A Guide to Feeding Your Llama from the Experts at GWF Nutrition
Llamas are delightful animals and surprisingly easy to care for. However, the right diet is essential. The basic rule of thumb when it comes to feeding your llama or alpaca is that the majority of their diet should come from grazing, with additional forage where needed and a small amount of concentrated feeds or minerals. And, of course, access to clean, fresh drinking water.
Llamas are grazing animals by nature and this should make up the majority, if not almost entirely, their daily intake of food. Unlike some other livestock, they do not eat docks, nettles or thistles so these need to be controlled. The British Llama Society recommends a stocking rate of 4 animals per acre, assuming your pasture provides adequate grazing. Also look out for plants that are poisonous and make sure they are removed from paddocks.
Aim to provide around 1.5% of the animal’s body weight daily in hay or fresh pasture (based on the Dry Matter intake, the weight after all water has been removed.)
Hay or haylage – this is essential during the winter months or where there is not enough access to pasture.
Additional fibre – a slow release, high energy source of soluble fibre will not only support the digestive health of the llama, but will also support the body conditioning.
These help to ensure your animals are getting the nutrients they need, particularly during the winter months and for pregnant and lactating hembra. However, these should be specially formulated feeds as many of the general livestock feeds are not appropriate for camelids.
Camelibra NG-2 from GWF Nutrition has been formulated from the ground up to provide a very concentrated feed to ensure the nutritional requirements of the camelid are met, without impacting on their forage intake.
Based on an average live weight of 150kg, a 20kg bag of Camelibra equates to 133 feeds per bag and costs less than 22p a day at RRP.
Concentrates like Camelibra NG-2 can also be used at a slightly higher feeding rate to provide additional vitamin D requirements during the winter months.
Because llamas can be prone to choke, feed that is 3mm or less is recommended as it greatly reduces the risk. Using a chaff base such as alfalfa to increase the chewing time, or adding some water to the feed can also help. Camelibra NG-2 and Hembra & Cria have both been formulated as 2mm micropellets to make swallowing and digestion easy and worry free.
Cria will instinctively copy the mother and can start on feed from as young as 2 weeks old. Hembra & Cria from GWF Nutrition has been formulated specifically for lactating mothers and newborn llamas and this specialist formulation supports milk quality and yield, prenatal growth, live birth weight, increased levels of essential vitamins and minerals and quality of the fleece.
For more information or nutritional advice call GWF Nutrition on 01225 708482 or visit www.gwfnutrition.com
GWF Nutrition is a Wiltshire-based manufacturer producing one of the few specialist camelid feeds in the UK.