Monday I had to make a flying visit to Albuquerque to pick up a load of feed. It’s about a four hour drive from our house to the feed mill, a drive that might seem excessive to some, but when it comes to getting good quality, fresh feed the drive is worth making.
Our feed is milled by Onate Mills using a pre-mix supplied to them by Dr. Norm Evans. Dr. Evans is one of the top authorities on alpaca nutrition in the United States and has formulated feed to suit the different nutritional needs of alpacas in different states. While some might think that one generic feed would be sufficient for all the alpacas in the US that is not the case. Differing mineral soil content, varying amounts of sunlight, weather conditions and differing water qualities are just a few of the factors that can cause different nutritional requirements in alpacas across the US.
We could purchase the feed under a different brand name from a closer store, but that brand sells the feed in 40 lb bags instead of the 50 lb. bags we get from Onate and the price on the other brand is quite a bit higher. When you are feeding 60 plus alpacas every day a difference of 10 lb. per bag and a couple of dollars per bag soon adds up. So when all the factors are taken into consideration it is worth our time to drive to the mill in Albuquerque to pick up feed. We also know that the feed is fresh as the mill manager can tell us when the feed was milled. This last load was actually milled on Saturday – pretty fresh feed!
Fortunately my drive was uneventful, with some good CD’s to listen to and some snacks for the trip I was able to sit back and enjoy the New Mexico scenery. Ric was able to take care of chores for the day and so I was able to get a reasonably early start and was back home before dark – perfect.
With alpacas being a fiber producing animal to us it is of the utmost importance that their nutrition is the best that we can give them. Over the years we have seen how much difference good nutrition makes not only to the alpacas fleeces but also to their overall health – we are what we eat and that phrase most definitely applies to alpacas too.