all heard stories of the recently purchased 'pregnant' llama
who fails to deliver! Late perhaps? A little more time passes
...until her owner resigns himself to the unhappy fact she
is not pregnant after all. Why!! New llama owners aren't
the only breeders to suffer this disappointment.
how to ensure it doesn't happen to you!
most vets have ultrasound equipment so testing is easy.
And if purchasing a 'pregnant' llama, the buyer is entitled
to ask the vendor to provide an ultrasound certificate,
confirming the llama is pregnant at purchase.
llamas, like all livestock can ... and occasionally
will ... abort at any time during the pregnancy ...
but it is generally accepted that this takes place
during those first 90 days.
we can't prevent abortion, we can ascertain whether
or not it has occurred.
simplest method is by introducing an entire male to
the pregnant females, at regular intervals throughout
their pregnancy. This is called 'spitting off'.
the female is pregnant she'll reject the male's advances,
flattening her ears, elevating her head and 'spitting'
at him. But if she's aborted she'll be receptive and
probably sit for him.
2-3 weeks, we pen our pregnant females in a yard approximately
5m x 10m, then lead a haltered male past each female.
He need not be a stud male ... just mature and entire.
soon becomes obvious which girls are pregnant. Whether
it's the flattened ears; raised head; extended height;
spitting or just moving as far from the male as possible,
the message "Stay away! You're not welcome!"
is abundantly clear.
avoid mistakes, each female is released from the yard as
soon as she signals her rejection of the male. This process
of assessment is easily managed and takes only a few minutes.
larger breeders run a stud male with a group of females
almost constantly. The male is removed from the female herd
only during those times when breeding would result in births
taking place during bad weather … or at times unsuited to
the breeder's designated breeding program.
advantage of this practice, should a female abort, is the
male will remate her immediately. However, the disadvantage
is the inability of the breeder to establish accurate mating
dates … and birthing dates.
the spit-off method works, but very occasionally a female
may give the impression she's pregnant, by rejecting the
male, when in fact she's not. Should this occur, invariably
it's the result of a medical condition, the details of which
need to be discussed with a veterinarian.