Qurly Q, one of our top female alpacas, gave birth to an alpaca cria. That is what alpaca babies are called. Her name is COKAL's Bianca. Her birth weight was 16.1 lbs.
The duration of pregnancy lasts 11.5 months. Usually an alpaca cria has a weight at birth between 15 and 20 lbs. First the nose can be seen then the front legs,?followed by the body and back legs. To give birth the alpaca mother keeps a standing position. Most alpaca crias are born late morning or early afternoon. That helps the little creature to survive in their natural environment. It can get dry before the colder night starts. Alpacas don't lick their alpaca cria because of the anatomy of their tongue. ?The birth of alpaca cria twins is exceptional. Shortly after it?is?born the alpaca cria stands up and starts to nurse. Early nursing is very important. With the first milk, called colostrum, the alpaca cria gets very important immune competent substances, antibodies, which protects from infections during their initial period of life. Normally the placenta comes out within one hour, sometimes slightly longer.
How and when do we have to help?
The birth of an alpaca cria usually happens without any human intervention. We just close the ruptured umbilical cord by a clamp and apply some iodine tincture to prevent infections. Unlike some other animals alpacas don't eat the placenta. We have to remove it not to attract other animals. If the alpaca cria is not nursing quite soon, we have to give colostrum. Goat colostrum is appropriate. In rare cases, for example if the alpaca cria is born too early and is pre-mature, or the mother is not able to produce enough milk, we might have to bottle feed it. We always take the weight of our new born cria every day at least for the first week. They should gain weight very quickly. Bianca gained 4 pounds in 7 days. She is meanwhile very cute and vigorous. In one year we will shear her for the first time, and we expect to get excellent fleece. Please visit our online shop to see what can be manufactured out of alpaca fleece or subscribe to our newsletter.