand
Phone 0064 3 318-1917 | fax 0064 3 318-1927 | email alpacasnz@xtra.co.nz