Alpaca babies are so exciting to have on your farm! Here is some great basic information to get you started. So first… the timelines!
The images below can be easily pinned to your Pinterest boards, so be sure to pin them for later reference! You can skip right over the details and get my images with info below! 🙂
Alpaca Birthing Timeline
Most of our alpacas have a gestation period of 350 days on average but we have had some babies go over a year!!!
The signs of pre-labor can vary and some of my girls already have their babies before we wake up. For ours, we’ve noticed they tend to be by themselves and just look a bit uncomfortable. Once the legs and nose are poking out, that’s when things get really exciting! If you see the nose and front legs, take a deep breath and enjoy the rest. Sometimes the moms will take a break once the head and legs are out. They will walk around and we keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t get too close to fences and gates. This part usually doesn’t take very long.
Alpaca Newborn Timeline
You’ll be thrilled once the baby is on the ground safely! Now you will watch for the baby to start wiggling around and trying to cush. All great signs that the baby is doing well. If there is no action and baby is limp, use a towel and gently massage the body. If still very little response, you can give the baby a little bit of karo syrup or molasses by putting some on your finger and rubbing it on the inside of the lips.
Normally, the baby will already be trying to get up at 15 minutes or so. Within an hour, they will be walking around and looking for milk. Some do take a little longer, so just keep an eye on their activity level and alertness.
Around this time, watch for the mom to expel her placenta. Alpacas do not eat their placenta like some other mammals, so check to make sure it is fully intact and then dispose of it properly. Some moms will not want to nurse their babies until the placenta is expelled.
The baby should be nursing within about 4 hours after birth. Some are quick and will be nursing within 45 minutes of birth. Others can take a little longer. Make sure the mom’s milk is in. It is critical for the baby to get colostrum in the first 24 hours. If the mom’s milk is not available, you can use frozen colostrum to supplement in the first 24 hours. After 24 hours, we have used goat milk.
Below the timeline images, you can watch my video on some of our alpaca baby experiences, challenges and what we did to fix the situations. You are welcome to ask me questions through our contact form anytime. I have a Youtube channel, so make sure to subscribe if you enjoy our content 😉