Alpacas and llamas may be run on small or large acreages. The key to camelid nutrition is to match stocking rates with pasture production to avoid over-grazing, weed proliferation and soil erosion.
Different classes of livestock have different physiological needs and it is useful to have some rules-of-thumb to assist supplementary feeding your herd. You must first satisfy the water, energy, protein and fibre needs or your herd, before worrying about vitamin and mineral supplementation. Nevertheless, alpacas and llamas are susceptible to vitamin D deficiency. Growing animals (< 3 years old) and females due to give birth in winter require supplementation with vitamin D in autumn, winter and spring. Alpacas are typically farmed in Australia on selenium-deficient soils, but not all selenium supplements are suitable for use in camelids.
Occasionally, you may need to supplement a cria with milk for a few days, weeks or months. It is easy to minimise time and expense by feeding a suitable milk replacer in the correct manner, to rear healthy, productive crias.
Cria Genesis PDF notes
Top ten tips of alpaca nutrition
Rules of thumb to feed your alpacas and llamas.
Body condition scoring of llamas and alpacas
A guide from Penn State University to assist with monitoring nutrition.
Sick of your animals over-grazing your pastures? Learn how to calculate stocking rates on your farm.