Episode I: Amber and Luminescence
Our alpacas are usually “handbred”. This means that we choose a male who will complement and improve our female and we put the two of them together in a stall or a pen outside. Then we observe them breed. This way we get a due date which helps us know when to start watching for a cria (baby alpaca). It also means that we observe any unusual behavior or problems, and we know who the daddy is going to be.
Here, maiden Amber is breeding with our herdsire, Luminescence. This will be Amber’s first cria. She is fairly new to the whole breeding experience. Alpacas are very social creatures. When breedings occur, the whole herd wants to know what’s going on. They are curious and breeding is somewhat of a social event. “Oh, look, Marge…Amber’s breeding! Isn’t that nice for her?! Next year she’ll have a cria. I always said she’d make a great mother.”
During the breeding, we had some other interested alpacas. Mature audiences may read on…
If another female is open (not pregnant), she will generally sit down next to a breeding. This is her way of indicating that she is also interested in breeding. Alpaca girls’ bodies and hormones tell them that they need to be pregnant. Pregnancy is a very desired state by these gals. Notice Isolde, above, is sitting down next to the breeding pair, watching them intensely.
When alpacas are breeding, the female will turn back and look lovingly at the male. This may be her way of encouraging him. Call me a romantic, but it always looks like they are falling in love. Here, she may also be telling him to ignore Isolde, who is sneaking under the fence, and to focus on her.
Now Isolde has gotten as far under the fence as she can to indicate to Luminescence that she’d like to be next. Notice Harrah, who is at the window, looking in to see what’s going on. Meanwhile, Luminescence is unconcerned about what all these women are doing. He’s just doin’ his job, ma’am.
Finally, Isolde gets tired of waiting and falls asleep! Most of the time, we only allow the male to breed one female. After he rests, he may breed again later in the day or the next day. When females give us a clear indication that they are ready to breed (like Isolde did here), we know that she is very receptive and will probably conceive if bred within the next day or so.
Sadly, Isolde is still waiting on her Prince Charming. But cheer up, girl! Your date Magnum will be coming down from Virginia within the next couple of weeks.
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