What Does an Alpaca Eat?

Knowing an alpaca’s diet is important if you plan to raise them. Luckily, the alpaca is not that demanding of an animal when it comes to diet. As a matter of fact, they eat considerably less than most animals their size; which is one of many reasons why they are a popular choice for so many farmers.

Alpacas eat only plant matter and cannot digest meat; making them herbivores. An alpaca’s diet consists primarily of grass, but there are a few other things they can also eat. Some farmers feed their alpacas hay in addition to grass, as well as some grain as a dietary supplement to make sure they are getting everything they need.

wild alpacaTo make sure that the alpacas do not run out of grass, some farms will have multiple fenced off areas for their alpacas to graze and will rotate them periodically; giving the grass a chance to regrow.

A small group of alpacas can be a very good solution if you have a large lawn (think park) that you need to keep mowed. The alpaca works in all weathers and is a lot more reliable than robotic lawn mowers such as WORX, Huqvarna, Robotklippare, ROBOmow and stiga.

An alpaca can act similar to a goat in that it will try to eat almost anything put in front of it. It will try to chew on plastic and similar trash if it is given access to such things. Just because it TRIES to eat things like this, doesn’t mean it should. If you own an alpaca, make sure they cannot get into any trash as they will undoubtedly riffle through it.

Digestive System

An alpaca has a stomach which contains three chambers. They break down food at a slower pace using these three chambers but this is what makes it possible for them to get enough nutrients from simple foods like grass and hay.

Some alpacas will get a portion of their diet from certain leaves, tree bark and similar rough foliage. Their three chambered stomach is what makes it possible for them to digest such rough food.

Beware of Poisonous Plants

As you can probably tell by now, caring for an alpaca’s diet is not too demanding. As long as they have plenty of fresh grass and maybe some extra supplements from grain and hay; they should be fine.

The one thing you must be careful of is that your livestock area has no poisonous plants nearby. As mentioned earlier, alpacas can be curious animals when it comes to food and will give nearly anything they find a little test chew to see if it can be eaten.

Be wary of plants like acorns, bear-grass, buttercups, buckwheat; and similar plants which are hazardous to livestock.