The importation of 100 alpacas from Chile in 1989 has enabled some preliminary observations to be made on the performance of these animals under farming conditions in Otago. After one year the adult female liveweights (70.8-72.8 kg) exceeded that of alpacas farmed in South America. Cria showed high growth rates (176 gm/day) to weaning at 5 months of age. Sixty two cria were born and their survival to 7 months of age was high (92%). Only 22% of females had cria following spring mating but a more successful autumn mating resulted in 61% pregnant. Adult females clipped 1.7 kg and males 2.8 kg of fibre. The fibre diameter from females averaged 28.8 microns and from males 30.6 microns. Nine month old cria clipped 1.7 kg of fibre with a mean diameter of 23.4 microns. These preliminary data indicate that alpacas are adapting well to this new environment, but as in South America, there are problems of low fertility.

RJ, Wilkins

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 51, , 211-218, 1991
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