The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Livestock => Camelids => Topic started by: Julia1521 on August 24, 2020, 08:37:28 pm

Title: Feeding Alpacas
Post by: Julia1521 on August 24, 2020, 08:37:28 pm
Hi everyone!

As we are approaching winter I wondered what everyone feeds their alpacas over these months.

At the moment my 4 girls have hay, Camelibra NG-2 and Fibregest. Last winter I also gave them a bit of 'badminton feeds alpaca mix'. However I'm not sure if they actually need this. They are only pets and I dont breed from them.

Also for vitamin D supplements do you use pastes or give injections? ????
Title: Re: Feeding Alpacas
Post by: Anvia on August 30, 2020, 07:35:45 am
Hi,
We feed each alpaca about 300g of alpaca coarse mix daily all year around, to that we add their camelibra & garlic granules. We use garlic in their feed most of the year as it repels flies, but we do use less in winter. In winter we also supplement some of our older ones with glucosamine especially if they seem a bit stiff.
Nursing mums have ad lib access to sugar beet and they all live outside 24/7 free to graze & browse but with access to field shelters. When the weather gets grim they have ad lib access to hay in the shelters. We use hay bags rather than nets to reduce the risk of entanglement.

We supplement a d & e over the winter months with Hipravit. We have to source this via our vet and it is injected. We have never attempted drenches or pastes with our alpacas so I cant comment there. They spit. Some more readily than others.... & I have visions of expensive necessary supplements decorating the landscape & us being left wondering how much, if any, a spitting alpaca might get! They do need a d & e supplementing - rickets is a genuine issue in alpacas kept in the uk. So, we choose / prefer to inject. That way we know each one definitely gets the correct dose.

When we do have to give medication orally we still donít drench them - instead we mix it into their feed - as ours are used to garlic we just add a touch more & it appears to disguise any unfamiliar taste / texture & that has worked so far.

Hope that helps!
Title: Re: Feeding Alpacas
Post by: Julia1521 on August 31, 2020, 10:11:48 pm
Thanks for your advice Anvia it's been really useful and I will look into the garlic granules that sounds like a good idea! And I agree giving medication orally can be a nightmare, I've opted to use an injectable wormer this year for that exact reason! I've never thought about putting it in their feed but I might try that when they need anything orally again.

About the vitamin supplement. My alpacas are all males, I'm not sure why I wrote 'girls' in the original post I must have been very tired!

I've read loads of advice saying it's really important to supplement growing crias and breeding females but it seems a little unclear about adult males, they don't seem to be mentioned. Any advice?

I plan to speak to the vet about this in the next week or so so I'm sure they will clarify but it would be good to have a rough idea what I'm talking about so I don't sound like a complete wally! And I don't want to ask for the stuff if they don't actually need it.

I also read an interesting post that seemed to suggest that increasing the amount of camelibra they have over the winter could be just as effective as pastes and injections...

https://www.gwfnutrition.com/pages/vitamin-d-and-alpacas-injections-paste-or-other (https://www.gwfnutrition.com/pages/vitamin-d-and-alpacas-injections-paste-or-other)

Any thoughts on this?



Title: Re: Feeding Alpacas
Post by: Anvia on September 15, 2020, 04:19:55 pm
I completely understand your question, there is conflicting advice as the climates we all keep alpacas in varies so much around the world and for us supplementing a,d &e was a learning experience.
We give a,d & e to them all irrespective of gender / age / colour, some years we find we inject more regularly than others - you do develop an eye for spotting when they need a boost. We have bought in alpacas with vitamin deficiencies / rickets from well intentioned caring owners who have believed feed supplements to be sufficient because thatís what they have been told. My feed merchant says it to me regularly too! But, in our experience they all need extra a,d,&e when the days are shorter. Rickets is a painful condition and in my opinion itís an unnecessary risk. Their bones do straighten out, weíve had to treat various poorly pacas over the years but itís not simply necessary to even go there. We have also tried increasing camelibra instead but ours eat such a small supplement daily personally I didnt feel it worked sufficiently well. Ours donít appear to like camelibra unless itís mixed with a coarse mix, if the ratio is too strong our alpacas wonít eat it. Camelibra is also relatively expensive, (& gwf do manufacture it.... so theyíve got a vested interest in us using more) - to dose at a,d,& e rates presumably they will excrete other excess nutrients that Iím also paying for? So Iím also Iím not convinced itís a cost effective solution to their winter nutritional needs. Please donít misunderstand me - we use it all year around and I think our alpacas do very well on it, but itís not the right product for us to use to solve their winter needs for additional a, d & e. So, we have found Hipravit works better for us , it isnít cheap but it targets precisely what they need, it also has a good shelf life, plus by injecting it you know everyone got the appropriate dose and when. Our vet also advises Hipravit to be injected subcutaneously as they advise thatís more effective than intramuscular injections. Likewise Iím also advised by the vet that injecting meds in general is more effective than oral meds in alpacas. The method of administration for us is usually dictated by the situation.

One year we also used camelid drench added to their feed as it was very difficult to obtain a, d & e. I do feel the drench worked fine, but...... the economics of choosing drench / camelibra / paca mix then changed. You donít need both drench & camelibra so we chose the drench and dosed according to their a d & e needs until the vet could get hold of Hipravit again. Weíve tried a few things over the years until we found what worked for us  & Iím sure you will work out what suits you too.

From our experience it is my opinion that all alpacas irrespective of age / colour / gender need a d & e supplementing during the shorter days in the UK, but yes the dosages differ by weight & the frequency differs by age. Iím sure your vet will happily advise on dosage for your alpacas whatever supplement & method you choose.

I hope all if that helps!
Title: Re: Feeding Alpacas
Post by: Orinlooper on January 01, 2021, 02:22:43 pm
Would alpacas survive in he uk in the wild?
Title: Re: Feeding Alpacas
Post by: Backinwellies on January 01, 2021, 04:37:32 pm
Would alpacas survive in he uk in the wild?

why do you ask?