Top ten tips of alpaca nutrition, by Jane Vaughan BVSc PhD MACVSc
1. HOW MUCH TO FEED?
Alpacas will eat approximately 1.5% of their body weight as dry matter to maintain body weight (i.e. not growing, pregnant or lactating; Table 1).
Feed up to maintenance requirements with palatable, digestible roughage (leafy, green pasture, hay, silage).
E.g. 70 kg alpaca:
70 kg x 1.5% of body weight = 1.05 kg as dry matter (DM) i.e. all water removed from feed
1.1 kg DM x 100/20 = 5.3 kg lush pasture/day (grass with 20% DM content)
1.1 kg DM x 100/90 = 1.2 kg pasture hay/day (hay with 90% DM content)
Growing alpacas and late-pregnant and lactating females will eat about 2-2.5% of their body weight as dry matter. Feed up to maintenance requirements with palatable, digestible roughage (leafy, green pasture, hay, silage). Then supplement with energy/protein as required (good quality lucerne hay/oats/lupins/peas).
Table 1. Summary of feed requirements in alpacas.
Av. female 60-80 kg
Av. male 70-90 kg
(> 2.5-3 years of age)
(crias should double birth weight by 50 days of age)
(peak milk output 2-4 weeks postpartum)
|Dry Matter Intake
(DMI % BW/d)
|Crude Protein %||8-10%||14% < 12mo
12% > 12mo
|Crude Fibre %||25%||20-25%||20-25%|
|Neutral Detergent Fibre (% BW/d)||0.8-1.0%||0.6-0.8%||0.8-1.0%|