• Alpaca Fact Sheet #6: Alpacas as Herd Protectors

    Alpacas are normally gentle toward humans and other animals that are not seen as threatening but they have an innate dislike for canines and foxes. Their defence against such predators is to chase them away or pursue them and if necessary stamp at or on the predator with their front feet, rising off the ground onto their back legs if necessary before bringing their front legs down with considerable speed and force. Alpacas, when provoked in such a fashion, are very fast and will catch the predator in a short distance. There is also evidence that alpacas may deter attacks from eagles. more »
  • Alpaca Fact Sheet #5: Alpaca Nutrition

    Peruvian studies have shown that alpacas consume tall grasses in the wet season and short grasses in the dry season. Alpacas are highly adaptable grazers that will eat grass when it is available but they will adapt to sedges during dry periods of low grass availability. more »
  • Alpaca Fact Sheet #4: Body Condition Score (BCS) of Alpacas

    Keeping alpacas on a good plane of nutrition is essential for healthy reproduction as well as minimizing variations in the diameter along the length of the staple. Sudden changes in diet can result in sickness, foetal stress and tender fleece. Seasonal changes in dietary quality and quantity make it essential to monitor your animal’s body condition. more »
  • Alpaca Fact Sheet #3: Parturition (Birth)

    Most births occur during daylight hours and reputedly between 0800 and 1400 hours. Physical signs of approaching parturition are often imperceptible but changes in general behaviour are usually the most obvious outward sign that birth is imminent. Physical signs may include relaxation of the vulva, loss of the cervical mucus plug, slight increase in the size of the mammary gland and waxing of the tips of the teats (only if previously given birth). Behavioural changes include signs of obvious discomfort (including rolling and frequently lying down and getting up), frequently looking at their tail, and placing themselves in isolation to the rest of the herd, and frequent visits to the dung pile with little or no defecation. Other common body language includes sitting on one hip, ears back, and back arched. more »
  • Alpaca Fact Sheet #2: Mating Behaviour

    The male pursues the receptive female, attempting to mount her until she sits in 'cush' position. A male with good libido may chase a female for up to ten minutes. Once the female sits down, the male positions himself immediately behind her, manoeuvres his penis through her vulva into the vagina and cervix. With rhythmic thrusting movements semen is then deposited into the uterus of the female. If the male is properly positioned his back is characteristically arched with his pelvis close to the pelvis of the female. During copulation the male makes a characteristic guttural sound called 'orgling''. Copulation may continue for 5-55 minutes with an average time of 15-20 minutes. During mating other receptive females present may sit down beside the mating pair. Once ovulation has occurred, females are non-receptive and will actively reject the male, i.e. they spit, refuse to sit down and try to run away. Alpacas are non-seasonal breeders and will demonstrate year round sexual activity. more »

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