- Peruvian studies have shown that alpacas consume tall grasses in the wet season and short grasses in the dry season. Alpacas are highly adaptable grazers that will eat grass when it is available but they will adapt to sedges during dry periods of low grass availability.
- The main vitamin to consider in alpaca supplementation is vitamin D and the main mineral is selenium. Both are responsible for significant pathology when deficient and both are able to induce severe toxic signs if given at too high dosage.
- Copper (Cu) nutrition is a double-edged sword being associated with both deficiency and toxicity disease concerns. Although all microminerals are of importance, Cu is receiving more attention as a result of the potential toxicity concerns with llamas and alpacas. There is evidence of increasing Cu content in forages and feeding with other copper-containing supplements (pellets and mineral) may predispose animals to a greater risk for toxicity problems.
- A discussion of forage type, quality and amounts needed for feeding llamas and alpacas.
- The first inquiry is a very common one for many llama and alpaca owners, skin lesions and what to do with them. First a disclaimer, I am not a board-certified dermatologist, but the question was more about feeding zinc to address this issue. As many owners are aware, llamas and alpacas have a propensity for unusual crusts and thickened skin that seems to be responsive to zinc supplementation. However, it must be emphasized that there are many other causes of skin disease in llamas and alpacas that are not responsive to zinc.
- Most people are familiar with vitamin D being known as the “sunshine” vitamin. This is a result of vitamin D being formed in the skin when exposed to certain wavelengths of ultraviolet (UV) light. Most people now also recognize the role that vitamin D plays in bone development.