The diet of an alpaca consists primarily of grass; the same plants
most of us have in our backyards. Low
protein, inexpensive hay (i.e. orchard grass) is used as a supplement and
as a primary feed when pastures are not available. The alpaca is a ruminant (three chambers to its stomach) and is
very efficient at obtaining its nourishment from native grasses and hay.
South American grasses contain a mineral called selenium which is
not present in appreciable quantities in our pastures, therefore, we
introduce selenium into their diets through specially prepared gains
and/or a mineral powder which alpacas consume as they find necessary.
A.L. Paca’s Farms uses
Country Mark Alpaca Supplement “E” and feeds about 1/2 pound per day
per adult animal. A 50 pound
bag costs about $12.00. There
are also feeds from other vendors which have been specially formulated for
the alpaca. Rations are increased for females in late stages of pregnancy
and for nursing moms.
as 5 to 8 alpacas may be kept comfortably in an area as small as an acre.
have a nice habit of only dropping their waste in certain areas.
They are clean animals and will not graze where they have located a waste
area. The waste has only a slight odor, which neighbors will not
usually notice or find objectionable. Wouldn’t it be nice if dogs
were this way?
A common waste pile makes gathering alpaca waste (dung)
an easy chore. Alpaca dung,
like its original owner, has great value, as it makes a terrific
fertilizer. You can always
spot the poop pile on an alpaca ranch - look for the spot of grass which almost grows as you watch!