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 4. Breeding and Genetics
 Flock Mating
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Marina

3 Posts

Posted - 10/08/2014 :  12:31:43 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hello from New Zealand everyone.

We recently acquired 3 male and 6 female alpacas. Two of the males have been castrated. The females are between 12 and 16 years old - an older couple's breeding females which they had to move on. The entire male is about 3 years old.

We mated them last March (autumn here in NZ) and, following the advice of the breeder we bought them from, we have separated them after a fortnight and they have been separated ever since.

We are not so worried about producing lots of cria - we're quite happy to have them as lawn mowers and fibre providers but a few cria out of the old ladies would be nice for rejuvenation.

I've already gathered a lot of useful information on this forum and found the experiences that pregnant females have been accidentally mated and they didn't abort very interesting.

For us it is a huge nuissance to keep the males apart from the females as we don't have that many paddocks and once possible cria arrive and get to weaning age this will be even more difficult.

I'd love to hear whether some breeders have left the males and females together and what their experiences are. We were told that the females may abort their cria to be able to mate again - but how likely is this?


Judith

4103 Posts

Posted - 10/08/2014 :  07:44:37 AM  Show Profile  Send Judith a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
Hi Maria - it's not so much that the females would abort in order to re-mate, but rather that the act of copulation in alpacas is very hard on the female, with the male's penis actually extending past the cervix and into the womb. Clearly this could interrupt an ongoing pregnancy and cause an abortion of the growing cria. If the herd were kept together, this act could happen repeatedly. Each time, the female would incur injury and scarring, possible infection, and probable loss of ability to procreate at all. In addition, because of their proximity to the females, the males - whether intact or gelded - would fight, possibly resulting in injuries to one another. I realize that in some situations, entire herds have run together for long periods of time, but in my opinion this is neither healthy nor manageable, since the owner would never know when to expect births, and there would likely be heavy losses of crias because of unpreparedness. In other words, I wouldn't recommend it.

Judith Korff
AlpacaNation Forum Co-Moderator
The Pastel Paca at LadySong Farm
Randolph, NY 14772
Cell: (716) 499-0383
www.alpacanation.com/ladysong.asp
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Marina

3 Posts

Posted - 10/08/2014 :  4:15:25 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you for this info, Judith. I didn't know that the actual act of copulation is that involved.

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bobvicki

2967 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2014 :  09:34:05 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
And then there is the depends side of the situation:

Depending on your males and how old the castrated ones are and their attitude and how aggressive you intact male is. Some males wont take NO for a reality and will continue to pressure the females, and some males will totally back off from pregnant females.

Depending on your year round weather the idea of not knowing when cria's are coming isn't terrible and the reality is they have been having cria's for long time and the need for help is the exception rather than the rule.

Where I see your biggest problem is "down the road" because with half the births on average being males you could very easily run into the situation in 4 or 5 years of having a large group of males that either have to be castrated very young or having many fights.

The biggest advantage to keeping them separate at this time is you can selectively breed and may even want to breed to a better male for some of them. If your one male is related to any of the females you will be having line-bred or inbreeding situations and if they are all kept together you will have the sire of the female cria's breeding them too. You would really want to read up on those types of situations are not what the casual breeder/owner is prepared to deal with.

Bob

Bob & Vicki Blodgett
Suri Land Alpaca Ranch
10371 N 2210 Road
Clinton, Oklahoma 73601
641-831-3576
alpaca@htswireless.com
www.alpacanation.com/suriland.asp
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Marina

3 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2014 :  5:48:27 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you, Bob.

I have started reading on this forum well before we got the females and found a lot of very interesting info. I was shocked about how young a female cria can become pregnant for instance. Having that happen worries me more than possible abortion, scarring and infertility in the older girls.

Our girls are much bigger than the males. The breeder has told us that back then they bred for size, now they breed for fineness of fleece and high production of fibre. All but one tower over the males and they are so much more experienced so they may not comply with the male's wishes.

That is part of the reason for my enquiries: we'll have to separate the young ones so need yet another 2 paddocks.

One thing that may disturb some of you is that we intend to use surplus young males for meat - unless they have superior fibre. The price of (unregistered) Alpacas here in New Zealand has come down to a level similar to sheep. Our entire male can be registered, the females are registered but we didn't transfer registration as this would have cost more than what we paid for the whole flock. We enjoy them very much and my daughter and I are into knitting and a bit of meat for the table would be very much welcomed here.

So different goals from most of you but I'm pretty sure there will be more like us as prices are continuing to come down. For the breeder we got our females from it was nice to know that their old girls will have a forever home and we might get a small flock of young females out of them before they are too old to breed.
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Judith

4103 Posts

Posted - 10/10/2014 :  09:23:13 AM  Show Profile  Send Judith a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
Not to worry - there are breeders here who are also participating in the meat/pelt aspects of the industry. You can usually even talk about it out loud on various venues and not be attacked with tar and pitchforks.

Judith Korff
AlpacaNation Forum Co-Moderator
The Pastel Paca at LadySong Farm
Randolph, NY 14772
Cell: (716) 499-0383
www.alpacanation.com/ladysong.asp
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