Nutrition of alpacas grazing high altitude rangeland in southern Peru

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Title: Nutrition of alpacas grazing high altitude rangeland in southern Peru
Author: Reiner, Richard James
Abstract: Fiber and meat production from alpacas are important for the livelihood of both subsistance and market -oriented producers using high elevation Andean grasslands in Peru . The study objectives were : 1 ) to seasonally measure alpaca diet quality and botanical composition on two rangeland sites ; and 2 ) to estimate forage intake of alpacas grazing Andean rangeland . Diets were collected from free -ranging , esophageal fistulated alpacas during eight months between June 1983 and March 1984 . The "bofedal" site (4 ,500 m ) was a perennially green sedge community dominated by Eleocharis albracteata and Carex ecuadorica . Vegetation cover was 22 % grass , 42 % sedges and reeds , and 33 % forbs . The "Altiplano" site (3 ,190 m ) was predominately the grass species Festuca dolichophylla and Muhlenbergia fastigiata . Vegetation cover was 66 % grass , 13 % sedges and reeds , and 6 % forbs . Diets at both sites were highest in grass during the wet and early dry season . As the dry season progressed bofedal alpaca diets became largely sedges and reeds (81 % ) while Altiplano alpaca diets increased in grass (68 % ) . Forb consumption varied between 9 and 26 % of the diet year -round . Crude protein (CP ) in bofedal alpaca diets (12 .3 % ) averaged higher than on the Altiplano (10 .2 % ) . Values were lowest during June (7 .1 % ) on the Altiplano and July (8 .0 % ) on the bofedal . Dietary CP at the bofedal site was higher during the nutritional critical late dry season . Ln vitro organic matter digestibility of alpaca diets was lowest during August (49 % ) at the Altiplano site and in October (50 % ) on the bofedal . Alpacas grazing the Altiplano may be deficient in CP during the entire dry season (Jun . -Nov . ) and energy deficient during the late dry season (Aug . -Oct . ) . Dietary CP may be deficient on the bofedal site only during the early dry season and energy deficient during the late dry season . Supplementation of alpaca diets is recommended during periods of protein and energy deficiency . Alpacas freely grazing a Festuca dolichophylla / Muhlenbergia fastigiata range consumed daily 50 .5 and 44 .3 g organic matter per kg metabolic body weight during the dry and wet seasons . These values are lower than reported for sheep . Recommended stocking rates for alpaca may require re -assessment .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /2346 /10189
Date: 1985-05

Citation

Reiner, Richard James Nutrition of alpacas grazing high altitude rangeland in southern Peru. Doctoral dissertation, Texas Tech University. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /2346 /10189 .

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