If you decide to breed alpacas, NIAG can provide a wealth of information, advice and support, collectively built up over years of experience. It is always best to get all the information before you start.
Young females (maidens) are ready to start breeding around the age of 14 months, or when they have reached 60% the weight of their mother. Most stud males become fertile between 2 and 3 years old.
Alpacas are induced ovulators, meaning they don’t have a reproductive cycle. Therefore breeding can take place at any time during the year, but most plan for births in the spring or early summer, to give the young the best start.
Baby alpacas are called cria and the average gestation is 345 days, but it can vary from 330 to 370 days! Most births are trouble free and do not require any human intervention, but it is best to be prepared in case something goes wrong. The majority of births happen in the morning or early afternoon, and the cria are up and feeding within a few hours. Alpacas do not lick clean their newborns the same way many other mammals do. Rather, they nudge the cria to encourage them to move about to dry off.
Following a normal birth and complete cleansing within 12 hours, a female is usually ready to return to the stud male after 10-14 days.
Cria are vaccinated at four weeks, with a booster six weeks after that. Worming should be started at weaning, around the age of six months old.