Alpaca Nutrition- Approved Treats and Foods to Avoid

Really, the best diet for an alpaca consists of mostly hay, with some supplemental crushed grain/alpaca pellets, and a free choice bucket of Still Water Minerals, but who can resist giving treats… honestly?

So here is a list of approved foods for alpacas- they’ll love you for it. It is important to note that treats should be given UNDER SUPERVISION in SMALL QUANTITES only.



Iceberg and Romaine Lettuces


Carrots – I’ve been told shredded is easiest on them chewing wise.

Apples- cut up



Radish Greens

Fresh Green Beans


Tree leaves and needles including – weeping willow, spruce, pine, cottonwood, sweet gum, pecan, mulberry

Also – Shredded beet, alfalfa and calf manna is given to alpacas in need of some weight gain, so not really a treat per say, but a way to help an underweight animal.

Pasture Quality

If you are planning on reseeding pasture, here are some alpaca approved grasses: Brome, Orchard, Timothy, Endophyte Free Fescue, Winter Wheat, Blue Grass, Bermuda, Millet, Sudan and Bahia. As a note- make sure all grass seed in Edophyte free- Endophytes are used to combat bugs, but have consequences in grazing animals, especially that youngins.

Flowers and Herbs that can be planted in pasture are Dandelions, Yarrow, Clover (tho some people say not to give to show animals as it can give them the “slobbers”), Plantain, Thyme, Chicory and members of the mint family.



Rye Grasses have been known to cause tremors –  avoid any grasses treated with Endophytes which are known to release neurotoxins in grazing animals.

Corn- can spike sugar levels and cause diabetes and can also cause nitrate poisoning

Onions- can cause nitrate poisoning, if eaten in large amounts.

Members of the Nightshade Family- Tomatoes, Potatoes, Eggplants, Jimson Weed, Black and Red Nightshade, Horse Nettle. They contain Alkaloids which will poison almost all animals with symptoms that could include Lethargy, Vomiting, Difficulty breathing, Prostration (lying down on the ground), constipation OR diarrhea.

Peas, Lima Beans and the plants they grow on- contain Cyanide in small quantities

Broccoli, kale, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, turnips, rutabaga and other members of the mustard family- will cause respiratory and intestinal (aka gastric) distress.

Flowers including Daffodils, Jonquils, Larkspur, Daisies, Foxglove, Irises, Lilies and Poppies should all be avoided.

Trees including American Yew, Black Cherry, Black Locust, Boxwood, Rhododendron and Mountain Laurel are all harmful as well.


My search for alpaca safe foods vs dangerous foods has led me all over the internet- but I’d like to say a special thank you to the members of the Alpaca Everything Facebook Group- they were very helpful. Also The Alpaca Place,Walnut Creek Alpacas, & The Alpaca Hacienda




Published by gillisgardensllc

This is the official website for Gillis Gardens, LLC. Gillis Gardens is a farm, run by myself and my wonderful husband. We believe in biodiversity, organic growing methods and doing things ourselves. I knit, crochet, make jewelry and sew. MrGillis builds, doing everything from our plumbing to our mechanical to our renovations. We are both active members of our little community. We both take care of the plants and animals. He weeds, I harvest. He spreads manure, I plant. We raise multiple breeds of chickens for eggs and meat. We have a herd of Alpacas that we shear every year for their beautiful fiber, which we then have milled into ultra luxurious yarn. We make our own maple syrup, preserves and pickles. We raise bees for honey and herbs for medicine. We also raise pigs for meat and fun. We are the parents of two young children, and consider that our most important job. Follow our adventures here and also on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

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