Friday, July 25, 2008

Alpaca Breeding 101 / 'Paca Porno

I think that Beth and I helped Lars (Polaris) do a successful breeding with Lady Belita today. Someone told me that they watched alpaca or llama breeding on the "Dirtiest Jobs" show. I don't know why it would be considered dirty, it's not like we got spit on, or kicked, or anything like that.
First of all, if the female is ready to be bred, she will cush, like white Ariana is doing in this first picture. If she is already bred, or has a headache ☺, or something, she will spit, run away, maybe kick, or like Belita - do a growling, warning thing. Almost anything to let the male know that she is not receptive.
Belita did none of these things, but just stood there so Beth and I did a little "one, two, three, slide her front feet back" and down she went.
Now you need to know that this was Lars's second breeding attempt. He's our homegrown herdsire and only 2 and 1/2 years old.
My role was something like this "No, Lars, not the head, nope, not her side either, yep, back there, no, no, don't slide back, good boy, good boy, opps, get up there."
Beth is on her knees holding Belita's tail out of the way (tail is covered with a sock, don't want Lars getting a fiber burn), and observing and reporting to me any connections being made.
And SUCCESS! We had about a 20 minute breeding.

We will probably have our vet do an ultrasound and/or a progesterone test in a month to be sure that she's pregnant. If not, we will try again in the fall. Alpaca gestation is 11 months and we try to plan births to avoid high heat and extreme cold.
This is our handsome herd sire, Polaris, on the left. He is a very gentle guy with lovely conformation and fleece. We are hoping he has it figured out so that Beth and I don't have to be so actively involved. Sometimes we get to giggling thinking about what we would look like if someone walked into the barn.