Feed Types & Cross Species Eating, Goat Feed

Can Alpacas Eat Goat Feed? Foods Goats & Alpacas Share

Can Alpacas Eat Goat Feed?

Alpacas can consume some types of goat feed, as both animals have similar dietary requirements. However, it’s important to ensure that the goat feed does not contain additives or levels of nutrients that might be harmful to alpacas. Alpacas require a diet low in sugar and starch, and high in fiber. Before feeding alpacas any goat feed, it’s best to consult a veterinarian or an animal nutritionist to ensure it’s safe and meets their nutritional needs.

Alpacas Eat Goat Feed

Nutritional Differences: Alpacas vs. Goats

  • Protein: Alpacas generally need a diet containing about 10-14% protein, while goats, depending on their breed and purpose (meat, dairy, or fiber), may require 12-18% protein. Dairy goats, in particular, might need higher protein levels during lactation.
  • Fiber: Alpacas, being pseudo-ruminants, require a high-fiber diet, typically around 30% or more, which is crucial for their digestive health. Goats also need a good amount of fiber but can tolerate a bit less than alpacas, around 25-30%.
  • Fat: Both animals require low levels of fat in their diet, generally around 2-4%. However, the fat content can vary based on specific health or productive needs.
  • Minerals: The mineral requirements differ notably. For example, copper, which is essential for goats, can be toxic to alpacas in high amounts. Alpacas usually require a lower percentage of certain minerals compared to goats.
  • Vitamins: Both require essential vitamins, but the exact amounts can vary. Goats, for instance, might need more Vitamin D if they’re not exposed to sufficient sunlight, a need less critical for alpacas.

Nutritional Differences Alpacas vs. Goats

Benefits of Feeding Goat Feed to Alpacas


Goat feed, being a common livestock feed, is often more readily available and cost-effective compared to specialized alpaca feed. This can make it a more economical option for alpaca owners, especially in areas where alpaca-specific feed is scarce or expensive.

Nutrient Rich

Many goat feeds are formulated to be nutrient-dense, providing a good balance of essential vitamins and minerals. For alpacas, this can mean a well-rounded diet that supports overall health, provided that the nutrient levels, especially minerals like copper, are suitable for alpacas.


Using goat feed can offer convenience in feeding routines, especially in mixed farms where both goats and alpacas are raised. It simplifies the management of feed storage and distribution, reducing the need for separate feeds for different animals.

Variety in Diet

Introducing goat feed to alpacas, in moderation, and under veterinary guidance, can add variety to their diet. This variation can stimulate appetite and improve feed intake, benefiting animals that are picky eaters or have dietary issues.

Benefits of Feeding Goat Feed to Alpacas

Drawbacks of Feeding Too Much Goat Feed to Alpacas

Feeding too much goat feed to alpacas can lead to several health issues due to nutritional imbalances. Goat feed often contains higher protein and mineral levels, particularly copper, which is necessary for goats but can be toxic to alpacas in excess. This disparity can cause organ damage or fatal conditions in alpacas.

Additionally, goat feed is typically richer in calories and lower in fiber compared to alpaca-specific feed. This mismatch can lead to obesity, digestive problems, and a decrease in natural foraging behaviors in alpacas. Overweight alpacas are at risk of various health complications, including mobility issues and increased disease susceptibility.

Moreover, the higher sugar and starch content in goat feed can disrupt the sensitive digestive system of alpacas, leading to conditions like bloating, diarrhea, and acidosis. Therefore, while goat feed can be a supplementary option, it should be used cautiously and under veterinary guidance to avoid these adverse effects.

Foods Goats and Alpacas can Share

  • Hay (particularly Timothy and Orchard grass)
  • Fresh grass
  • Alfalfa (in moderation)
  • Beet pulp
  • Carrots
  • Apples (in small amounts)
  • Leafy greens (like spinach and kale)
  • Oats
  • Barley
  • Peas
  • Sunflower seeds (shelled and unsalted)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is alpaca feed made of?

Alpaca feed is typically composed of a blend of hay, grass, and specialized pellets. These pellets are formulated to provide a balanced diet with a focus on high fiber, low protein, and essential vitamins and minerals suited for an alpaca’s digestive system.

What is goat feed made of?

Goat feed usually includes a mixture of grains like oats, barley, and corn, along with hay, and specialized pellets. These components provide a balanced diet rich in protein, energy, and essential minerals, tailored to meet the nutritional needs of goats.

Can baby alpacas eat goat feed?

Baby alpacas, or crias, have very specific nutritional needs, and goat feed is generally not recommended. Their diet should be primarily mother’s milk or a specialized cria formula, as goat feed may not provide the right balance of nutrients and could cause digestive issues.

Can goats eat alpaca feed?

Goats can eat alpaca feed, but it might not be ideal. Alpaca feed is typically lower in protein and certain minerals like copper, which are essential for goats. While it won’t harm goats in the short term, it shouldn’t be their primary food source.

Can goats and alpacas live together?

Goats and alpacas can live together, as they often have compatible temperaments and similar shelter and pasture requirements. However, care should be taken to address their different dietary and health needs, and to monitor their interactions to ensure they coexist peacefully.

How often can alpacas eat goat feed?

Alpacas can consume goat feed occasionally as a part of their diet, but it should not be a regular practice. Frequent feeding of goat feed can lead to nutritional imbalances and health issues. It’s best used sparingly and under veterinary guidance.

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