We began our journey with Alpacas just over 3 yrs ago. As I mentioned earlier my husband wandered off for a few minutes at Tullamore Show and returned having bought 3 of them!!. To be fair he has a huge interest in all animals so it wasn’t a massive surprise although at the time I was unsure what exactly they looked like.
The three arrived one afternoon amongst much excitement, and were a mother and daughter whom we named Nama and Toast and their gelded male protector whom we called Basil, Alpacas don’t do well on their own and need to be in company of at least one other Alpaca and preferably two.
They settled in well although there was an early incident involving an escaped alpaca, a main road and a passing Garda car!!
They are a great novelty with our neighbours and have lots of visitors wanted to see them, something my husband has warmly welcomed. Our 3 little Alpacas were getting on great and doing a fab job as the eco lawnmowers that we were hoping for when one day about 9 months after their arrival I came home with the kids to find that Nama had given birth. We did not know she was pregnant so this was a fantastic surprise for us……our very first Cria( baby alpaca) who was named Jemima.
Alpacas have an 11 month gestation term and bizarrely know that they are pregnant within 48 hrs of being covered….the pregnancy is normally confirmed by the “spit off” which is carried out one to two weeks after the initial covering, the male is reintroduced and if the female is pregnant she will not allow him near her and spits at him…thus the pregnancy is confirmed!
When more land became available around us we were lucky enough to be able to acquire it and so Paul was off on another Alpaca search. This time I thought he was looking at the set up of an Alpaca farm in England and he came back having bought an award winning Stud male, a pregnant female and her cria at foot and a gelded male, they were named Dorchester, Donna, Fenella and Chuckles respectively. And so our Alpaca farm started in earnest.
Last summer we welcomed three new crias…Nama’s daughter was named Oreo Bloom, Donna’s cria was names Luna Rosa and Jemima’s daughter we named Ladysmith Black Mombasa… My husband takes the naming process very seriously!
This summer we hope to have 6 more cria’s…we’ll have to put our thinking caps on for names for the expanding brood.