• Alpaca Semen Characteristics Previous to a Mating Period

    Increasing the knowledge of the semen characteristics in the alpaca will contribute to understanding one of the many factors that affect the poor fertility rate in this species. Ten adult male alpacas, 2.6–10 years of age, average weight 64.7±4.7 kg were used. The animals were distributed randomly into two groups of five each and submitted alternatively to two semen collections, using an artificial vagina and sexually receptive females. For the first semen collection the animals had a sexual rest period of about 90 and 45 days before the second. Duration of semen collection, color and volume of ejaculate were recorded, and sperm concentration and morphology (light microscopy) were evaluated. Descriptive statistical analyses were used for each variable, considering all samples obtained (n=19). An analysis of variance for animal groups and opportunity of collection were used for quantitative variables. Most frequent color was opalescent white (84.2%). There were no statistical differences among male groups or between semen collections. The average values and standard deviations for the quantitative variables were: 12.3±7.2 min for semen collection time, 1.8±0.8 ml for ejaculate volume, (17.6±26.1)×106 sperm/ml for sperm concentration and 34.0±52.2×106 for total number of sperm per ejaculate. The percentage of normal spermatozoa was 51.0±12.4%. From the total abnormalities, that of mid piece segment (14.4%) was the most frequent. These results indicate that male alpaca have poor semen quality, when compared with other domestic species. Nevertheless, for the evaluation of male alpaca as breeders it would be necessary to create a protocol for the selection of them, where phenotypic, behavioral and seminogram aspects are considered. The values reported herein define the characteristics of the alpaca semen that could be considered as the initial base of the seminal analysis to select male alpacas before mating. more »
  • Nutrition Issues Associated with Pregnancy, Nursing and Breeding

    Good quality grasses (the pasture is always best), hays and other good “rumen foods” are what the camelid physiology is built for. The major issue we see on farms is overfeeding and fat animals. more »

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