The FeedSafe Guide to Feeding Alpacas

February 28, 2024

Alpacas are increasingly popular farm animals. While native to the Andes mountains region in South America, alpacas are also present on many farms worldwide. Known for their gentle nature and unique personalities, alpacas are popular for a reason.

They are also a versatile addition to any farm operation – producing fibre, protecting other stock and keeping the lawns in check amongst other things. Alpacas are known for their calm temperaments, making them great companion animals. In fact, beyond the farm, alpacas have been used as therapy animals in schools, hospitals, retirement homes and libraries. They are easy to housetrain and clean up after (they poo in communal piles – which makes clean up a lot easier!).

With an animal that gives so much to us, it’s important that we keep them healthy and happy by feeding them the right stuff.

The nutritious needs of alpacas

Alpacas are ruminants, meaning they have a multi-chambered stomach that allows for efficient digestion of fibrous plant material. Proper nutrition is vital for maintaining their overall health. Adequate protein, vitamins, and minerals are especially important for alpaca reproduction, supporting the well-being of pregnant and nursing alpacas during gestation and lactation.  

Alpacas require a balanced diet to maintain their health and well-being. Key nutrients essential for alpacas include high-quality forage, such as grass and hay, providing necessary fiber for their digestive system. Protein sources support muscle development and fiber production for their luscious fleeces. Essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D, calcium, and phosphorus, contribute to bone health and overall vitality. A balanced nutritional profile is crucial for sustaining alpacas ensuring optimal growth, reproductive success, and the production of their prized fiber.

Girl feeding food from hand to an Alpaca in a farm during a cloudy day.

What do alpacas feed on?

The primary component of an alpaca’s diet is good-quality grass or hay. Alpacas graze on pasture, which makes them great lawnkeepers! However, in addition to pasture, farmers must make sure to supplement their diet with fresh water, mineral supplements, and specially formulated alpaca pellets or grain mixes to meet their nutritional needs.

Some New Zealand manufacturers who specialise in producing alpaca feed, and have the FeedSafeNZ tick include:

FeedSafe NZ tests all the ingredients and processes used by local feed manufacturers, so you can be sure the alpaca feed you get from these manufacturers is made to meet the highest possible standards.

Want to know more about the FeedSafeNZ accreditation programme? Read more at our About Us page here.

You may also like…