Alpacas are very efficient at digesting their food. They are ruminants with a three chambered stomach. This allows for the slow passage of food through digestive systems thereby getting the most nutrition out of what they eat. First and foremost, alpacas are grazing animals, and this should make up the vast majority of their diet. Additional supplementation of their diet with a grain based feed may or may not be desirable depending upon the use of the alpaca. Pregnant and lactating females, as well as growing youngsters usually are supplemented with some feed in addition to their forage in the form of either pasture or hay. The amount of feed will depend upon the condition of the alpaca. Even lactating, pregnant females do not require large amounts of grain, usually between 12 – 16 ounces per day in addition to their forage. Non breeding alpacas usually do fine on a diet of pasture and hay. Care should be taken not to over feed, as this is not healthy or economical. Hay should be mold-free and not weedy. The preferred hay for alpacas is second cutting grass hay. Total daily intake of forage and grain averages approximately 2 ½ pounds per day. Additionally, a mineral supplement should be made available to them. Of course, clean, fresh water should ALWAYS be available to them.
Friday, September 5, 2014