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How much grain do you give per day?

Discussion in 'Feeding Time - Llamas and Alpacas' started by schmije, Jun 29, 2013.

  1. Jun 29, 2013
    schmije

    schmije Chillin' with the herd

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    I have a llama and two alpacas. We mix sweet feed (2 parts) with cleaned oats (1 part) as a treat for them. They also have free access to hay and pasture. I'm new to camelids, and I don't want to give them too much 'treat' feed. How much, and how often do you feed sweet feed/grain?
     
  2. Jun 29, 2013
    ksalvagno

    ksalvagno Alpaca Master

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    What are they used for? Are they breeders?

    If they are not going to be used for breeding, then I would just give them like a cup a day of it. As long as they are in good condition, they don't need much grain. You could even not feed them grain if they are non-breeders.
     
  3. Mar 20, 2014
    goatboy1973

    goatboy1973 True BYH Addict Golden Herd Member

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    My llamas are so particular about what they eat as a treat. I have tried most all of the Purina horse treats, cantaloupe, watermelon, pumpkin, apple slices, tomato, cucumber...and other treats to try to tame them a bit. They won't touch anything but a coffee can full of sweet feed. Any suggestions???
     
  4. Mar 21, 2014
    purplequeenvt

    purplequeenvt True BYH Addict

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    Mine like carrots and apples mainly, but llamas can be really picky. How old are yours? I've found that younger animals often won't eat the treats. I think my youngest was around 5 before she was interested in them.

    I had one llama who LOVED corn chips and that nasty fake yellow cheese.
     
  5. May 15, 2014
    trampledbygeese

    trampledbygeese Loving the herd life

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    I'm not a llama or alpaca expert, but I do have a few old rescues that live on our farm. Basically what I do is consult the Llama Lady or the Alpaca Guru and do exactly what they tell me. They come around two to four times a year to check up on the condition and trim the toes, and every time they come they say the animals are looking better, how on earth did I manage to make these previously sickly creature so healthy and lively and live so long? I just say I did what they told me... long story short, I'm just parroting back what my local experts say about feeding. Things may vary depending on your animal(s), location, and what you plan to do with them.

    My fellows are on a low grade hay with intermittent access to pasture. They get one scoop (roughly 3/4 cup) of a grain and vitamin mix called Llama Tex every morning. This is specially designed for camelids. I up the grain to 1 cup in the late fall, early winter. This is probably a high amount of grain for an animal in good condition.

    As spring comes and the weather gets warmer we mix the Llama Tex with Flatted Barley. At first 25/75 grain to text, then 50/50 as things start to heat up, then 75/25 grain to tex for the two hottest months... reverse as it cools so that they are on just Tex about for the 2 coldest months and the 2 months leading up to that.

    According to my llama lady Barley is a cooling food (unlike corn and oats which are a warming food). Not certain what cooling foods and warming foods are or why they are, but adding the barley in the hot months has helped them weather the summer heat.

    Horse feed, treats, hay, &c, anything horses has caused major problems with my animals. Keep in mind, they were abused before coming to us, so they do have weakened systems compared to animals that have been loved and cared for since day one. One fellow, a beautiful black alpaca, can't chew hay, or grass or anything, it just wads in his mouth and he spits it out. Can only eat very small mouthfuls at a time. He had a steady diet of horse feed, minerals, and large amounts of Horse grain mix for many years before the SPCA got involved and eventually he found a forever home with us.

    Another one of our animals spent the summer in our back pasture (out of view from our house) and promptly lost all his teeth - in about 3 months. It turns out that our neighbour had been putting out buckets of horse grain because he thought our animals were starving - they were in fact overweight that's why we put them in that pasture which has less rich growth. So, Max, our oldest llama, being the greedy one was getting all this horse grain and ... well lost his teeth. The llama lady says that the horse grain is too sweet and rich, as well as warming, and it's amazing Max didn't die.

    So now Max and lovely alpaca Tyrone have all their hay chopped by us every morning. Just before the weather starts to cool, mid Sep, we start feeding those two beet pulp pellets that have been soaked in water till soft. It really helps them put on weight for winter. (edit: they are skinny now because of what the horse treats did to them)

    Also all camelids have access to a salt block and llama/alpaca specific powdered minerals, especially the ones with no teeth who can't get enough minerals from the block. Thinking about putting out powdered salt this summer but need to consult our local llama lady about that first.

    In summary
    • Find someone near you who raises healthy llamas and alpacas, and pester them with questions, then actually follow their advice. If they've been doing this for years, have a healthy heard, live in your climate, then chances are, they know a darn sight more than the interweb on how to keep animals healthy in your area. Location changes everything! What works wonders for my animals here, might kill animals in another part of the world. First step is to find local help, second, make certain their animals actually are thriving, third, follow their advice - if you do this and they see it, they will be more likely to give more help.
    • Try to get llama or alpaca specific grain - your local feed store should be able to order it in.
    • Please don't give horse treats of any kind unless you consult a local alpaca or llama breeder first. MAKE CERTAIN THEY HAVE HEALTHY ANIMALS BEFORE YOU FOLLOW THEIR ADVICE! (please).
    • how much to gives depends on their condition, time of year, weather, what the animal is for.
    • If you can't give llama or alpaca grain, then about half a cup of flatted (not ground or crushed) barley a day should (in my limited experience and according to my local gurus) be fine (when the animals also have the proper minerals available). Monitor their condition (how fat they are by feeling their back and hip bone bumps... someone else can explain better) and adjust grain ration accordingly.
    oh, and the llama lady also says, generally to to get the llama/alpaca grain with as little corn in it as possible as they have trouble with this.