Is beautiful hay nutritious hay? The answer is not necessarily. Purchasing hay for the year is one of the larger expenditures for alpaca owners/breeders. To ensure that your investment is a sound one, we recommend having it tested, at a minimum, for nutritive value (protein and NDF) and nitrate. We have seen beautiful hay come in for testing that had protein levels which made it unsuitable for use as a primary forage source. We have also seen gorgeous hay come in with toxic levels of nitrate.
As Dr. Scott says, “You can probably detect bad hay with your eyes, but you cannot choose good hay with just your eyes.” Hay and pasture tests are available through the clinic. If you are interested in having your hay or pasture tested, please contact the office for an informational handout on how to obtain and send in the samples. Your results and their interpretation will be faxed or emailed to you.