by GLAA members Lorrie and Randy Krause of Alpaca Acres (retired)
Alpacas are gentle on the land and efficient users of feed. A couple acres of good pasture can support 4 to 8 alpacas. Feeding consists of pasturw and/or hay. We also feed pellets and mineral supplements. In order to be sure your animals are getting the nutrition they need, we recommend continuously monitoring the weight, frame/body score, and conditions of the alpacas and adjust feeding as needed. You can also have your local agricultural agent seasonally test your pasture, water and hay.
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.
Alpaca or Llama Profile made by Land O Lakes is a well-balanced feed with excellent trace minerals. We prefer the crumbled pellets because there seems to be less incidence of choking caused by the larger pellets. If unavailable in your area, other excellent feeds are produced by Buckeye and Mazuri.
Feed 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.
Select supplements that are prepared to balance the nutrients deficient in your forage and according to your alpacas needs. We leave free-choice minerals available. Growing crias, lactating females and ill alpacas are given vitamins with probiotics. Some alpacas may need to be grained with crimped or rolled corn, crimped oats and molasses.
Fresh, clean water should be available at all times. In winter months, ensure water buckets are not frozen over. Also, ensure water temperature is palatable to the alpacas. They may refuse water that is too warm or too cold. This is of special concern with heated water buckets warming the water too much or keep full systems that do not pump enough cold water into the already warmed water.