- Conventional wisdom says cow or goat milk is a good substitute for alpaca milk. My research indicates neither of those are the most optimum milk substitute. Recently, we bottle fed a cria for two months with a unique formula that produced good results. I pursued further research to see if my choice of formula had real validity. What I learned may help others with bottle-fed crias.
- Following a small survey of milk constituents in 5 lactating alpacas in south-eastern Australia, it was revealed that the average milk fat content was 4.4%, the average milk protein content was 4.2% and the average milk sugar (lactose) content was 5.8%. Constituents in alpaca milk can vary depending on age of dam, number of days post-partum, nutrition and genetics. Accordingly, alpacas and llamas exhibit small ranges for milk fat (2.7-4.9%), milk protein (3.4-4.5%) and milk sugar (lactose; 5.6-7.4%) in the scientific literature.
- If the dam has no milk/has died or the cria is too weak to nurse, feed warm colostrum (frozen and stored from another disease-free alpaca/cow/goat) via teat (preferred method, to optimise digestion) or stomach tube (last resort) for the first 3 days of life to maximise antibody uptake into blood (first 12 hours of life) and to provide local gut protection from microbes for the duration of use.