Feed Intake

Feed intake will vary with age, gender and production. There are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • You need to keep “as-fed” and “dry matter” intake straight. What I mean is, know what you are working with and make sure you are feeding the “as-fed” amount. We’ll show you this below.
  • Bunk management is a tell-tale of what is going on with your animal. Just because you have figured out what the pen should be fe, doesn’t mean they are going to eat it. Watch your feed funk…you’ll get a feel for what they are eating and it will change with environmental and other factors.

Comparing pasture dry matter and hay dry matter demonstrates the application of dry matter and how it is used to compare “apples to apples”.

  • Pasture grass is usually around 30 to 35% dry matter. Hay is ussually 88 to 93% dry matter.
  • The recommended daily dry matter intake (DMI) for an adult alpaca is between 1.5 and 2.0% of body weight.
  • So, for a 150 pound alpaca the DMI is 2.3 to 3.0 pounds per day.
  • Lets use the value 3.0 for DMI, 35% for DM pasture gras and 90% for hay. The as-fed required for pasture grass is 3.0/0.35= 8.6 pounds of pasture grass per day.
  • The required hay would be 3.0/0.90 = 3.3 pounds per day as-fed.

Now lets say we are looking at a group of 2 year old females that weigh 120 pounds…What would the DMI be for them at 2.0% BW? What would the “as-fed” amount be if the hay is 92.3% DM?

  • First we convert the BW to kilograms: 120/2.2 = 54.5 kg
  • Now we can take the 65.9 and determine the DMI by 54.5 X 0.02 = 1.09 kg DMI
  • We now convert the DMI to “as-fed” by taking 1.09/0.923 = 1.18 kg/d or 2.60 pounds/d.