top of page

Breeding Alpacas

If you have a collection of beautiful alpacas there comes a point at which you start to think about what it might be like to breed your own.

Priscilla and Paloma 2019

Crias are the most gorgeous little things even though at birth they appear to be all neck and legs. Seeing them being born and develop is an amazing experience. There are however several things that need to be taken into consideration.

The first question is what am I wanting to achieve by putting this particular male and female together. An important fact to be aware of at this point is that, what you get in terms of colour and sex is pretty much potluck. Looking at the animals genetics and history may give an indication of the possibilities, but what you actually get cannot be guaranteed. Our experience, which admittedly is very limited, in breeding for multi coloured combinations has been that the colour characteristics of the father have come through (in some way) no matter what colour the female. (If only it was that easy). We have a beautiful girl, Paloma who took on the characteristic colourway of her father, Churchill Lopham, to such an extent that people have identified her as his daughter. Again, if that were always the case it would be much easier.

The important factors that people look at are:


Having particular characteristics that are sought after present in the parents (sire and dam) and within their pedigree obviously means there is a greater chance of those characteristics recurring. If an Alpaca is BAS registered then its entire pedigree and be researched. There are some particular blood lines that are well sought after because of their genetic history (indicated by their registered name) In years to come we would love to be thought of as one of those names that are renowned for their superb quality animals.


This is basically the shape of the animal and how it looks and holds itself.

The look we aspire to create begins with the alpaca’s head. The ears need to be arrowhead shaped and erect with large dark eyes. The nose should be soft and the head generally wedge shaped. We can describe the proportions of the animal in thirds with the head and neck making up the first third. The body making up another third, and the legs making up the final third. The neck and back form almost a 90° angle and the back is straight when the alpaca is upright and alert. The alpacas shape should appear squared off, having four strong straight legs, sitting at the corners. The best alpacas in any herd will catch your eye with an alert, erect appearance and fluid graceful movement.


A good huacaya's fleece is dense, uniform and grows perpendicular to the skin with crimped staples of fine fibre. Suri fleeces have longer well organised locks of silk or cashmere like texture that are bright, soft and lustrous. The crimped appearance should extend over the head neck and body in an ideal fleece. Alpaca fibre can be as fine as 14-15 microns but this varies over the animals fleece.


The age at which an alpaca starts to breed differs between the sexes with males generally developing later than females. A female alpaca may fully mature (physically and mentally) between 12–24 months but older is preferable, A minimum body weight of 45kg – 50 kg being an indicator of maturity from a body perspective. A male is usually ready to mate for the first time between 30-36 months.

Female Alpacas will only ovulate in response to the act of mating, which is why it is not possible to artificially inseminate alpacas.

Smokey and Jasmine 2021

During the mating (above) you can see Smokey mounting Jasmine as she lies in the ‘cush’ position. The mating can take up to half an hour during which time the males make a characteristic ‘orgling’ sound.

After the initial mating, we reintroduced him to her a week later and she allowed him to mate with her again. When we repeated this a week later again, she spat at him and refuse to sit. This is called "spitting off" and is used as a test of pregnancy. It is a good indication of pregnancy, however, up until 60 days of pregnancy there is a high re-absorption rate (10-20%). Checking with spitting-off and/or ultrasound is often useful at a later date. The optimum time for scanning is between 60-90 days.

Gestation averages 335-355 days from the conception date with some not unpacking (born) for 380+ days. Some swelling of the abdomen is noticeable during the last three months. In the final month the cria's movements and an occasional kick may be visible. Noticeable udders are only visible in the female about two weeks before unpacking.

Most females deliver in the standing position. The actual birthing process being completed in 30-45 minutes. The placenta usually passes within an hour but sometimes this can take longer. The cria’s are able to stand and walk within the first hour after birth.

Stormy finding his feet


bottom of page