Alpaca Nutrition News
Winter and alpacas
Alpacas evolved in a rather hostile
environment. Adult alpacas, unless recently shorn, sport a think, warm coat that
insulates them from the cold and locks in warmth generated by rumen
fermentation. Microbial fermentation is considered inefficient because so much
energy is lost as heat. This heat is a real life-saver in the winter, but a big
disadvantage in the summer.
Diet can be manipulated to provide either a
sudden burst of heat or lower sustained warmth. Soluble carbohydrates such as
grain generate high heat of short duration, most of the sugars are fermented in
about five hours.
Roughage, on the other hand, provides a slow,
steady release of energy. Make sure hay is available free-choice during the
coldest months to keep those internal furnaces blazing. Intense cold for long
periods requires supplementation with high energy grain sources to prevent major
Crias which are still nursing lack this
internal furnace as well as an insulating coat. They should be protected from
the cold with the use of cria coats and wind-tight shelters.
One of the dangers of fall and spring is
temperature variation. See-sawing temperatures are hard on all animals,
including humans. This fall has already seen several of these cycles in Kansas.
Unseasonably mild weather in December may feel great to us, but we can take off
our heavy winter coats. Extreme temperature variation is very stressful for
alpacas. Stress opens the door to disease.
To insure both steady heat production and
more efficient use of roughage, as well as prevent stress-related disease, feed
MSE Probiotics come in two different
concentrations for different purposes. MSE granulated is a feed-additive
intended to be top-dressed or mixed with supplement. It comes in 5- an 33-lb.
containers ($30.00 and 156.75, respectively).
For prevention of disease during stressful
activities, use a more concentrated form. MSE Paste and MSE Drench are highly
concentrated probiotics that should be given before birth, weaning, shearing,
transportation and showing. Keep in mind that stress from these activities can
be exacerbated by weather. MSE Paste comes in three sizes: 30, 80, and 300 cc
tubes ($5.99, 9.50, and 24.50, respectively) . The 300 cc tube requires the use
of a gun for application.
MSE Drench is available in either half or
full gallons ($85.00 and 136.00 respectively) and can be given with a special
gun or by syringe
MSE products are available at
www.naturs-way.com or by calling (800)615-0299, 8:30 am to 6:00 pm, M - F.
For more information, please contact nutritionist Lark Burnham, Ph.D. at: firstname.lastname@example.org.