A few weekends ago my husband and I enjoyed an evening picnic with a herd of Alpacas at Lost Mountain Alpaca Ranch. This place is amazing! They do farm tours, host yoga classes with the Alpacas, birthday parties, etc. You name it, they do it! And the picnic is once a month, so schedule your time with the Alpacas when you can. Their events fill up fast!
Dave and Tina are great hosts, making sure to be available to answer any questions. They are passionate about what they are doing and love sharing their knowledge. They know the personalities of each of their Alpacas and have had three babies since starting their farm. None have they been able to witness in person. Seems the mama Alpacas prefer their privacy having their babies when no one is home or in the midde of the night when everyone is sleeping.
This farm has no males on site but prefer to use a male from another Alpaca farm north of Atlanta to breed with their chosen females. Another Alpaca farm I’ve visited had their males separate from the females, for what would appear to be obvious reasons. You don’t want them mating in front of guests, including children, or having Cria (a baby Alpaca) all the time. But it’s more that that, so I found out . . . female Alpacas are induced ovulators; meaning the act of mating and the presence of semen causes them to ovulate. Females usually conceive after just one breeding, but occasionally do have trouble conceiving. Alpacas can breed at any time throughout the year but it is more difficult to breed in the winter. Most breed during autumn or late spring. The gestation period is, on average, 11.5 months, and usually results in a single offspring.
Twins are rare, occurring about once per 1000 deliveries. Cria are generally between 15 and 19 pounds, and are standing 30 to 90 minutes after birth. After a female gives birth, she is generally receptive to breeding again after about two weeks. Silly Alpaca! Crias may be weaned through human intervention at about six months old and 60 pounds, but many breeders prefer to allow the female to decide when to wean her offspring; they can be weaned earlier or later depending on their size and emotional maturity.
The average lifespan of an Alpaca is between 15 and 20 years, and the longest-lived Alpaca on record is 27 years.
As always, we had such a great time visiting with the animals. It was weird, they didn’t even try to eat our food, unlike our Greyhounds! You gotta love that! Dave and Tina provided small buckets of Alpaca food to feed them which is probably why – I’m sure they were getting their fill of hay and grains.
I am always captivated by Alpacas, as you can tell, and swear I’ll have some on a farm one day. It’s definitely a bucket list item! They are just so comical and amazing to watch.
If you are in the Powder Springs, Georgia area or plan a visit to Atlanta, I highly recommend you visit this farm. It is nestled in the middle of stately homes – you’d never know it was there. Definitely worth a visit!