A PILOT STUDY OF THE EFFECTS OF DIET ON HUACAYA AND SURI ALPACA FIBRE
Journal Year: 2006
Journal Month: December
Published On: 11-10-2018 07:06:00
Article DOI:

K. A. Jakes1, S. Shim and A. Thompson2
1Ohio State University, 1787 Neil Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210
2University of Alabama, 306 A Doster, Box 870158, Tuscaloosa. AL 35497


ABSTRACT


A two-year pilot study was undertaken to uncover whether a difference in calories and protein influences alpaca health or fibre quality in ways that override differences that stem from colour, age, or breed. Thirty-six huacaya and suri animals were divided into low and high nutrition groups. The low nutrition diet was a low protein, trace mineral supplemented diet, while the high diet was a protein and energy supplemented one. Animal health was monitored throughout the study; extreme cold and naturally occurring diseases resulted in some attrition from the groups. Fibre was collected at approximate 3-month intervals from the midside of each animal. Fibre diameter was evaluated quarterly, while growth rate, scale length, and bundle tensile strength was evaluated at the end of 12 and 24 months. Fibre diameter was thinner after growth in the winter months but thickened again through the summer. Huacaya fibre was stronger than Suri but it was not clear whether diet influenced strength. Growth rate was not affected by diet. Scale length was not affected by diet nor could scale length be used as a reliable measure to distinguish Huacaya and Suri.
Key words: Alpaca, fibre diameter, fibre growth rate, fibre scale length, huacaya, staple tensile strength, suri


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