Alpacas are very unique animals. They particularly love grasses and leaf a lot. They are popularly known for eating grass hay, which is their absolute favorite.
However, this animal has a wide range of food they can eat. They even eat foods that are considered to be human food.
But, are these hairy animals nut lovers? Is it okay for them? Can they eat acorns? Want to satisfy your curiosity? Let’s find out.
Can Alpacas Eat Acorn?
Yes, alpacas can eat acorns. Alpacas are herbivores. That is they eat plants a lot. Acorns are plants; therefore, they can be consumed by alpacas.
However, these nuts should only serve as treats for them.
While it’s true that every animal deserves a treat once in a while, it’s important to know that acorns are not one of alpacas’ favorites.
As stated earlier, these animals love grasses a lot. Their most preferred meals are grass hays.
They eat a couple of fruits like apples and bananas as well. They are also known to eat grains such as barley, wheat, corn, etc.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Acorns To Alpacas?
Acorns aren’t just enjoyable they are also beneficial health-wise. They contain proteins, carbs, fats, and minerals.
That is they are a huge boost to an alpacas’ health. Want to know some more health benefits? Here they are;
1. They repair tissues that have been damaged
Acorns are great repairers. This is due to the protein content in them.
Proteins are critical for the formation of new tissues and cells, the repair of damaged areas, and the rapid recovery from an injury or illness.
As a result, including acorn nuts in your alpaca’s diet is a good way to speed up growth.
2. They are a source of energy.
Acorns are a good source of energy. This is due to the high carbohydrate content of these foods.
When consumed, acorns provide long-lasting energy reserves. Including acorns in alpacas’ diet is an excellent way to keep them active.
3. They aid digestion
Acorns are nuts, and, like most nuts, they are high in fiber. As a result, they are ideal for aiding digestion.
This will undoubtedly be beneficial to your alpacas.
4. They boost metabolism
Acorns are high in niacin. Niacin is well-known for its ability to regulate metabolism. This is a huge plus for alpacas that eat this nut.
Regular consumption of these nuts can help regulate several enzymatic processes in the body that are important for overall health.
5. They ensure strong bones
Calcium is known to be the most abundant mineral. Fortunately, they can be found in acorns.
This nutrient has four basic functions in the body. Let’s see what these functions are;
- Calcium ensures bone strength and health.
- It facilitates nerve-to-nerve communication.
- It also stimulates muscle contraction.
- Lastly, calcium activates blood clotting factors.
These are the advantages that alpacas stand to gain from consuming a calcium-rich diet.
Here is an article I wrote on a list of foods that alpacas eat
How Often Should I Feed Them Acorns?
Acorns shouldn’t be a daily diet for your alpacas.
While acorns are undoubtedly nutritious to the bodies of alpacas, they shouldn’t be fed with acorns excessively.
They should be given acorn once in a while.
Moderation should be applied when feeding them with acorns as well as other treats.
This is because acorns can cause health problems to alpacas when consumed in excess.
Excess acorn intake can cause constipation and diarrhea.
Also, note that acorns contain a high amount of tannins.
Tannins are toxic to alpacas. Tannins, however, are not entirely harmful. A certain amount of tannin can be tolerated by chemical actions.
These chemical actions occur in the rumen.
However, an excessive amount of tannin can cause permanent kidney damage. It can also cause certain metabolic disorders.
Can Baby Alpacas Eat Acorns?
Do you have a newborn alpaca and want to offer it a tasty treat? It’s always a good idea to give our alpacas a pleasant treat every now and then.
However, acorn for a baby alpacas is a no-no.
Like every other mammal, alpacas produce milk which their young feed on at an early stage. If real milk is not accessible, a milk substitute should be used instead.
Baby alpacas grow quickly. So, they tend to get off milk quickly. Two-week-old alpacas may begin to explore foods such as hay and nuts.
By the third month, of age, solids should be introduced into their diet.
However, most crias continue to breastfeed alongside solid food for six months. But, it is best to feed them treats like acorns when they are way above six months.
This is to prevent them from choking while eating them.
Also check out this article I wrote on can alpacas eat goat feed
Can Alpacas Eat Acorn Leaves?
Yes, alpacas can eat acorn leaves. But they must be leached. This is because raw acorns contain tannins.
They also have an unpleasant bitter taste. And, they can be poisonous to your alpacas.
But by leaching acorns to remove the tannin, they can be made safe for alpacas consumption.
This can be done with hot or cold water, depending on how you want to use the acorns afterward.
Can alpacas Eat Acorn Seeds?
The presence of tannins in acorn seeds makes it a no-no for alpacas. Acorn seeds are also hard.
Therefore, they might be difficult for alpacas to chew.
There are however, other healthy seeds alpacas can consume. One seed that’s best for them is pumpkin seeds. These seeds are super edible and easy for alpacas to consume.
Things To Watch Out For Before Feeding Them Acorns
As good as acorns are, there are quite several things to watch out for when feeding alpacas acorns. They include;
1.Acorns are bitter and toxic. This is due to the presence of tannins which are anti-nutritional. Tannins can obstruct the blood’s absorption of iron.
This may lead to many health problems. Tannins have also been discovered to hinder digestion and metabolism.
However, you can consider removing the tannins from the acorn. This would lower its poisonous tendency.
You could be wondering if this is possible right? Well, it absolutely is.
Tannins can be removed from acorns by placing them in cold water. Place acorn pieces in a jar of cold water and leave them in the refrigerator for a day or two until the water turns brown.
Thereafter, replace the water with fresh cold water and continue the process until the acorns are no longer bitter.
2. Ensure you give your alpaca ripe acorns. This is because ripe acorns are less toxic.
3. Also, ensure alpacas are not fed raw acorns. Raw acorns are unhealthy for these animals.
Also, it is best to cook acorns as cooking is one way to get rid of tannins.
5. Overfeeding alpacas with acorns is also another thing to watch out for. Too much of alpacas is bad and can be unhealthy as well.
So as much as you can, feed them acorns to them once in a while.
6. You also have to ensure that acorns are clean. Feeding your alpacas with dirt can make them get sick.
Ensure acorns are properly washed and cooked before feeding them with it.
How Can I Feed Acorns To Alpacas?
Because of their tannins content, cooking acorns is one way to make them safe for consumption.
And your alpacas would definitely enjoy them more. However, aside from cooking acorns, there are other exciting things you can do with acorns to make them more enjoyable for alpacas.
Acorns can be used to make delicious bread and cookies. Alpacas, interestingly, love to eat bread and cookies.
Acorn flour is available at grocery stores and can be used to make delicious cookies and bread.
Alternatively, you may decide to make your own acorn flour. While this is a fantastic idea, the procedure can be time-consuming and exhausting.
However, there is a simpler treat you may give to your alpacas. And that’s how you roast an acorn.
This treat is much faster and easier. Here’s how to prepare roasted acorns for your alpacas.
First, take out your cookie sheet and oil it properly. Then, place the acorns in a single layer on the cookie sheet.
Cook for 20-60 minutes. Then check for a color change. That’s the way to know if it’s ready. Until the nuts turn a chocolate brown color, they are not properly cooked.
The smell of the nuts will also change when it’s ready. So, when you smell that wonderful aroma, it’s time to take your acorns out of the oven.
Allow the acorns to cool after they have been removed from the oven. Afterward, season nuts with salt to taste and serve to your alpacas.
Alpacas can eat acorns. Acorns are loaded with incredible benefits for alpacas. They are a definite plus to alpacas.
However, acorns contain tannins and this makes them bitter and toxic.
Therefore precautions have to be taken when feeding your alpacas acorns. As much as possible ensure they don’t eat raw acorns.
Acorns should be properly leached to get rid of tannins in them.