What do alpacas eat?
They are ruminants, which means they chew cud like a cow or deer. They survive well on different kinds of low protein hay or pasture grass, providing it has a balanced mineral content. Because alpacas evolved in harsh conditions, they utilize their food more efficiently than other ruminants. They cost about as much per month to feed as a dog.
Although they can survive very harsh conditions, alpacas do best on good quality pasture and benefit from having access to plant material with long fibres such as hay.
There are a number of commercial alpaca mixes available, and these are best thought of as supplying vitamins and minerals rather than the bulk feed which is obtained through grazing. Here at Mourne Alpacas we feed and are the all-Ireland distributor for the leading alpaca feeds range from GWF Nutrition. We feed Camelibra from September through to May, and feed Fibregest every day of the year – our pedigree herd thrive on this well balanced and researched feed.
One important rule to remember is to introduce any changes to the diet gradually over a period of a couple of weeks. This way the microbes in the gut have time to adjust to any feed changes.