Most commonly asked questions about alpaca
What is the difference between a Llama and an alpaca?
A Llama weighs about 300-450Lbs, is much taller. An alpaca weighs about 150-175lbs.
A Llama has banana shaped ears that point in towards each other. An alpaca has short straight ears.
A Llama has a longer nose.
A Llama can be used as a pack animal for carrying cargo. Alpacas are not pack animals because of their smaller bone structure.
Llamas are protectors and they are alert. They are pack animals and workers. Alpacas, on the other hand, are timid, more relaxed, and can be just plain goofy.
How long does an alpaca live?
The oldest recorded alpaca lived to age 27 or 28, depending on which site you read! Typically an alpaca will live to between 15-23. Our oldest alpaca in our herd is Sunrise and she is 16 yrs old. She is still having babies!
What is the gestation period of an alpaca?
Typically gestation is 340 days or 11.5 months (as every Mom reading this groans!). However it can vary between 11 and 12 months.
Alpaca cria (babies are called a cria) are generally born between 7am and 3pm and if born later, it is important to make sure the cria is dry before nightfall (and bring it – and mum – into a shelter, if necessary).
A cria will usually be up and walking within 15 minutes. They gravitate towards Mom to nurse.
Why are males and females kept in separate paddocks?
Well....because the males have a sex drive that just doesn't simmer! They will continuously try to breed the females and can hurt their backs and can cause extensive internal damage.
The birds and the bees of alpacas:
Female alpacas don't have a heat cycle like a dog or a horse. They called "induced ovulators".
The male will "serenade" the female with a song that is called "orgling". The orgling induces the female to release an egg and then the session lasts approximately 20-30 minutes.
After about 12 days, we do what is called the "spit test". If the female spits at the male, then she is likely pregnant. If she lays on the ground (cushes) then she is ready to be bred again.