• Undegradable Dietary Protein in Alpaca Diets Affects Fibre Diameter and Time Spent Urinating

    There is evidence that alpacas derive most of their glucose for energy from the deamination of amino acids. Consequently, they may have an insufficient supply of amino acids to meet their requirements for fibre growth. To optimise fibre production, it may be necessary to supply alpacas with supplemental protein to meet their requirement for extra amino acids. In this study, we examined if the proportion of rumen-degradable dietary protein (RDP) to undegradable dietary protein (UDP) from canola meal influenced the fibre growth of alpacas. We hypothesised that alpacas fed at maintenance a diet containing canola meal protein high in UDP would produce more fibre and spend less time urinating than peers fed a similar amount of canola meal protein with a low proportion of UDP. Four groups of eight alpacas were fed diets with the following ratios of UDP : RDP: 0 : 100, 30 : 70, 60 : 40 or 100 : 0 from canola meal protein. The fibre growth of the animals was measured over 2 months and the behaviour of the animals in the two extreme groups (0 and 100% UDP) was measured over 5 days. The alpacas fed the 0% UDP diet produced fibre of finer diameter than the alpacas fed diets containing higher levels of UDP (P = 0.039) and the 0% UDP group also spent more time urinating (P = 0.027). This result suggests that alpacas may have a limited ability to recycle nitrogen to the fermentative chambers of their stomach when fed a diet low in UDP. Consequently, microbial protein synthesis in the fermentative chambers may have limited the supply of amino acids available to the alpacas. more »
  • Nitrogen Balance and Blood Metabolites of Alpaca (Lama pacos) Fed Three Forages of Different Protein Content

    Sixteen intact male alpaca consisting of four age groups (AG1, 16 ± 4.4 months, 44.3 ± 9.2 kg; AG2, 25 ± 1.8 months, 51.7 ± 2.3 kg; AG3, 35 ± 1.1 months, 64.7 ± 15.6 kg; and AG4, 60 ± 12.0 months, 67.0 ± 8.2 kg) were housed in metabolism crates (20 °C with 12:12 h on:off light cycle). Three forages, straw (ST), grass hay (GH) and alfalfa (ALF) were fed to each alpaca in random order. The forages were fed at 12 h intervals with water provided ad libitum. Treatment periods were 14 days, with blood samples collected over a 24 h period on day 14 to determine temporal patterns of plasma metabolite and electrolytes. Dry matter intake was lower (P more »
  • What’s in Alpaca Milk?

    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. more »
  • Bermudagrass – History, Management, Forage, and Hay

    Bermudagrass is an excellent perennial hot season (southern) grass for grazing alpacas. It produces moderate protein levels, is tremendously productive, lives in marginal soils, and responds well to water and fertilizer. It is superb winter hay quite resistant to rot and mold. Here is some information on its history, cultivation and regional applications. more »
  • All About Alfalfa Forage, Hay, and Nutrition and Storage

    Alfalfa (“lucerne” for those “down under”) is leafy forage that is a rich, highly palatable, perennial legume. This type of plant “fixes”atmospheric nitrogen in the root system, converting gaseous nitrogen into plant nitrogen (protein). Like bermuda grass, it is not native to the USA, but likely came in from central Asia and has been known for thousands of years as a superb animal and horse forage. Alfalfa grows almost everywhere in the USA, perhaps best in the mid-south and less so in the upper north. more »