Male Breeding Cycles
A question many ask when looking into potential of acquiring a couple of alpaca is how many males they should have and how often can a male breed which is a very valid question. In south America for example have herds been known to copulate for periods at a time that ranges anywhere from 5 minutes to nearly an hour and also as much as 30 times a day when durations were shorter.
However in a few days, less than a week actually these same males might not copulate at all or only once or twice a day depending on the females’ willingness. This physical exhaustion that is due to the excessive breeding while at the same time the stress of protecting his females and his turf from other males in rivalry is incredibly bad as it causes a significantly reduced breeding ability.
Dr Walter Bravo an alpaca reproductive expert has made the finding that any alpaca male that breeds more than four times in one day will be counterproductive. The male potency drops significantly to zero after a maximum of three breeds a day. Thus if the male breeds after that in essence is he shooting blanks which is a bad result for the breeder’s outcome as the female is affected and not only the male.
Even though the male shot blanks the activity cause ovulation on the female’s part without conception. This is very bad as the female will be effectively out of the pool of breeding for no less that 20 days later for her progesterone level to drop enough in order for receptivity to return.
In a large herd males must be rotated and it has happened that one female is served by a succession of males without having one pregnancy for a year simply because each male that has been with her had been too active before getting to her. This breeding method is what cause the low South American fertility rates and close to 40 % of females not carrying a cria for over a year.