After the Sale
Among the finest males on the East Coast, Copper Star Alpacas has the genetics to move your program up!
Support & Mentoring – Your success is important to us!
You are not alone, we’re here to help, and we back up what we sell! Every alpaca sale includes complimentary boarding of up to six months from the date of contract.
If you are looking to add champion color genetics to your breeding program, take a look at our herd. We offer excellent pricing along with interest free financing. We are happy to put a package together to suit your needs. Along with our champion genetics we offer hands-on training and year round support to help makes your business a success.
The Basics about alpaca breeding
The average age for a male to start his breeding career is usually at 24 months of age, this can be later depending on the maturity of the male.
The average age for a female can begin at 18 months of age, although I generally wait until they are 24 months of age and/or 120 lbs.
Alpacas are induced ovulators. Ovulation occurs when a mature follicle is present. The average gestation time is 11 1/2 months (or 335 to 355 days), some may go longer. It is not that unusual for a female to go 365 days or more. Accurate breeding records are key to establishing a gestation time for a particular dam. This is not to say that they will carry the same length of time with each pregnancy, but generally behavior and due dates can be indicators of the dam’s readiness to deliver.
A Maiden (has not been exposed yet) or an open female (non-pregnant) alpaca may cush while a breeding pair is nearby indicating that they may be ready and receptive to a male. A male will orgle when he is near a female that he senses is ready and while breeding. A male can breed for up to 40 minutes, but this is not at all necessary to ensure a successful mating. Most breedings will be successful at 5 to 15 minutes any longer you take the risk of hurting the female. A pregnant female will “usually” spit, run or kick the male indicating that the breeding was successful. A spit test can be conducted at 7 days, 10 days, and repeated to establish pregnancy. Maidens, first time moms, may not be as accurate with understanding what is happening within their body and may cush regardless. Confirmation of pregancy by ultrasound is recommended. The time to do this is dependent on your veterinary’s skills with ultrasound readings. Another indicator for positive pregancy is an elevated blood progestrone. Behavior testing and ultrasound as indicated above.
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. Transporting during these times can put a lot of stress on your alpaca, possibly causing a miscarriage.
Most alpacas births occur in the morning and early afternoon, but there are exceptions to the rule, always keep a close attention to your female when the due date is near. Some indicators of the female being ready to deliver would be the mammary enlarges (known as bagging up); vulvar lengthens; perineal area will relax and appear puffy; returning to the poop pile often and sometimes lingering; or rolling. Realize that one or all or none of these signs will occur. Each female is different so it is important that you watch and look for signs that are not routine for your preganant female.
Once you have established that a delivery is imminent, the stages of labor will, most often, continue as follows:
- 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 the first 2 hours, but may take longer. More than 6 hours it is recommended you contact your veterinary or, at least, an experienced alpaca breeder.
- Of course, any sign of a problem – consult with your veterinarian.
The newborn cria will normally stand and walk in less than an hour after birth. It is always a good idea to towel dry the cria and/or dry with a hair dryer being careful not to hold the dryer to close so not to burn the cria. Depending on the weather you may need to bring the cria inside out of the rain or cold. Mos often the cria will attempt to nurse within the first hour and should be up and nursing within 4 hours. The average newborn cria’s weigh in between 15 and 20 lbs. It is very important the the cria receives the mom’s colostrum within the first 12 hours of birth. It is also a good general idea to allow the dam and cria to bond by penning them together for the first 24 to 48 hours. It is also a good idea to have frozen replacement colostrum on hand.
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