Nutrition, nutrition, nutrition! We can't seem to say it enough. We take great pride in the care of all of our animals. This includes proper nutrition at the top of the list. We feed a small amount of pellets in the morning which are comprised of a slight mixture of alfalfa and nutrients. We add a small spoonful of minerals on top, and then we provide flakes of hay. We test all of our hay for things like protein levels (we like to stay around 13-14%) also for levels of nitrates. We do not feed straight alfalfa since it is high in protein at approximately 18% and is too fatty for the animals. We will, however, feather some in for nursing moms to make sure that they don't get to lean during the nursing process as to keep their weight on. We buy only the finest quality hay. We elect not to buy the cheap hay on the truck that's parked down the road that has an $8 a bale sign on it. It can have bugs, be high in fertilizer and present a number of other uninvited downsides. It's not worth damaging the animal, and it certainly will negatively affect the fleece output, and the quality of the fiber in terms of micron count and breakage.
The alpacas are the backbone of our industry and every care should be taken to treat them right, while avoiding any shortcuts.