What Do Llamas Eat? Food List, Diet, Nutrition And Toxic Foods

Anusuya Mukherjee
Oct 16, 2023 By Anusuya Mukherjee
Originally Published on Oct 26, 2021
Llamas are given forage of grain supplements

Llamas are one of the oldest domesticated camelids. 

You will be surprised to discover how easy these camelids are to feed and take care of. It is essential to ensure that you are completely aware of what do llamas eat and how to keep them well fed so that they are healthy and happy.

Llamas are primary consumers of natural vegetation. According to recent posts, it was found that, on average, a llama's daily intake of food is around 1-4% of its body composition.

This means that llamas need a food consumption of around 8-12 lb (3.6-5.4 kg) on a daily basis. The fodder intake also depends on factors like weight, age, and body type of a llama.

Llamas pasture all year round but during the winter season, they often eat less as the quality of vegetation curtails. Llamas are given a forage of grain supplements. These feed supplements help in overcoming a lack of nutrients in the camelids' diet.

Llamas are not only the best farm animals in reality but also make excellent farm animals virtually. Yes, you read it right! Llamas were included in a popular game called 'Minecraft'. In this game, the player has to tame llamas and feed them. Hay bales and wheat are the two designated foods that llamas eat on the 'Minecraft' game.

Are you enjoying this article on llamas? Read these other fun fact animal articles on what do frogs eat? and what do iguanas? eat here on Kidadl.

What do llamas drink?

Llamas are herbivorous and they primarily feed on vegetation. A llama's forage comprises plants, grass, hay, flowering plants, shrubs, herbs, small trees, roots, shoots, stalks, tubers, and plant fluids.

Llamas not only enjoy vegetative greens in their diet but also like to treat and chew on vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, and seeds. Feeding llamas plants as well as other forage helps in keeping their health balanced and allows them to thrive.

As much as the feeding habits of a llama are crucial, a check on its hydration level is of equal importance for a good life expectancy.

Just like any other animal, llamas consume water to quench their thirst. They do not need any extra drinks other than water.

However, llamas need less water intake than any other farm animals. By and large, a llama drinks around a 1 gal (4.5 L) of water in a day. Llamas do not require much water consumption as they belong to the camelids family.

Wild llamas can survive for a long time without consuming water. Wild and free-range llamas obtain hydration by eating plants. On the other hand, farm llamas need more water consumption than wild ones.

Llamas consume more water when they are pregnant or lactating and also during the summer whereas they drink less water during the winter.

Llamas often choke from eating too much and too quickly. Not drinking enough water leaves their throats dry. Therefore, maintaining a regular supply of clean and fresh water in a llama's diet is necessary for stopping it choking and ensuring good health in a llama.

What should you feed llamas?

Llamas don’t eat heaps of food on a daily basis nor are they picky- eaters. They consume less than any other livestock. They usually eat as much as is required to satisfy their hunger. Llamas indulge in the process of regurgitation. They bring swallowed food back into their mouth and chew the cud to ensure complete digestion.

As llamas are herbivores animals, vegetation is the primary source of food and energy for llamas. A llama's eating proportion also depends on different stages of its life.

A llama eats more when it is pregnant or lactating. Also being domesticated animals, it is important that llamas eat a proper balanced diet to serve their purpose. Below are some fodder options that you can feed llamas.

Llamas need fiber and mineral-rich forage for a healthy gut. It may include a vast variety of vegetation like grass, mountain plants, plant shoots, shrubs, herbs, lichen, and legume plants like beans and alfalfa. Llamas eat flowering plants such as dandelions, clover, and blackberries.

These flowering plants are packed with rich nutrients that help in enhancing blood circulation, bone development, strengthening of the immune system, and digestive system in llamas. Llamas get to choose forage from a wide variety of grasses and plants.

A llama can eat almost any kind of plant and shrubs. However, plants such as azaleas, buttercups, rhododendrons, and yews can be toxic and unhealthy for them. They can graze and eat on pasture lands.

Hay is a staple food for camelids family, mostly in regions where there is a scarcity of fodder or poor-quality forage. Fresh plants and grass can be dried and made into hay to feed these camelids.

Hay is loaded with high levels of protein, calcium, vitamin, and amino acids. Therefore, llamas are given a feed of a variety of hay so as to strengthen their immune system and overall physical condition.

There are different types of hay for llamas to eat like grass hay, oats hay, chaff hay, alfalfa hay, and clover hay.

Alfalfa and oat hay can be given to pregnant and underweight llamas to spurt growth and development in them. Overfeeding of hay can lead to excessive weight in llamas and can also have further deteriorating effects on llamas.

Llamas can be given a feeding of grains as an additional food to their grass and hay. Although it is not necessary to add grains to a llama's diet, it is important to choose a grain option that is appropriate for camelid animals.

There are different types of grains that can be fed to these camelid animals like oats grain, barley grain, and corn grain. Even though these grains are rich in protein, they have a low amount of fiber.

Llamas can be given a grain mixture of oats, barley, and corn to eat.

The grain content should not be more than 25% of a llama's diet as excessive starch content can shoot up the risk of weight gain. Grain should only be a part of the llama's diet and a llama should not be given it on its own or in large quantities.

Therefore, grain should be fed to llamas along with forage, hay, and mineral supplements to give them the required energy. Excessive eating of grain may lead to obesity and other health issues in these animals.

Supplements are an integral part of the diet when it comes to a llama. Sometimes, the food fed to llamas lacks quality and nutrition which is when supplements come in handy. Supplements are a mixture of nutrients.

Most supplements available for llamas are in the form of pellets. Supplement pellets are made by mixing nutritious ingredients.

The requirement of supplements mainly depends on a llama's weight, age, area, and fodder quality. A llama particularly requires supplements when it is pregnant, lactating, or underweight. These nutrient-rich supplements can be added to llama feed.

Just like human beings, llamas need to fulfill and balance their bodily sodium and chloride levels. Salt is an easily available source to fulfill that necessity. Salt helps llamas in maintaining the smooth functioning of muscles and organs.

It is suggested that llamas should at least consume 0.25% of salt on a regular basis. Natural forage contains fewer amounts of salt. Llamas need more salt content in a day.

Therefore, it is recommended to add salt to the llamas' diet. They can be also be given salt blocks or loose salt minerals. Free choice salt lets the llamas consume salt as per their body requirement.

What to not feed llamas?

Llamas do not eat heaps of food daily

Llamas like to eat greenery and pasture. During their forage for fodder, by accident, llamas may eat things that are not appropriate for them or that are damaging for their health. Consuming toxic substances can be detrimental to llamas. Below listed are some items that should not be fed to llamas.

At times, plants, grass, and forage may be sprayed with plant pesticides and herbicides. If llamas eat such toxin spiked vegetation, it may lead to health-related issues in llamas and also a loss in their energy.

Apart from pesticides, there are chances that llamas accidentally consume algae and fungi during their search for food or water. Eating cyanotoxins and Mycotoxins produced by algae and fungi may cause serious allergic reactions in llamas and also affect their digestive system.

Grain feed that is meant for other farm animals like goats or horses should not be given to llamas. The feed for goats or horses contains a high concentration of copper which is toxic for llamas. High levels of copper consumption can lead to loss of energy and other fatal health issues in llamas.

Feeding llamas sweet treats should be avoided as any treat having added sugar or high sugar content can lead to digestive problems in llamas.

Llamas shouldn't be given any kind of beverages or drinks that contain caffeine and alcohol content as this may have adverse effects on llamas' bodies and functioning.

List Of Foods That Llamas Eat

Apart from natural forage, llamas like to treat on different fruits and vegetables. It is safe to give fruits and vegetables to llamas to eat as they have good nutritious value.

They are loaded with fiber, vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients that are good for llamas fitness and functioning. The nutrients and water content in fruits and vegetables promote good gut bacteria, improves blood circulation, and bone density in llamas.

These treats must be given in moderation and chopped into small and manageable bites as llamas do not have front upper teeth making it difficult for them to chew big chunks of any fruit or veggie.

There are many fruit treats for llama such as apples, bananas, pears, watermelon, pineapple, peaches, melons, grapes, mangoes, and oranges.

Also, there are many vegetable treats for llama such as sweet potatoes, carrots, celery, lettuce, asparagus, broccoli, pumpkin, beans, and zucchini.

It is of utmost importance to keep a close eye on the daily diet and supplements of llamas. A healthy balanced diet for llamas will in turn result in healthier livestock. 

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for what do llamas eat? then why not take a look at what do insects eat? or llama facts?

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Written by Anusuya Mukherjee

Bachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

Anusuya Mukherjee picture

Anusuya MukherjeeBachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

With a wealth of international experience spanning Europe, Africa, North America, and the Middle East, Anusuya brings a unique perspective to her work as a Content Assistant and Content Updating Coordinator. She holds a law degree from India and has practiced law in India and Kuwait. Anusuya is a fan of rap music and enjoys a good cup of coffee in her free time. Currently, she is working on her novel, "Mr. Ivory Merchant".

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