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Feeding Alpacas

Alpacas need a good pasture and eat grass hay. Pellets are also fed as mineral supplements. Weight and body score should be monitored on an regular basis feeding should be adjusted as needed to maintain a healthy weight.  Hay and water should be tested periodically to make sure your alpaca is getting the nutrients it requires.


Pasture


Alpacas do well on a combination of pasture and clean, grass-type hay. Overfeeding or dependence on protein-rich hays, such as alfalfa, are unhealthy. Our pastures consist of a mixture of orchard grass, timothy, clover, and alfalfa (no more than 20%). We periodically check pasture for poisonous grasses such as fescue.


Pellets


We have fed our alpacas several different brands of alpaca pellets.  We are currently feeding Hubbard brand feed.  We prefer the pellets due to less incidence of choking.  We have found that the crumbles cause more choking in our alpacas.  You need to experiment to see what type is best for your herd.   Other brands of feed are Buckeye, Mazuri (available at Tractor Supply) and some farms have a local mill special blend their feed.  The blending usually requires a large order and some farms go in together to get a better quantity price.


Most brands suggest feeding  approximately 1/2 pound of pellets per day per alpaca. Slightly more for lactating females, weanlings between 3 months to 1 year, under-weight or ill alpacas. Less for over-weight alpacas. Alpacas like cold weather and are well equipped to deal with winter. However, they may require more nourishment for severe cold.  We usually break up this amount into two feedings.


Water


Fresh, clean water should be available at all times. In winter months, ensure water buckets are not frozen over by using heated buckets.  Also, ensure water temperature is palatable to the alpacas. They may refuse water that is too warm or too cold. Heated water buckets have thermostats that should keep the water at the proper temperature.

Updated December 31, 2016