Been Busy Breeding

After spring shearing and birthing, the next alpaca farm activity is breeding. This spring and early summer, we have been busy breeding our open mature females. At the moment, we have three females for whom we are making breeding decisions: “is she ready”, “which herdsire”, and “which breeding system”. Today, I will address the readiness decision.

A female alpaca may fully mature (physically and mentally) between 12 and 24 months. It is not advisable to allow a young female to be bred until she is mature. Though over-breeding a young female, before conception is possible, it is a common cause of uterine infections. As the age of maturation varies greatly between individuals, it is usually recommended that novice breeders wait until females are 18 months of age or older before initiating breeding.

Mattie Mae is a maiden who is two years-old. She has shown some interest in the males who live in the “boys camp” on the other side of the fence. This flirtiness is an indicator that the female may be ready. Additionally, she is physically large and seems able to handle carrying and delivering a cria.

Maiden Mattie Mae

Bob is very attentive to the capacity of the female to deliver a baby. He has seen and assisted in a number of emergency birthing situations that occurred on his dad’s cattle farm. Thus, physical capacity supersedes age and flirtiness as criteria for breeding a maiden in Bob’s “book”.  We intentionally waited a half year to breed one of our smaller females for this very reason. So, we exposed Mattie to a male under our supervision to see what happened. She readily accepted him.

The other two, Willow & Priscilla, are proven moms. Prissy has been open for almost a year. Willow delivered Black Jack in the spring. We acquired Prissy late last fall and decided to wait until Spring to breed her. Willow has been a great and healthy mom having delivered four healthy cria in her lifetime. She successfully delivered two cria for us the past two springs. We like spring births in our Virginia climate, for the cria’s sake. Given the 11 ½ month gestation period, that means breed in June for a May birth.

 

Willow, Mom of Black Jack

 

Prissy, Mom of Maggie

All three females “seem” pregnant. We have had some early ultrasounds that look promising. We are trying our best to keep them cool and unstressed during the extreme heat this summer. We will ultrasound them again at 60 days to see if they have held their pregnancies.

Stay tuned for the next blogs on herdsires and breeding systems.

mozanne - August 5, 2012 - 10:41 pm

Hi Catherine! Thanks for your comment. We are expecting more babies in the fall! We will keep you posted!

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