A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

March 8, 2007

Behold the Lowly Beet Pulp Shred

Filed under: Alpaca Care, Alpaca Health, Alpaca Nutrition, Alpaca Shows, Alpacas — alpacalady @ 6:35 am

When visitors come to our farm they sometimes notice that just inside the front door to our house is a white bucket containing an odd looking substance.  Grey-brown in color with a shredded texture it looks unappetising to us humans but to the alpacas this is a treat they are looking forward to – beet pulp shreds.

Maybe the word “treat” is the wrong word to use, as the beet pulp shreds are a deliberate part of our nutritional program, but the alpacas love their beet pulp shreds and anxiously await the sight of the white bucket every morning.

Beet Pulp is the by-product of processed sugar beets, it is what is left over from sugar beets after the extraction of sugar.  Beet Pulp is high in fiber and runs around 9% protein.  It is important to soak the beet pulp shreds in water prior to feeding them, and this is one of the reasons why we incorporate them in our feed program.

Our climate is a very dry one and to keep our alpaca fleeces soft we need to ensure that our alpacas water intake is good.  By feeding the soaked beet pulp shreds we are managing to get at least a little more water into our alpacas.  Some people would argue that the water intake from the shreds is minimal, but as the shreds also provide good fiber intake for the alpacas we feel their purpose is two-fold.

Apart from our daily routine with the beet pulp shreds we have also found that when we are at shows the shreds encourage the alpacas to eat and help avoid diarrhea brought on by the stress of travel.  We have also had a couple of occasions when sick alpacas have not been willing to eat their pellets or hay but will indulge in some soaked beet pulp shreds thus keeping the rumen functioning, which is a very important thing for alpacas.  During the cold winter months we soak the shreds in warm water and the alpacas seem to appreciate the added warmth.

So the little beet pulp shreds play a big role for our alpacas.  Some are more fond of them than others and then there are the “Shredaholics” who can’t wait for the shreds to be put out and insist on trying to get their heads in the shred bucket.   So if you pay us a visit and we ask you to carry a certain white bucket into the pasture brace yourself, for soon you will be the center of attention for the herd!

Rosemary

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4 Comments »

  1. HI,

    Thank you for the info. I bought some beet shreds today form my alpacas. Like you I live in a dryish climate of South Texas and want to increase their water intake. I have yet to feed them the shreds, but you filled in the blanks on “How to” by soaking them. I suspect this will also help from chocking as well.

    Mark Christoph,
    Gulf Breeze Alpacas
    Lake City, Texas

    Comment by mark — March 26, 2008 @ 11:29 pm

  2. Hi Mark,

    Thanks for posting a comment to the blog. I am glad to hear that the information on beet pulp shreds has been helpful to you.

    We have noticed that the shreds seem to swell up better in warm water than in cold, so you might want to try that. As our weather is getting warmer we are starting to soak the shreds first thing in the morning and allowing them to cool off before we put them out.

    So far we have not had any alpacas choke from eating shreds.

    Rosemary

    Comment by alpacalady — March 28, 2008 @ 4:29 am

  3. How much of the beet pulp do you feed each alpaca? Or do they get it free choice?

    Comment by Becky McMillan — October 3, 2008 @ 11:42 pm

  4. Hi Becky,

    Thanks for posting a comment to the blog.

    We mix up a large bucket of soaked shreds and put it out in large spoonfuls on the hay and in some of the feed trays using a large slotted spoon. It works out to about one large spoonful of shreds per alpaca (although I suspect some eat more than their fair share!).

    Rosemary

    Comment by alpacalady — October 4, 2008 @ 6:40 am


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