How Long Does It Take For Alpacas To Mate
Female llamas produce one offspring (called a cria?pronounced creeah) per year after a gestation of around 350 days. Alpacas also produce one cria after a gestation of about 335 days. Twins for both llamas and alpacas are rare.
Birthing is usually quick and troublefree, and occurs during daylight hours with the mother standing during delivery. If the female is in labor for hours, she keeps lying down and getting back up or she stays lying down on her side; contact a veterinarian for help. Crias are usually up nursing and running with the herd within an hour or so.
Newborn cria llamas range in weight from about 20 to 35 pounds and newborn cria alpacas average about 15 to 20 pounds. Occasionally, new mothers do not have sufficient milk for their newborn crias. Having some frozen baggies of goat or cow colostrum (first milk) available, along with a nipple that works?flutter valve recommended from Caprine Supply and bottle to fit the nipple can save a cria’s life.
The female, being an induced ovulator and able to be bred year-round, will be ready to be bred again in a week or two. Females are devoted and protective mothers and will suckle the cria until weaning at about four to six months. Age at first breeding for females should be at least 18 months old. Llamas, guanacos, alpacas and vicunas can interbreed and should be pastured separately.
Males over the age of eight months should be separated from females to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Males should not be used for breeding until after they are two years old. After the age of two, male llamas grow very sharp fighting teeth (fangs) on both the upper and lower back of their jaws.
Consult a veterinarian about removing these fighting teeth to prevent injury to other males or females. The fighting teeth may grow back and need to be removed again at a later time. Males in the same pasture will fight to establish who is boss, even if one is gelded.
Many veterinarians recommend that males not intended for breeding purposes be gelded. This can be done as early as six months, but usually at about two years of age. If gelded too early, many llamas may have abnormal skeletal development.
Sometimes cria males that are bottle fed or given too much attention at an early age, bond to people and not with other llamas. When they have bonded to humans and grow to maturity, they perceive the humans (usually male) to be in competition for females in their herd.
Their behavior problems toward humans can range widely in severity. The extreme case is called Berserk Male Syndrome (BMS) or Aberrant Behavior Syndrome. Males exhibiting BMS will treat people as if they are male llamas. This can include chest butting, knocking people down, and biting them.
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