Alpaca & Muscovy

Alpaca birthing signs and Alpaca smile at Kensmyth Alpaca, Clay Meadow

In the alpaca world a pregnant alpaca is often referred to as having a “smile”. However, this should not be mistaken for the dropped belly of a fat alpaca or one who has had many cria already.

So what to look for as the gestation lengthens? The gestation is 11.5 months but the alpaca can give birth happily 4 weeks early and two months late. So some of the signs are often missed as you never know, even if keeping records on a previous breeder, what an alpaca will do.. that is the joy of them.

The female below is at 11.1 months of gestation in this photo but has previously gone well over 12 months! However, the “smile” is distinct even now..

Have a look at the maiden non pregnant fawn in the photo above to the right and you will see the straight belly as opposed to the “smile”

other signs to look for are the elongation of the vagina and wrinkly appearance as it all starts getting ready for action – the only question is when which is why you must be on site to oversee the birth..


Finally, as well as demeanour in the female herself, you can with the aid of a trusty mobile reverse the camera and look underneath to see what the udder is doing.. clearly no action here so far! In later stages the udder will be rounded and there will be wax globules blocking the teats to stop the loss of precious colostrum for the cria.

But wait – not all alpaca show any signs or some of the signs and milk may not come in until after the birth – that is alpaca for you!