Araminta was the first of 15 safely delivered cria this Spring, with a further eight still to arrive. On average, the gestation period for an alpaca is just under eleven and a half months, however, it is not unusual for the birth to be three weeks on either side of the estimated due date ensuring our breeders are kept on their toes for a couple of months!
Ordinarily giving birth during the day and when the weather is good, alpacas have evolved to do this with good reason - in the Andes, a wet newborn may get too cold to survive the night or, if not mobile, could be taken by a predator.
Looking back over the past month Araminta has gained over 10kg in weight and no longer needs a protective coat to protect against any chilly breezes. Her days have been spent with her mum, Perdy, in the lush green fields playing with the rest of the herd. For her first few weeks, and when the weather was unseasonably cold and wet, the pregnant females and mums with young cria were settling down in the barn for the night, providing a safe, secure, place for the alpacas to sleep. With over 30 acres of land to roam in, our alpacas are very much free to have fun with one another. Whilst the males are kept separately from the females, they both have acres of land to roam in. Our breeders care immensely for the welfare of their alpaca and now Araminta and the older cria spend all their time out in the open fields with their mums, just coming in for extra feed in the morning and evening.
Having seen her mum being shorn for the first time in May, Araminta still has her cria fleece and will have her first main shearing next spring as the weather gets warmer. Shearing is incredibly important for alpaca as it not only prevents overheating of the animal but also prevents the matting of fleece causing painful skin conditions. She will also be ‘cria sheared’ in July - this shearing takes of the tips off her fleece.
During the cria shearing process, both her head and tail fleece will be left longer as alpacas recognise their offspring by smell so this will help Perdy, her mum, to recognise Araminta, even she looks different.
From day one Araminta has been incredibly inquisitive! Well socialised, she is an incredibly confident young alpaca who is happy to roam in the herd rather than staying by mum’s side! That being said, you do notice mum Perdy watching carefully, to make sure she is not getting into too much trouble or any danger.
Over the next few months, Araminta will enjoy her time in the herd before being weaned by around 6 months of age.