Pregnant Alpacas | Answering the top 5 questions on Google

We are halfway through July 2021 and this is our second year of breeding alpacas and third year of owning them. In that time we have learned alot about what is involved in breeding, from the basics such as what is a pregnant alpaca called? To choosing the right stud for the job and caring for our new born alpacas.


In this blog post and our Youtube video we will be answering the top 5 questions about pregnant alpacas on google to help you learn more about this wonderful part of our smallholding life.

Right now we are waiting for the arrival of our first cria of the year, so our story will focus on one of our pregnant alpacas and how we care for her. We will cover the adventure of finding the right stud male in another blog post.


Meet Toft Ambition. Ambition is our oldest female and is already mum to two of our alpacas here at Candleford Cottage. Candleford Amelia was born here in 2020 and was the first cria born at our home. She is in the photo below from late summer when they moved to a new paddock. Toft Samwise was born in 2019 and joined us here with Toft Ambition at around 3 months old.

White alpaca Toft Ambition with her Cria Candleford Amelia in the field at Candleford Cottage
Toft Ambition with Candleford Amelia, Summer 2019

Let's get into your top 5 questions.


What is a pregnant alpaca called?

The female alpaca will be known as a Hembra or just female. As a mum she may also be called the Dam. The father is known as the Sire, or the Stud male.

Did you know if a male is castrated, they will then be known as a wether?


What does a pregnant alpaca look like?

Generally alpacas seem to be good at hiding their pregnancy. If they are a first time mum it can be even more tricky to see the bump.

Here are a couple of photos of our girl Ambition, showing off her bump.


One thing to look for is how much their tummy looks like a smile. If the belly makes an emoji style big round smile, there is a good chance they are pregnant. But if it’s more like a sneaky, slanty smile, they probably aren’t pregnant or it is very early days.


There are other ways to double check for pregnancy. Carrying out a spit off or by having them scanned by the vet.


How long are alpacas pregnant?

Alpacas make you wait. A typical gestation is 11 ½ months!


They are also induced ovulators so when trying to get them pregnant you will put them to the stud on days 0, 7 and 14 and hope that on one of the later 7 day cycles your girl will become very grumpy and spit at the stud. You can then carry out spit offs intermittently to check if the pregnancy has held.


So this means when planning for being on Cria watch you will take your last sitting date, plus a window of two weeks either side to give you a good guide.


Can you shear a pregnant alpaca?

Definitely!


We would recommend that you don’t skip a year's shearing due to pregnancy. If you watch the video which accompanies this post, you will see I was stood in the middle of our field on one of the hottest weekends so far. Ambition still had a few weeks left until her due date, she had been sheared but she was still not enjoying the heat. All of the girls nostrils were flaring a little as they breathe.


The risk of heat exhaustion or complications far outweighs the risk of shearing.


Our advice would be to make sure you are booked in with an experienced alpaca shearer, make sure they are aware that your girl is pregnant especially if she is close to her due date or overdue. Your shearer will handle her quickly and carefully to minimise the time on the mat and the level of stress.



What is a baby alpaca called?

A baby alpaca is called a cria.

And here is a photo of Amelia as a cria in 2020.


Want to meet our alpacas and see how Ambition's pregnancy has progressed, book a visit now.



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