Last week, a recipe for ancient grain salad was given out to listeners to a local radio station. There was lots of discussion about soaking barley to enhance digestion. Of course, my mind wandered to feeding alpacas …
1. When feeding alpacas cereal grain (source of energy), feed whole oats in preference to whole or processed barley, wheat or triticale. Whole oats contain approximately 10% crude fibre, to assist keeping stomach microbes in a healthier state (barley/wheat/triticale only contain 2-3% crude fibre).
2. Do not soak grain prior to feeding alpacas to prevent it from going mouldy (and to save you time). The first compartment of the alpaca stomach contains approximately 7-10 litres of ingesta, which remains there for about 48 hours. During that time, the consumed grain is mixed by stomach contractions, soaked and softened, regurgitated and ground into small pieces during cud chewing (rumination).
Alpacas soak and process grain themselves.