Monday, March 4, 2013
The Basics of Alpaca Feeding
The basic elements of every alpaca's diet are pasture, hay, concentrates, minerals and water. The following is some essential information on these nutrients.
Alpacas not only graze but also browse. That means they’ll rid your pastures of certain amounts of brush and unwanted plants, such as blackberry and wild rose, while nourishing themselves. Alpacas browse, but not as efficiently as llamas do, and they prefer (by far) nice soft grass. You can probably get by with existing pastures when adding a few alpacas to your hobby farm menagerie, but if your plans exceed a few head, discuss pasture renovations with your county extension agent. The agent can help you with grass and legume mixes that thrive in your locale and how to overseed them into existing pasture. If you need to start over from scratch, the agent will help you with that option as well. Pastures seeded specifically for alpacas are usually mixes of several grasses and possibly a legume or two. Orchard grass, timothy, fescue, white clover and alfalfa are typical ingredients. Keep in mind that some types of pasture forage must be reseeded at intervals while others just grow and grow.
High-fiber alpaca diets based on high-quality pasture and hay are best. The best dry forage is long fiber grass hay. Feeding to much high-protein hay such as alfalfa, clover, lespedeza and other legumes can create the same problems as high-protein concentrates do. Because hay is so important, I discuss the necessary nutrient values in a different section.
Concentrates - Pellets
Cool, Clean Water