Alpaca Health

Alpaca Search

Fields in bold are required.

Popular Breeds

Alpaca Health

Just as in the human Alpacas require a well-balanced diet. While grass and hay make up for 80% of the Alpacas diet, it is important that the owner be aware of vital necessities that must be included in the animal's diet such as water, forage and vitamin mineral or alpaca feed supplements. It is also important that the owner realize that too high of a nutritional content diet- not well balanced in the other areas, will keep the Alpacas from gaining fat which in turn lowers the quality of the Alpacas fiber.

It is important for Alpacas owners to test the food and water to ensure its safety. If the water is safe for the human to consume, it should be safe for the consumption of the Alpacas. However, there can be traces of iron and sulfur in water due to rusty pipes, etc. which will not only affect the taste of the water the water then could cause mineral tie-ups that affect the skin and the animal's health. Therefore, testing is necessary. Because grass and hay are such a large part of the Alpacas diet, it is important to have it tested as well. This can be done through agricultural agents or state universities. A good balanced forage is typically one that is 11-13% protein, 58-60% TDN, has calcium to phosphorus ratio of one or less, has no more then 2.5% potassium and no more then 600ppm of iron. The relative food value should be between 95 to 105.

Alpacas requirements will vary depending on the animal. Males will require 25% less total intake then females, while females that are late in gestating will require 25% above maintenance and those in lactation will require 50% above maintenance.

For the health of the Alpacas it is important to have a veterinarian that is aware of parasites and familiar with disease in other species within a 10 to 15 miles radius of your farm or ranch. This will ensure that your veterinarian will be certain that the Alpacas has not been affected by any of such conditions.

Heat is another consideration in the Alpacas health. Heat and humidity can have a dramatic affect on the Alpaca- in fact, it can have a deadly effect. It is important for owners to be aware of a formula called the heat stress indicator or index which measures the risk of the weather to the Alpaca. To measure the sum of the temperature, the owner must measure the degrees and the humidity of the day. If the measurement is greater than 150 then the owner must take precaution and necessary steps to ensure the risk is minimized to the animal. For example if the temperature is 95 degrees and the humidity of the day is expected to be around 83% the total heat stress indicator level is 178 (93 + 84=178).

During the summer heat it is important to shear the animals. It is also important to have ample shade for the animals. The barn that houses the Alpacas should be checked for adequate air supply and fans added. Breezes should flow through the barn at all levels of the Alpaca, especially that of the belly where the animal has a thermal window. Fresh drinking water should also be available at all times and kept in the shade. Electrolytes can be added to the drinking water to replace what is lost through the animal's perspiration.

It is also important to have water where the Alpacas can cool- such as shallow pools or streams. Cooler alternatives over straw should be considered during the summer- definitely reduce the amount straw as it does trap heat.

Animaroo Alpaca