|27. Artificial insemination||5|
|28. Semen collection||5|
29. Pregnancy detection
Breeding alpacas, as with any species, involves planning and timing. Hembras are generally sexually mature from 12 to 18 months of age and need to have a healthy body score of condition. Underweight or obese animals will have lower fertility rates.
It is preferable for for crias to be born in early spring or autumn. These seasons generally provide milder conditions with spring having the added bonus of more abundant feed.
Mating may be unsupervised in the paddock or often when planned between selected stock, they are supervised to ensure accurate selection of sire and dam and accuracy in due dates for birthing.
Females must be receptive before they will assume the cush position. The macho will mount over the top of her and thrust his pelvis until intromission is achieved. The hembra’s tail may need to be held out of the way to ensure that the male has achieved penetration and this may need to be checked by the person supervising. The macho’s back will form a curved shaped when penetration has occurred. The loud orgling sound that the machos make is necessary for receptivity and for ovulation to take place.
Artificial insemination (AI) is not generally practiced as the semen is too viscous. Alpacas are dribble ejaculators so this makes semen collection and usage prohibitive.
Another issue with AI is the issue of orgling to induce ovulation. This would mean that you would need a male around fairly consistently orgling, for the female to take the cush position and for ovulation to be triggered.
Embryo transfer is still not commonly used due to cost.
Pregnancy detection in alpacas may be carried out by one of two ways:
- Spitting-off: A male is brought towards the female and the female rejects him by either running away or spitting-off. Newly mated females may give a false positive to this within the first few weeks so it is worthwhile checking again at around six weeks.
- Ultrasound : This is the only way to determine a pregnancy with certainty as sometimes alpacas will give an incorrect false spit-off even though they are not pregnant. This method is carried out at around 60 to 90 days after mating.