A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

June 3, 2007

Man Made Mammals

Filed under: alpaca, Alpaca Reproduction, Alpacas, camelids, Crias, General — alpacalady @ 7:14 am

Yesterday evening I caught a program on the Discovery Channel called Man Made Mammals.  The program featured examples of mammals that are in danger of becoming extinct and how through using techniques such as artificial insemination and cloning, scientists are trying to save those endangered species.  It was a very interesting program and made me think how the subject of artificially inseminating alpacas has been a quiet one of late in the alpaca industry.

Due to the anatomy of the alpaca reproductive system and the way it operates, to date artificial insemination in alpacas has been largely unsuccessful.  I believe that there has been some success with the technique in Australia, but the success is limited and with many alpacas available to reproduce naturally I wonder if the reason for the lack of news on the subject is an indication of the lack of success with the program. 

I am sure in time someone will persist with artificial insemination in alpacas, but for now I am glad to continue with things the way nature intended.  We still have so much to learn about alpacas and it’s not as if they are in danger of extinction without the use of techniques such as artificial insemination.  It does mean that we have to physically travel our alpacas more than maybe other livestock breeders travel their breeding stock, but as the industry grows there are more top quality males that are geographically closer to us which makes our breeding decisions easier.

I wondered as I watched the show tonight if I would have found it quite as interesting prior to becoming an alpaca breeder.  I have been fascinated with animals all of my life and so the chances are I would have been interested in the program, but being an active livestock breeder does spark you interest on certain subjects!  One thing I do know is that having seen the process involved in artificially inseminating an elephant I really am glad that it’s alpacas that I am breeding and not elephants!

Rosemary

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