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Of course alpacas must have freedom to graze, if possible on grass of varied species: natural meadows or sown meadows consisting of the largest number of plant species adapted to the nature of your soil.

alpagaA technical adviser from the “Chambre d’Agriculture” in your area can give you information on plant species adapted to your pasture. One can also consider additives to rebalance any possible deficiencies in the soil.
These improvements do not come from fertilizers, but are generally crushed natural rocks, for example limestone, used to rebalance acid soils.

The alpacas must also have hay, water and minerals.
The latter can be provided by salt blocks or powders and there are also supplementary feeds available which are rich in minerals specifically adapted to camelid.
Most breeders recommend free access to hay throughout the year.

The ration can be supplemented by pellets or crushed cereals, where necessary, for thin animals or those that lack condition. This should be considered carefully as concentrated feeds can cause acidosis in the three stomachs, leading to ulcers.
Opinions on what to feed are divided, some vet-breeders give significant amounts of concentrate, whereas others, also vets and breeders, systematically abstain.

We therefore questioned owners on their choices as regards feed. It appears that the method most frequently used consists of giving concentrates (cereals or pellets) only to out of condition animals or those with a tendency to lose weight, such as late gestation and nursing females. 
To complement this ration, they also generally give a mineral supplement adapted to camelid at the rate of one gram per kilo per day.

Feeding alpacas is not complicated; it is nevertheless quite difficult to obtain a specially formulated ration for them though studies and research on this subject are ongoing.

It is interesting to study the relationship between the food given and possible health problems encountered. Our research and studies centre are considering this question. Correct feeding is an essential factor in breeding and growth and the good health of animals is directly associated with it. We can supply our members with further information on this subject.

The alpacas’ digestive system is adapted for a simple diet found in an extensive grazing environment, that is very different to the one we are able to offer. It is an extremely rustic and sober animal, and it appears important for us to preserve these qualities, which were generally lost in other domestic breeds when the profit of improved performance was exploited commercially. A clean drinking water supply completes the picture. When sitting water troughs it is advisable to have them raised as it is possible that young cria could accidentally fall into them and drown.

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