Cria data

Alpaca cria data

Birth weight

It is generally recognised as good practice to monitor the weights of crias as they grow through their first few weeks.  One reference book states that the normal birth weight will be anything from 6 to 10.4 Kg, with half a Kg being lost in the first day or two and then weight being gained at about 125 grams per day for the first couple of weeks and twice that per day thereafter.   Another book states that the average weight is 7.5 Kg, with 1.5 Kg gained per week for the first two months.

We try to weigh our crias every day for those first few days.  Our results are shown in the graph below, where the solid dark lines are the minimum and maximum figures to be expected from the books, and the heavy dotted line shows the nominal 7.5 Kg birth weight with 1.5 Kg growth per week.

Cria weight graph - first three weeks

As can be seen, our crias (82 of them so far) are consistently well above the minimum, and usually well above the maximum.  The four heaviest birth-weight crias have all been from the same mother, who is a rather large animal herself (last weighed at 107.7 Kg !).  One of the two animals to fall below the minimum line was imported from Chile in utero, and has always remained small – though perfectly healthy.  The other is one of this year’s crop, just 5.4 Kg at birth after 349 days gestation, gaining weight slowly, but otherwise lively and extremely healthy so far !  Our average birth weight to date has been 8.44 Kg (8.56 for males, 8.33 for females).  The year-on-year trend seems to show the average weight of a male is increasing, while that of females is decreasing – but only very slightly in both cases.

Of the 82 cria, 30 lost some weight within the first three days; most of them about 100 grams.  Only one has lost significantly more than that, at 560 grams, which was recovered by day 5.

I suspect that the figures quoted in the books may be out-dated, and possibly based on South American animals which don’t benefit from the nutritious feed (and possibly better husbandry) which alpacas experience in the UK.

Click on the graph above to get a bigger image, and please feel free to contact us if you require more information.


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