Alpaca Nutrition- 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.

Treats

Pumpkin

Iceberg and Romaine Lettuces

Raisins

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

Apples- cut up

Bananas

Watermelons

Radish Greens

Fresh Green Beans

Strawberries

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.

 

THINGS TO AVOID!

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

 

 

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