• The Effect of Nutrition on Fibre Growth in the Alpaca

    Twelve adult male alpacas were given either 0·67 (low) or 2·0 (high) × assumed maintenance requirements for a period of 6 weeks after which time each was transferred to the alternative level of nutrition for a further 6 weeks. Fibre samples were taken from two 10-cm2 areas on the mid-side position of each animal at 2, 6, 8 and 12 weeks, and measurements of fibre weight, yield (clean fibre weight/raw fibre weight), fibre diameter and fibre length made on the samples collected at weeks 6 and 12. The higher level of feeding resulted in higher clean fibre weight (low = 0·42 (s.e. 0·03); high = 0·53 (s.e. 0·04)mg/cm2 per day, P < 0·001) and fibre growth rate (low = 186 (s.e. 10); high = 223 (s.e. 14) yon/day, P < 0·05). Changes in yield (low = 0·917 (s.e. 0·006); high = 0·929 (s.e. 0·009)) and mean fibre diameter (low = 31·4 (s.e. 1·9); high = 32·1 (s.e. 1.6) \xm) were not statistically significant. Calculations showed that the increased weight of fibre attributed to the higher level of nutrition could be explained in terms of the observed increases in fibre-length and diameter but that, unlike the sheep in which the ratio fibre length: diameter remains relatively constant under varying nutritional regimes, the effect of nutrition in the alpaca has a proportionally larger effect on fibre length than on fibre diameter. more »