The main thing alpacas eat is grass or hay. Of course fresh green pasture grasses are best. Many grasses are good for them including Bermuda, Coastal, Timothy and Orchard. Fescue is OK with some limitations. Depending on your pasture maintenance, fescue can be fed as long as you keep the grasses short in the pastures where you have your pregnant females. Taller fescue is high in endophytes which has been known to cause late term females to abort the cria. There is an endophyte free fescue as well. Alpacas eat approximately two pounds per 125 pounds of body weight per day. So a single 60-pound bale of hay can generally feed a group of about 20 alpacas for one day. You should give alpacas access to free-choice mineral supplements and plenty of fresh water to drink. We use automatic waterers in our pastures and have buckets available in the barns with water that has had electrolytes added to it. This helps during times of high heat and cold. We put our minerals out near the hay on a flat little table we attached to a post in the barn. The girls just lick them off the table. We use Stillwater 104 brand.
During the first few months of gestation the tiny cria fetus is forming it’s neurological structure. Care should be taken during this time to avoid stress and certain medications for the gestating female.
Female alpacas should also get a grain supplement year round and the males get it in the winter. The grain you choose should be high in any nutrients that may be lacking in your soil or hay. So it’s important to get your soil and hay tested so that you can adjust the feeds if needed. Lactating females and those in the final 6 weeks of pregnancy usually need more nutrition and should get extra grain. For females that have trouble making enough milk for the cria, there are lactation herbs that also can be added to the feed during the last months of gestation and during the first month of nursing it’s cria.