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Folkesson, Pernilla (2007) A field study on feeding of Alpacas in Sweden. Other thesis, SLU.

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Alpacas are held in South America mainly for wool production, but also for meat and leather production. South American Camelids, including alpacas, vicuñas, llamas and guanacos, are well adapted to the harsh environment during the dry season in South America. The efficiency of their digestive system is particularly noticeable on high in fibre/low in protein diets. The anatomy of the alpaca stomach is different from that of true ruminants as alpacas have three compartments instead of four. Alpacas also have unique mucosa producing epithelium of saccules in parts if their stomach. These saccules produces bicarbonate, which buffers pH to near neutral. The last compartment has the same function as both the omasum and the abomasum of true ruminants. The forestomach of alpacas have a higher concentration of volatile fatty acids than the forestomach of true ruminants. Contractions of the alpaca stomach are more continious than in true ruminants. This contributes to a thoroghly mixed and homogenous content. Alpacas have a lower dry matter intake per kg body weight, and a slower passage rate of digesta, compared to true ruminants. The digestibility of high fibre forage is higher for alpacas than for true ruminants. Few studies have been published on alpaca energy and nutrient requirements. Energy requirements have not been established for alpacas and recommendations for daily energy intake are based on studies on llamas. Recommended protein intake in alpacas is based on one nitrogen balance study performed on alpacas, while mineral and vitamin requirements are extrapolated from data on beef cattle, sheep and goats. Alpacas has been exported from South America to other countries of the world since the beginning of the 1980's. The number of alpaca owners and breeders in Sweden has increased over the last twelve years, and today the alpaca population in Sweden is around 230-350 animals. A common opinion among alpaca owners is that forage with high energy and protein content and commercial concentrates and grain should be avoided. Because of the increasing alpaca popuation in Sweden, and other countries outside South America, it is important to increase the knowledge about alpaca nutrition. A 55 day feeding trial was performed at an alpaca farm in the south of Sweden. Twenty-five females were included in the study, twelve of these had offspring and were lactating during the study. Daily feed intake, digestibility and body weight was recorded . The average dry matter intake was 1.4 % of body weight for non-lactating females, and 1.8 % of body weight for lactating females. Energy intake was 0.14 and 0.18 MJ/kg body weight respectively. All the animals except the crias gained weight during the study. Only the lactating females showed a slight gain in body condition score. Lactating females had generally higher digestibility of dry matter, neutral detergent fibre, crude protein, organic matter and minerals than non-lactating females. There was no difference in wool micron numbers before and after the feeding trial for the females, but the crias had slightly higher values after the study.

Item Type: Thesis (Other)
Keywords: alpaca, feeding, nutrition, lactating females, alpaca females, crias
Subject (faculty): Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science > Centre for Sustainable Agriculture
Divisions: SLU > Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science
Depositing User: Pernilla Folkesson
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2007
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2015 09:56
URI: http://ex-epsilon.slu.se/id/eprint/2029

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