Getting the right diet for your alpacas is very essential, that’s why you have to choose their foods carefully.
Banana is a juicy fruit grown in more than 130 countries of the world.
It originated in South Eastern Asia but now grown in warmer climates.
They vary in color, size and shape and the most common one is the Cavendish banana.
Can alpacas eat bananas? Alpacas can eat banana as they are not toxic or harmful to them in anyway. Bananas contain more than 70% of water which makes it very beneficial to them.
When it is unripe it has a green color and when ripe it turns yellow. It is packed with a lot of nutrients and yes your alpacas can eat it them.
Bananas can safely be added to your alpacas’ treats without fear of harm or danger.
Let’s take a look at some of their health benefits to your adorable pets.
What are the health benefits of bananas?
1. It has a high Water content.
“Alpacas require at least 5 litres of water” each everyday.
That’s quite an amount of water. That’s why it is advisable to feed them treats that contain a great deal of water.
Bananas contain more than 70% of water which makes it very beneficial to them.
Alpacas need a lot of water because their feed is high in fiber.
Water helps them digest it faster and effectively.
2. It contains carbohydrates.
According to Dr. Nancy Irlbeck, PhD, a ruminant nutrionist in her article Basics of Alpaca Nutrition, Alpacas need carbohydrates which can be in form of “complex carbohydrates or readily available carbohydrates”.
Banana is a very good source of readily available carbohydrate in the form of sugar when it is ripe.
This is very good for pregnant alpacas. Alpacas should however not be fed with too much of sugar as it can cause diarrhea.
3. It contains high fiber.
Alpacas have a digestive system that is built to digest a lot of fiber.
Their feed is mostly high in fiber and this is why bananas are quite good for them.
Ripe bananas contain a great deal of what is called soluble fiber.
In addition, in most parts of the world, alpacas are reared for their natural fiber called the “alpaca fleece”.
A well fed alpaca produces an high quality of fiber. If you rear alpacas for their fleece, then feeding them bananas occasionally as treats is recommended.
Here is an article I wrote on whether you can feed alpacas apples.
4. It is rich in Vitamin C.
Bananas are very rich in vitamin C which helps to boost the immune system of your alpacas and acts as antioxidant, limiting the risk of some diseases.
5. It contains magnesium.
Banana supplies alpacas with magnesium.
Magnesium helps in forming urea and removing excess ammonia from their body.
It is also essential for their nervous system to function well. Alpacas suffering from magnesium deficiency get scared easily and can suffer from convulsions.
6. It contains calcium.
Calcium is mainly found in their bone tissues and gives them strength and stability.
Eating bananas can supply them with calcium.
Can alpacas eat banana peels?
Yes, alpacas can eat banana peels.
They are not toxic or harmful to them in anyway.
However, feeding them banana peels isn’t necessary unless you want to avoid waste.
Banana peels contain the same nutrients found in banana itself.
Potassium, calcium, vitamin A and C, magnesium and all other minerals found in bananas are also present in their peels.
Feeding them banana peels only means they get more of these nutrients.
Can alpacas eat banana leaves?
Banana leaves contain polyphenols an antioxidant which is very beneficial to the health of your alpacas.
It helps them fight against diseases and to stay healthy.
Alpacas also find banana leaves quite enjoyable, especially the young leaves.
Can alpacas eat banana chips?
Banana chips are simply sliced pieces of banana that are fried.
They are usually made with unripe bananas.
They contain essential vitamins and minerals like whole bananas.
They however contain more fat and sugar content.
They are high in fat and calories because they are fried in oil.
Sunflower oil, coconut oil and groundnut oil are commonly used.
They are also sometimes dipped into or coated with honey or syrup which makes the sugar content very high.
Banana chips are made from “plantains” or what is called cooking bananas and can also be made from dessert bananas.
Because of its high sugar and fat content, it is not really good for alpacas as it can cause bloating.
It can however be fed occasionally in few amounts. Pregnant alpacas however need sugar in order to produce more milk and stay warm.
You can as well prepare these chips yourself to make sure they are not coated in sugar and use oil with low fat.
Can alpacas eat banana bread?
Before we consider if alpacas can eat banana bread or not, let’s check the ingredients used in making it.
Depending on the recipe used and who’s making it, banana bread can be made in different ways, but some items are constant.
We have overripe bananas, butter, eggs, flour, salt, baking soda etc.
Looking at these ingredients, we immediately know that the bread will be very sweet.
This is not good for alpacas as we know.
It can cause serious health problems like diarrhea and bloating.
Banana bread after baking contain a great deal of fat, sugar and cholesterol which doesn’t sound like something that would be healthy for even a human.
The baking soda used in making it is however good for your alpacas but the disadvantages far outweighs its advantages.
What about unripe bananas?
Unripe bananas contain less sugar so it would be great.
They can also help alpacas absorb calcium better, which can be helpful during winter.
However, your alpacas may not eat them because they are not sweet and not soft.
Alpacas love to eat foods that are tender and easily digestible which unripe banana is not.
So it all comes down to their preference.
Bananas are juicy fruits that are grown in most parts of the world.
Alpacas can safely eat them as they are not only tasty, they are highly nutritious.
All parts of bananas are edible. The leaves and peels can be safely eaten.
Whether raw, cooked or fried, bananas pose no threat to alpacas.
They are just treats however and should not be fed in excess.
They do not contain all the nutritional requirements of your alpacas and should not replace their main diet.
Over ripe bananas are also sugary and can be dangerous to their health.