Top 7 Things Not To Feed Your Alpacas

Alpacas are pretty resilient animals, but you do have to be careful about some of the things you feed them.

The list of things you shouldn’t feed your alpacas includes avocados, beans, broccoli, cabbage, cherries, corn, any plants in the nightshade family, onions, and any plants in the mustard family.

Read on to find why you shouldn’t feed your alpacas these different foods.


The more I research things you shouldn’t give your barnyard or homestead animals, the more I see how you shouldn’t give avocados to any of your backyard animals.

First, the pit of the avocado is huge.

If you try to give a whole avocado to your alpaca, they might try to eat the pit.

And if they do, there is a possibility that it is going to get stuck in their throat, since it is hard to chew and digest.

And that will cause trouble for your alpaca.

So don’t give them the pit.

Avocados have something in it called persin, which is toxic to the alpacas.

This toxin can be found in the leaves, pit, and fruit of the avocado.

Hence another reason why you shouldn’t give avocado to your alpacas.

The alpaca’s stomach cannot dissolve the toxin, so while it might seem like it is fine for them to eat, you won’t see the side effects until later on.

Eating this toxin for alpacas can lead to a swollen head and neck, as well as respiratory irritation and gastrointestinal distress.

So it is best to throw the avocados away in the garbage or put it in your compost pile, as long as the alpacas don’t have access to it.


Beans are typically not good for alpacas, especially lima beans and peas.

These beans produce cyanide, which can be deadly for your alpacas.

The leaves and plants are especially dangerous for alpacas.

So you might want to keep an eye out on your garden to make sure that your alpacas aren’t getting into areas that they shouldn’t be.

If the alpacas eat too many lima beans and peas, this will lead to the alpacas dying.

So keep them far away.


Cherries are another one of those things that contain cyanide.

So the cherries contain cyanide, but the leaves, sprouts, stems, and seeds do as well.

That means it is best that the alpacas stay away from any cherries.

And if you have a cherry tree in your yard, then fence it off and make sure the alpacas aren’t coming around it.

Black cherries can be especially toxic to the alpacas.

So keep those far away.


Corn is one of those things that is used a lot in homesteading or on farm life.

You give corn to chickens and ducks if you want to fatten them up.

Corn is also something given to cows.

We have an overabundance of corn in the United States, so it is used for a lot of things.

But please don’t feed it to your alpacas.

Corn contains sugar and if you give your alpacas too much corn, they are susceptible to diabetes.

Corn also does this thing where if there are stressors on the plant, then it will produce more nitrate than usually.

For example, if there is a drought or the plants didn’t get as much sun as they usually do.

This nitrate can present the most in the stems and leaves of the corn plant.

Any plants in the nightshade family

Plants in the nightshade family are pretty bad for most animals, and can even be deadly to humans as well.

So it is perfectly valid that nightshade should be avoided for the alpacas as well.

So luckily things that you pick up at the store aren’t going to be bad for them.

But you need to be able to keep an eye out on your garden that you aren’t growing anything that could be bad for your alpacas.

Plants in the nightshade family include:

  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Eggplant
  • Belladonna
  • Bell pepper
  • Petunia
  • Peppers
  • Mandrake
  • Jalapeno
  • Cherry tomato

This isn’t an exhaustive list.

For some of these, the alpacas are perfectly fine to eat the vegetables that the plant provides.

For example, tomatoes, potatoes, and bell peppers are fine for the alpacas.

But the danger comes in when they eat the stems, leaves, or actual plant.

The stems, leaves, and plants contain something called alkaloid atropine.

Ingestion of the stems, leaves, and plants can quickly lead to death.

So it becomes very important to leave these as far from the alpacas as possible.

Make sure to check your homestead and the area around it for anything from the nightshade family.

According to SFGate:

Nightshade family plants can sometimes be recognized by their foliage. All have alternate leaves that grow in a staggered fashion on the stems. Many have hairy foliage and characteristic leaf odors, such as those found in tomatoes and sacred datura, indicative of the strong chemicals they contain. Although the tomato’s foliage is toxic to humans and many animals, tomato hornworms thrive on the leaves. Some solanums have conspicuous prickles on leaves and stems, such as porcupine tomato (Solanum pyracanthum), hardy to USDA zones 9a through 11 and the five minute plant (Solanum atropurpureum) from Brazil, hardy in USDA zone 10.

So, learn how to recognize the nightshade family and remove any imposing plants.

If you decide to grow any of the plants listed above, including the fruit-bearing ones, make sure they are put in an area where the alpacas won’t have access.

This may mean fencing off your garden area so they stay out of the plants.

Which you should probably be fencing off that area already anyway.


The reasoning behind not feeding your alpacas onions is the same as corn.

Onions contain an alkaloid that acts very much the same as the nitrate found in corn.

So giving your alpacas too many onions can lead to their poisoning.

If you find you want to or need to give your alpacas onions, for one reason or another, make sure there is only a small quantity of onions.

This might include giving them some leftovers from a meal you recently had as a treat to the alpacas.

Any more than just a little bit could lead to their death.

Any plants in the mustard family

Plants in the mustard family include the following:

  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Mustard
  • Radish
  • Turnip
  • Wallflower

Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list.

These plants contain differing levels of glucosinolates, which is a compound that keeps the red blood cells from providing oxygen to the body.

It also keeps the thyroid from being able to acquire iodine.

And since these plants have differing levels, you won’t know how it will affect your alpacas.

So better to keep them far away from your alpacas.

And just like the nightshade, be on the lookout around your yard to make sure none of these plants are growing.

And if you feel the need to grow some of these plants in your garden, make sure it is fenced off, so your alpacas don’t accidentally get in and start snacking on these plants that will probably poison them.

Again, if you are growing the vegetables, feeding your alpacas these vegetables are probably going to be fine.

But the stems, leaves, and plants are going to be poisonous for the alpacas to partake.


Overall, you have a lot that you can give alpacas, with just a few things that you should keep them away from.

Mostly make sure that you keep mustard and nightshade plants.

Also keep away the onions, corn, cherries, beans, and avocados.

If you keep these away from your alpacas, they are going to stay happy animals.

Bill Lantz

Bill Lantz is a database analyst by day and a weekend warrior by... weekend. He's currently building up his own miniature homestead in Central Utah with his wife and six kids. Some of his interests include knowing random trivia about films, reading history books, and playing video games with the boys.

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