A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

March 28, 2007

Making The Most Of Things

Filed under: alpaca, Alpaca Care, Alpaca Health, Alpaca Nutrition, Alpacas, camelids, Crias, General — alpacalady @ 6:21 am

Through our years of experience with alpacas we have come to understand that nutrition is a major key to healthy, productive alpacas.  Your nutrition program will vary depending on where in the world you are, so what we feed here in New Mexico may not be the right mix for an alpaca breeder in another part of the country.  We really feel it is worth the time, effort and expense to have your hay, pastures and water tested and to have any grain or minerals you feed to your herd adjusted to create a good nutritional balance.

We have used a probiotic with our feed for several years now.  Prior to becoming a full time alpaca rancher I worked for a large dairy and saw the beneficial effects of probiotics on dairy calves, to me it was a natural step to include probiotics in our alpaca feed program.

Two years ago I was introduced to a probiotic product called MSE.  In addition to it’s probiotic qualities MSE contains certain enzymes and minerals that help improve the digestibility of the feed.

I had heard from several alpaca breeders about the positive effects of MSE on their alpacas and decided to try it.  I have certainly been pleased with the results.  We feed the MSE granules to all of our herd with their daily pellet ration and use the MSE drench for alpacas in stressful situations (shipping, birthing, illness etc.)

We were fortunate enough to be asked to take part in a field trial of MSE.  For a year we fed the granules to our alpacas and used the drench when necessary.  We submitted monthly health and weight records to Naturs Way, the company that manufactures MSE and also had our fleeces tested prior to starting feeding MSE and after having fed it for a year.  The field trial is currently being analyzed and written up and hopefully will be published soon.

MSE was originally developed for the cattle industry and one of the benefits of the product to cattle producers is that it helps cattle to gain lean muscle.  While we want our alpacas to have good muscle tone we certainly did not want them to “beef up” if you’ll pardon the pun.

During our trial year of using MSE we did find that we had to make some adjustments to both the quantity of our feed and the dosage of the MSE, for the first few months our alpacas did gain weight, but after making the necessary adjustments we were able to keep the weights stable.  We noticed during the trial year that our herd seemed to have an extra vigour about them and that we had fewer minor health issues.  Our crias were also very vigorous and healthy.

One fear that we had about MSE was that while the MSE was allowing the alpacas to extract more nutrition from their feed perhaps it would do so to the detriment of their fleece.   When we had our fleeces tested at the end of the year we were pleased to find that in the majority of alpacas our fleeces had improved. 

So MSE is now our probiotic of choice.  We keep both the granules and drench on hand and quite honestly would not be without it.  It is just one component of our nutrition program and I am sure it is not solely responsible for the good results we see in our herd, but combined with the other steps we take in regards to our nutrition program it certainly seems to ensure that the alpacas make the most of what we feed them

For more detailed information on MSE you can go to the manufacturer’s website http://www.naturs-way.com/ and check out their product page. 

Rosemary

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