The courtship ritual of the alpaca is very unique. Female alpacas are induced ovulators, meaning that there are no heat cycles and that they can breed at anytime of the year.


  1. BulletCourtship Ritual

The physical act of breeding is what causes ovulation to occur. For this reason, most alpaca breeders maintain separate male and female herds so that they can determine who breeds to whom and when. To date, there have been no artificial inseminations or viable embryo transplants in the alpaca industry.



  1. BulletBreeding Methods

There are two basic breeding methods -- pasture breeding and pen breeding. With pasture breeding, females are free to roam with the males. With pen breeding, you can keep better track of when mating occurs and more easily approximate the due date. In this method, the female is introduced to the male every seven days for three weeks. This way there will be an egg present during breeding. If the female cushes (goes down), she is not pregnant. When she is pregnant, she will generally reject the male advances by “spitting him off” and running away.


  1. BulletGestaton

The gestation period is 11-12 months. Females usually have single births and human intervention is rarely needed. The newborn, called cria, weighs between 15-19 pounds, with delivery occurring usually during the daylight hours. The newborn cria is usually standing and nursing within 90 minutes of birth, and will continue to nurse until weaned at approximately 6 months of age. The time between birthing and rebreeding can be as little as 3 weeks. Twins occur about every 10,000 births.



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REPRODUCTION

   
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Debbie & Mark Emery
Glen Ellen, California
brookfarmalpacas@mac.com
Tel & Fax:  707.996.0350
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