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About Alpacas
General Information   About Alpacas - Often Asked   About Alpacas - Funny things alpacas do  

What do I feed my alpacas? Alice feeding Nicholas

In South America, alpacas have developed in high altitude areas with often scarce and poor quality pickings. While they are capable of surviving under these conditions, they will do best on a good quality pasture.

Alpacas like to both graze and browse which means they will eat grass like a sheep but you will also find them munching on taller plants and trees. They are particularly fond of berry plants (blackberry, raspberry) and the leaves of fruit trees, so young trees will need to be fenced off if you don't want them gobbled up.

An alpaca will eat roughly the same amount as a sheep, however they do like to move (and often run) around so are not suited to being confined in small yards for extended periods.

Like any animal, alpacas will become more friendly and easier to handle if you hand feed them. With the abundance of lush pasture in many parts of Tasmania, they will have a tendency to become overweight so care should be taken to ensure you are not overfeeding your alpacas.

Our alpacas love nice green lucerne hay, carrots, sliced apples, horse muesli (a commercial mix of chaff, oats, maize, sunflower seeds, molasses etc), plain grass hay and the leaves from our fruit trees. We just wander out with a handful of these goodies and the alpacas come running.

Extreme care should be taken not to feed your alpacas garden plants as many of these are toxic to both alpacas and other livestock. If in any doubt, DON'T give it to your alpacas.

Some areas are deficient in various minerals and trace elements so a soil test and consultation with your veterinarian would be beneficial to find out if any additional supplements will be required for your alpacas. We occasionally give a selenium drench, ADE (Vitamins A, D & E) and "Nutrimol" (a trace element supplement) to our alpacas.

If you are introducing any new food to your alpacas, introduce it to them gradually over 2-3 weeks. This will ensure the animal's digestive system will adapt to the new feed more easily.

Always ensure that your alpacas have ready access to clean fresh drinking water. They will be happy to drink from a stream or creek, alternatively you can put water buckets or troughs around your paddocks (just ensure these are cleaned and refilled regularly).

We have a dam on our property but it is very deep and we keep it fenced off from the alpacas. In hot weather alpacas will like to cool down in water and may be unable to get out again if your dam is deep or has steep sides. We have seen an alpaca swim across the dam. The dam was covered in algae at the time and the poor alpaca thought he could walk on it and stepped in.

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