Baby alpacas are called “cria.” The mother carries the fetus for approximately 345 days. It is not unusual for a spring birth to come after a full year of gestation. Mothers tend to birth between the hours of 9am and 3pm. The cria present with their nose and two toes then fall to the ground shortly thereafter. The typical weight of a cria is between 14 and 18 pounds. Within an hour or so, the cria is walking and usually within 2 hours of birth, the cria is nursing.
The cria must be with his/her mom for the first 6 months. They may explore with tasting various things and imitating the adults by eating hay, but it truly takes about 6 months for their digestive system to prepare to turn hay into the protein that is needed to survive. Bottle feeding a cria should only be done when the mom isn’t producing milk, or has passed. Once the cria has reached about 60 pounds or 6 months, and he/she demonstrated independence, we will wean from mom.